Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lessons in Femininity, Part 2

My inner goddess is just begging for a two-by-four to the head.

Just keep reading and let me try to explain. For those of you who recognize the source of that sentence, more on the goddess later.

Life for all of us women is an ongoing quest to figure out what it means to be a woman. If you’re a follower of Jesus, there’s that whole added layer of what it means to be a Christian woman, and how is that different from being any other kind of woman, or a man for that matter.

I wrote Part 1 of this blog months ago with opening musings about embracing God’s intentional design for us, and how that’s our hope for, and path to the best life we can imagine. That’s absolutely true! Since then, I’ve been thrilled to read the very honest blogs written by a diverse group of women, on a wide spectrum of issues and ideas. It reminds me how different we all are within our common gender.

Amidst our vast array of varying personalities and specific gifts, there are also some recurring themes. By design, none of us is exactly the same. Yet we share similar struggles in life and similar questions that rise out of family, relationships, etc. In thinking about what it means to be female, or feminine, one of those recurring themes is the voice (or voices) that we hear in our heads, telling us who we are, what we need, what it takes to make us happy, and what others think of us. This brings me to the inner goddess.

For those of you who have no idea what that means, kudos to you! I’ll enlighten you on a surface level for the sake of making a point. A few years ago when it was initially published, I read the first several chapters of “Fifty Shades of Gray,” just for the sake of doing research so I would know what all the hubbub was about (stop laughing). This isn’t a review of the book or the movie, or an editorial on whether it’s good or bad for women, although I’m more than happy to share my opinion if you want to ask me. The odd phrase, inner goddess, is one that is used by the author in this book . . . a lot! Given the current movie release and hype surrounding it, I decided to do my own research on the inner goddess.

Believe it or not, the idea and phrase existed long before this book. The definition for the phrase, as it is used in feminist and psychology circles, goes something like this: “When a woman is able to transcend inhibitive social expectations or perceived behavioral requirements and instead act in a way that is right for her, she is said to be honoring her inner goddess.” In other words, there is nothing that should dictate behavior or choice for me, other than what I want (i.e., what is right in my own eyes). Only when I “transcend” beyond any other definition of truth am I fully woman. Seriously? No wonder we have no idea who we are.

As a Christ follower, it’s pretty easy to make fun of a concept as out there as this one; however, it brings up a more serious question. How many other things exist in our culture that may be much more subtle, but yet need to be measured against what we say we believe is truth? I think we forget that in this battleground (everyday life), diligence is required to measure every step we take and every decision we make. We say Jesus (Bible) is our source for truth, the measure by which we assess our steps, our goals, our choices, but do we listen to the voices that play in our minds and measure them regularly against that truth?

I must admit, I too have an inner goddess. She urges me to act on anything that I feel. If I want it, I should have it. She feels frustration and anger when I don’t receive recognition and adulation. She cheerleads when I refuse to settle for second place. She reminds me that happiness is the greater good – my happiness, that is. When I hold her logic up to the light of truth, it doesn’t add up.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
Philippians 2:3-7

Yeah, she really doesn’t like the truth. I probably shouldn’t hit her with a two-by-four, but I think I will evict her!

Wanna talk more about this? Join us for Parallel Universe, the flatirons women’s conference on October 3 and 4, details here.

Written by Karen Berge, Women's Ministry Pastor

No comments:

Post a Comment