A Post for Martha

 

I never realized how easy it is to suppress men by “taking over”.  I think it’s part of the curse.  Until recently, I never quite grasped how I was falling into a feministic trap.  Let me explain:

I was born into a visionary family.  Visionaries are dreamers.  They inspire change and they envision the ideal.  They are the trumpets of society.  I’ve never lived a boring day in my life — honestly.  With my Dad’s dreams of “the next project”, my mom’s elaborate ideas, my brother’s war against injustice, my sister’s musical pursuits, and my little siblings budding creativity — I am surrounded by vision.  It’s a chaotic, vibrant, roller coaster sort of life.  It’s my norm and something I’ve recently embraced; even fallen in love with.  But it hasn’t always been that way.

Though I was born to Mr. and Mrs. Visionary, my personality has always somewhat resisted.  From somewhere along my mother’s side I received a very small amount of what people call “practicality”.  Albeit, it is finite compared to the rest of society, it is painfully obvious in a family of such visionary caliber.

With many dreamers in my family there comes a lot of opportunity to “do”.  Dreamers love to dream, but many of their dreams never come to fruition. I also, love to dream, but unlike most my visionary counterparts, it plagues me: the undone.  I see dreams and plans falling apart and I step in to mend them.   Even if they are someone else’s dream or plan.  Recently I’ve seen the negativity associated with this personality trait of mine.  If you are a “worker bee”, a “Martha”, a “fixer”  this post is for you.

 If you are a “worker bee”, a “Martha”, a “fixer”  this post is for you.

There are many many needs in the world.  There are many needs in our community.  There are many needs at our workplace.  And there is an abundance of needs in our home.  I have taken on plenty of these needs.  But in doing this, I have often pondered why there are so few people doing the same?  Especially when I take on something that must be done, but could be better met by someone else…or maybe should be done by someone else.  But no one else volunteers.  No one else is taking charge.  Others are slacking.  And things are falling apart.

With my habit to rush in a give aid, I’ve realized that I have stolen the opportunity from others to obey God.  And what is even more humbling is the thought that I have affected my brothers and brothers in Christ.  My “fix-all” tendency can be traced to a feminist root of pride.  The Little Red Hen syndrome: “I’ll do it myself!”.

Recently it has occurred to me that maybe the men would speak up more if we would pause a moment to take a breath and be still.  Maybe the men would step up if we didn’t consider ourselves the fix-all to every circumstance that called for a willing volunteer.  Maybe the men would take charge if we stopped assuming we’re the only candidate for getting the job done.  Oftentimes the gentlemen step aside for the determined woman who is ready to take “the bull by the horns” because “no one else will”.

There’s nothing wrong with women leading things.  It’s okay to organize an event.  Or take on a ministry.  As long as we do it because Jesus asked us to, not because there’s a need to be met.  Just because no one is rushing to meet a need doesn’t mean it’s our responsibility.  Just because we see the need, doesn’t mean it’s our responsibility.  It might be.  But if so, our King must be asked first.  I’m not talking about the obvious commandments.  Being a virtuous woman, being a witness, being a godly daughter, etc. We don’t need to ask, we need to obey.

Have we ever considered that maybe God created the need to encourage someone else to step up?

But have we ever considered that maybe God created the need to encourage someone else to step up?  So often we hurry to meet needs, and then later complain to God how full our plate is, and beg for more strength. Perhaps we weren’t meant to take it on in the first place.  Of course there are legitimate times of “overload” and it isn’t from ourselves taking on too much, but we are tired, we are dealing with health issues, we are experiencing attack from obeying God.  But I’m talking about the adopted attitude of  “we-must-do-it-all”.  This is what is dangerous.

It’s not only dangerous but it also encourages those around us to expect us to take charge.  They begin to assume we will meet every need.  And we are burdened even more.  Now we aren’t the heroine rushing in to hold down the fort, but now it’s our expected duty, and we’re falling on the job if we let needs slip.  Our response is: I’m upset, Why won’t anyone help?  Why does everyone assume I’m going to head it up and do all the work?  And all along we’ve put it on ourselves.

Don’t worry — I know there are times when people are lazy.  I know sometimes your intention was to “help” and suddenly you find all those volunteers have abandoned you and left the project in “your capable hands”.  I know sometimes your authorities have shouldered you with a responsibility you didn’t sign up for.  I know there are people in this world who will assume upon your generosity (or your convenient state of singleness)  without you having asked for it.

But humbly look at yourself for a moment.  Do we remember to ask Jesus before committing to something?  Even those things we know we could do, or have been asked to do?

 He desires us to take on nothing but what He wills, and to refuse nothing but what He offers. 

God alone knows which paths we are to take.  He knows every aspect of our soul and what we should and can handle.  He desires us to take on nothing but what He wills and to refuse nothing He offers.  This is godly dependency.  It’s not laziness to defer leadership.  We will only be satisfied when our loads are specifically from Him.  His yoke is bearable.  Our’s isn’t.

It is possible to rob our men, of the opportunity to be leaders, protectors, and men.  If we ask God to direct us and listen for His commands, there might be some “big ministries” that are laid aside, but we can be sure what God needs of us will not be ignored.  How many widows are neglected because we are busy “serving God” in a needed ministry?  How many children are forgotten?  How many mom’s are overtaxed?  How many friend are discouraged and ignored?

God will make it clear to us if we ask Him.  I’ve decided to bring before Him every need, no matter the size, and ask Him if it’s my order to meet it.  I’m laying aside my feminist attitude.  I’m praying to be an encouragement and help to my brothers.  Habits are hard to break, but nothing is impossible with Christ.  I am praying you too can see this tendency in yourself, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Take heart Martha, He will create in us a spirit of service as well as submission and love, if we ask.

