A Feminine Introduction
Stasi Eldredge“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.”
In prelude to a series on captivating femininity, there are things that need to be brought to the surface before commencing delicately into a touchy subject that deals heavily with the matters of a girl's heart. I have been reading this truly transforming book by John and Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. This book and it's authors address some issues that have (and still do) plague the hearts of women, young and old.
To be a woman. What does it mean-to be a woman? Our idea of being a woman is being that perfect 1950s housewife, leading everyone to believe that everything is exactly what it seems. Perfect. Stasi Eldregde writes, "there has been precious little wisdom offered on the path to becoming a woman. Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be" (6).
Church even, carries out this unrealistic perception of the perfect woman. It's a huge part of the problem, sending a message to women, plastering it on our foreheads like a branding: YOU ARE HERE TO SERVE. THAT'S WHY GOD CREATED YOU: TO SERVE (Eldredge 6). We're all trying to live up to this unrealistic, fictional version (or model) of femininity. But do any of us know what being a woman is all about? Or do we simply chose to live by the standards of the world that they tell us we're useless unless we have dinner on the table at 5 o' clock, can manage to take care of 2.5 children, have a clean home, and are devoted wives; all this while holding down a full-time job.* Whoa.
Dear darlings, we are all destined to be women. Yes, women. But our soul's purpose is not to be a woman whose identity is wrapped up in materialistic things, or striving to be the woman that wins a Grammy award as best actress for pretending to be a paradisiacal housewife.
When I think of feminine, my mind automatically takes me to the roaring 1920s when a woman was expected to be the doormat for her man. A mother to her children. The chef cooking the food. The maid cleaning the house. All of the above. Granted women are still doing this today (maybe no longer doormats ), but the great thing about living in the 21st Century is that women have this beautiful freedom to go on an adventure of a lifetime that is liberating and freeing. This liberating journey is a journey towards discovering who we are in Christ, healing those deep and painful wounds, and coaxing that captivating princess to shine through our crumbling shells.
If you've ever wondered what makes a woman captivating, it's really quite simple. Stasi Eldgredge plainly states that the makings of a captivating woman is her heart. I like the message that Captivating preaches to women-young and old-about their purpose in life and the effect they are to have on the world. We have a job here on earth, sanctioned by God to be captivatingly beautiful, elegantly feminine; to be inviting, vulnerable, tender, merciful, and "also fierce and fiercely devoted" (30).
Girls, we've all had our hearts wounded. Life is harsh on a girl's heart. As well as a woman's. We grew up dreaming of fairy tales and sparkling ball gowns, talking mice and magical pumpkin carriages, dragons and knights in shinning armor. But, if you're like me, somewhere down the line those fanciful fairy tale dreams faded into the background, overshadowed by a deep and resentful pain. Those dreams have been locked up tight behind a stonewall of hidden, hardened emotions that say, "Don't notice me. I don't want to get hurt."
But the beauty of the way God looks at us is extraordinary. And if you will let Him, God will show you that being vulnerable is an essentially captivating part of a woman's beauty, because "every story has a Hero", says Stasi Eldredge, "just as Cinderella was invited to the ball, God is inviting you to a great Romance with Him. 'The eyes of her heart are ever upon you. The King is captivated by your beauty'"(inside cover).
>> 2012 Affirmation -#4:To be upset over what I don't have is to waste what I do have.
- the golden shimmers of sun through the clouds
- the rhythmic chirping of frogs at sunset
- dust bunnies under my bed
>> Song of the day:
>> Verse of the dayZephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
*I am not implying that there needs to be a feminist movement. I am not in the least a feminist, but a girl striving to be feminine. I am not saying that taking care of the house, the kids, the husband, etc. is not or shouldn't be part of a woman's job description. But I am saying that there's more to a woman than her domestic duties, and I am just trying to encourage others to look deeper into what a woman's role is, especially the role she was meant to play for Christ.