Sweet Peas and Tobacco

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll recognize that 1) it’s now gone, and 2) for the next two days I’m sticking to a similar theme with a kinder, gentler tone (I hope).  I felt “snark regret” all night and took the post down so that I could sleep.  I truly do want to be for things, life-giving, vs. against things and snarky.

New thoughts on the subject of girly-girl stuff:

I’m not a candle girl.  Wait, let me rephrase that since I believe in being for things, not against things (as I mentioned above).  So I’ll say this: I’ve traditionally been in favor of avoiding candles like the plague.

I’m not the type to suggest “curling up with a cup of tea, a candle and my journal.”  And, actually, everything of that womanly-sounding ilk rather irks me (What a thrill to use “ilk” and “irk” in the same sentence with only one word between them!).  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I feel left out.

I’m not big on shopping or group spa days or … well you get the idea.  And I’ll not delineate further since I’m hovering on the edge of the cliff of against-ness.

I tend to like geometric designs more than hearts and flowers. I prefer big, bold splashy zinnias to delicate pink anything.

Several years ago one of my best friends told me that I have a decidedly un-female approach to problems.  She said that rather than massaging them, I set my sights on them and shoot them dead.  I was flattered.

And I think I see a truth here.  There’s not only one way to be a woman, no one way to express our personalities, no single way to be an image-bearer of God.

I remember when I was newly trying to figure out a life of faith, of following Jesus.  And I had two fears: 1) that surrendering to God would mean that horrible things would happen to me in order for God to strengthen my faith, and 2) that I would always be a failure of a Christian if I couldn’t figure out how to be really quiet and fade into the wall-paper (whereas I’m talkative, enthusiastic and energetic).

Meekness is a path to inheriting the earth. It’s a virtue, akin to humility; it’s a lack of certitude about our own abilities and demands dependence on God.  Heaven knows I’d like to be more meek.  But way back when, I was afraid that God called people who agreed to serve him to be bland, to have nothing left of themselves.  I shudder at how I got those misperceptions.

Whereas it’s the opposite.  I love a quote I heard from Dallas Willard; it was something like this: “We don’t need to live Jesus’ life.  He already did that.  We need to live our own life, as He would live it.”  He said something else about how our growth in Christ gets us to the place where God can trust us to be who we want to be. I love that.  If anyone knows the exact quote, enlighten me.

So I’m all for humility. But I’m striking a blow for broadening the definition of what Christian women are allowed to be like (“allowed” by the  proverbial “them,” whoever “them” is/are).

Jesus did not lead a dull life.   He was not passive when action was called for.  Nor was he strident when silence was called for.

But we, especially women, can get all twisted around in what being a woman looks like, what submission means, what form “love” should take.

We’re not called on to be stereotypically “womanly.”  We’re called on to be whatever we are, submitted to God’s authority over us.

So I’m relaxing a bit as the decades pass and realizing that it’s okay if I prefer strong coffee to tea.  It’s fine if I like black and white plaid more than I like pastels.  It’s even fine that I’ve decided that all candles are not created equal, and I’m enjoying a bergamot and tobacco one, lit on my desk today.

It reminds me that narrow strictures are of the devil, that I impose them on others and on myself.    You can enjoy your sweet pea candle, and I’ll enjoy my tobacco one.

Finally, I’m reminded that we’re offered freedom but often fall back into those “weak and miserable principles,” just like the Galatians did.

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~ by Cary on September 24, 2010.

One Response to “Sweet Peas and Tobacco”

  1. I absolutely LOVE this. I’m sending it along to my pastor and his wife – think they’ll both really dig it, like it’s meant to be dug ;). DF

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