I've been a mother for 15 years.
That means 15 years to learn.
15 years only to realize I'm still learning.
But I've been a girl for almost 40 years. I think that would almost qualify me as a professional female. 40 years of experience.
I've been thinking a lot about women and girls and feminine kinds of thoughts over the past month.
It started when I was in Florida. Alone. With no one to interrupt my thoughts. Well, except my sister. But sometimes she was quiet and I took those moments to ponder. :)
I was sitting on the beach and watching people. Do you do that on the beach? It's kind of fun. And alarming. And sometimes funny. I like to think about where all these people came from. And what their story is. And why they chose that very ill-fitting suit. And if they own mirrors. Because they might not have chosen that particular outfit if they did. And then I spot a jogger In a perfectly fitting tiny suit, who has definitely been jogging for a while because the warm up yoga stretches that she did before she started jogging are proof that she can turn heads. Including mine. I'm feeling my head turn like a dog's as I wonder How in the world she gets her body to turn into a pretzel like that? Now it appears Men are coming out from all corners of the beach to enjoy the show and to be honest I can't turn away. But as she finishes up her act and turns to run down the beach I lay my head back and my wheels start to turn. Thoughts are running wild in my head.
What does it mean to be a woman? To be created distinctly different from man. What messages have I come to believe about being a woman?
Sometimes I think we go from one ditch to the other.
On one side we buy into the culture saying it's all about looks. Judging people solely by first appearances. The exterior is of utmost importance. It's an obsession on what is worn, brand names, what ones skin looks like, figures, make up, and hair. It's a complete focus on the shell. But the inside is shallow and never goes below the surface. She turns up her nose at the woman dressed beneath her pay grade. Mocking others who are style challenged. She gives no thought to modesty or how her dress is affecting others because the goal of this woman is to gain attention to herself entirely through her carefully crafted image. There is power in this ditch and that is most certainly why women can fall into it.
And then there's the other ditch... This one says dress is not important. I don't care what I look like. I'm proud that I'm not like the women in the other ditch who care so much about their appearance. In fact wearing a dress for any occasion make this woman want to vomit. They may point fingers at the other side of the road saying "you guys are wrong and shallow and all into yourselves. We care about important things over here." We dress only for need and we most certainly wouldn't ever want to be classified as a girly girl. And it enrages her if men think women who dress feminine should be paid any attention at all. This woman focuses on "important" matters such as career and her children, spiritual disciplines or thrifty living. This woman takes pride in her non conformist attitude.
The thing that hit me as I sat there was that both ditches are trouble. It should never be a womans goal to gain attention to herself for power. Whether we do it through our dress or our attitude. If it's about control it's a ditch. We sometimes want to justify our ditch so badly that we will become very judgemental of others who don't live there.
A woman can take her clothes off and people will look. Whether we want to or not. We just will. But if a women is truly beautiful to the bone we will look at her and admire her beauty while she is fully clothed. And if she posses an inner spirit of kindness and thoughtfulness of those around her she will truly be a woman who is sought after not for her body but for who she is. Uniquely feminine. divinely created to be so.
We shouldn't be afraid to be women. We are different from men. Praise God. Cause I think I'd be an ugly man~ :)
Sometimes along the way we pick up messages that being a girl is weak and beneath men. Phrases like "you throw like a girl, you scream like a girl, you giggle like a girl"... can make some of us feel disrespected. But when I've heard my boys tell their sisters that I simply have said..."And that's good...cause she's a girl". It's okay. It's how God made it.
I like girl clothes. And bling. And I love to play with hair. I do. And I'm not ashamed of it. But I like baseball and digging in the dirt as well. I can camp and get dirty from head to toe. I can bait a hook with a slimy night crawler. But put me in a store with bags and shoes and my eyes will light up like a Christmas Tree. (Especially if its garage sale prices)I love to talk to intellectual women who challenge me to deeper thoughts. I love non brain activity of laughing and being light-hearted. I deeply enjoy time in the Word that strengthens my inner being giving me joy that I can't explain. I love being goofy with my kids...and then I love those serious talks about life and emotions.
Women we must not be afraid to live life in the middle of the street. It's too easy to live in the ditch throwing rocks at the other side. Instead let's think about what each side has to offer. It is important to focus on things other than exterior. We must grow deep in our relationships, being vulnerable at times. It is very important to read more than romance novels and style magazines. To challenge our thinking. We must learn to focus on the eternal more than the temporal.
We must know who we have been made to be.
Created masterfully. And that means that we will look, feel and think different then men do at times. It's okay. In fact it's part of our DNA.
And it's good to clean up the outside because even though God sees our hearts and loves us no matter if we have brushed our teeth or combed our hair...others have to look at us so if the fence needs painting we may want to give it a coat.
I am thankful to be created woman.
Now let's go play in the street. It's not as safe as the ditch but we most certainly can run faster.
Pick up your pretty little feet and dance with me as we enjoy being girls.
Giggle a little.
Or Drive a tractor if that's what you like to do.
Just rejoice that you have been created different in so many ways.
And when God made you he said.... "This is Very good".