“Shew me they ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.”  Psalm 25:4 

Femininity

Image result for biblical femininity

She wasn’t wearing any makeup, her hair was pulled in a wispy bun on top of her head, and there was nothing remarkable about her outfit.  But her eyes glowed, her speech was filled with conviction and her smile was contagious.  This is the description of a young woman I recently met.  My brother had met her the day before at a Christian meeting and encouraged me to get to know her.  “She’s neat…you’ll like her”.  And I did!  A passionate Christian, a lovely personality, and a godly, modest young woman.  A perfect example of femininity.

I’ve talked to more than one young woman on the subject of femininity, and have been surprised at the disdain these ladies have held for the biblical trait.  Unfortunately, the world has labeled “femininity” to either be an archaic weak woman from the Victorian era, or a flirtatious stereotypical “pink and lace” kind of girl.


I wanted to encourage you by defying the world’s definition and giving you a healthy biblical view on femininity.


Firstly, let’s look at —

 False Femininity 

Image result for delilah bible

There’s the slutty “Delilah” type, where women seduce men as prey and dress as objects instead of treasures.  They dress to reveal instead of cover.  They tear down instead of build up homes. This is the extreme.  You can see this spirit played out more subtly, with young Christian women, who are addicted to romance novels, who dress border-line, who flirt and flaunt, and dwell in their imaginations.


The other is the feminist mindset, where men and “maleness” are disdained and held in contempt.  The mentality that we are not only opposite, but superior, or at least “just as good” as men are.  They are ashamed of any feminine “weakness”.  

True femininity Image result for modest femininity

There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in femininity.  Practically speaking, feminine simply means “that which pertains to females”.  It can also mean soft, tender and delicate.  But with these womanly character traits come many other virtues


In the bible we see that true feminine women are:

 courageous (Jael)

 helpmeets (Eve)

 industrious (Provers 31 woman)

 intercessors (Abigail)

 strong (Ruth)

 brave (Rebecka)

dignified (Esther)

I have seen many young woman embrace tom boyish behavior because they are disgusted by “cutsie” silly girls.  I want to encourage you that we don’t need to become un-balanced and boyish as possible to escape this false femininity.  In fact, we should be defying this ungodly notion and modeling true femininity to the world.  We can educate, encourage and inspire other young women and prove we can choose more than worldly “femininity”.

What does this look like practically?

Well, I want to assure you that there is nothing wrong with enjoying things like hiking, skiing, horse back riding, volley-ball, shooting and playing with your brothers.  In fact, I believe it’s healthy and godly to be well balanced.  I do all these things! Girls were made to run and play just as boys were.

Image result for women in dresses on horseback

That being said, there is a beautiful role that young women are given.  We are made to be nurturers.  Keepers of our home.  Queens. Helpers of men.  God has equipped us — our part is to practice using these tools.  Not only are we to strive after strength physically, but emotionally and spiritually we must be strong, for as a woman you most likely will one day be given the task to meet your husband’s needs, your childrens, and possibly your community or church family’s.  It requires godly strength to be selfless.


Our future is uncertain.  We live in uncertain, precarious times.  The world our men face is the same world we are placed in.  We don’t need to be soft-minded and leave the battle field to the men only.  America was founded by godly strong men along with their godly strong wives beside them.  Modern day woman dims in comparison to these women who gave up comfort to help conquer and nurture a new nation.


We are not opposite of men, we are definitely different, but not opposite.  We are complimentary to men.  We were made for them, because it was not good that they be alone.  We are suited for man.  We are to fill the earth and subdue it with our men.  We aren’t in a competition.  We are not dominating men.  We are not floozy.  We are not Delilahs.

I’ll never forget when my family visited a Mennonite community for a few Sunday’s in a row.  I was about 9 years old and made friends quickly with the other boys and girls.  It was during that time I was introduced to the mindset that male and female are at war.  We girls held the male species at arms length.  It was then I learned the saying “Girls are from mars, to get more candy bars.  Boys go to Jupiter, to get more stupider.”  (Brilliant, I know).  We aren’t from different worlds.  Our differences are on purpose.  What would the world be like if both men and woman shared the same strengths and weaknesses?


We are to be strong, polished beautiful cornerstones.  (Psalm 144).  Not just physically but in our heart as well.  We are not only beneficiary to our home, but necessary…an essential part.  We are to be actively engaged in our home.  Where are our energies centered?  Where are our strengths invested?  Are we corner stones?


The Proverbs 31 woman did not learn virtuous womanhood the night before marriage.  This was something she learned and practiced.  We must also.


We already know what worldly girls look like.  They are sassy.  Brash, loud, wild.  They are often immodest and either flirts or on the other extreme (haters of men).But Godly, feminine woman are sweet, yet strong.  Meek, but confident.  Modest, but adventurous. Christ in us will shine forth true femininity, and it will not diminish any adventure.  There is nothing more adventurous than being a godly young woman in the 21st century.  


We can either be selfish stereotypical modern day women, or we can be useful women equipped for the battle for His glory.  Are we ready?  Christ might ask us to go to a foreign country to serve Him.  Or to be a Governor’s wife. A farmer’s daughter.  Or scarier yet — to radically serve Him in the “normal” home we are already in.  Can we render ourselves useful?  Can we learn, can we teach?  We are one day going to be training up the next generation.  Are we prepared?  Are we educated?  Can we formulate our own opinions?  Do we read good books?  Do we write good books?  Are we studying? Are we ingenious, creative, entrepreneurial, selfless?  Do we look for the needs of those around us?   A godly feminine woman would.


We hold our future dream of our man to such a high standard.  We want a godly masculine man.  What standard do we hold ourselves?  Are we a godly, feminine woman?  The men God will require for this wicked day and age will require amazing, virtuous, feminine, woman.  Are we willing?