What does it really mean to be a woman?
There are many books and people who share what expectations are placed on a woman, but as the author's write "There has been precious little wisdom offered on the path to becoming a woman". And, if we base what it means to be a godly woman by what we see at church, "you'd have to conclude that a godly woman is ...tired. And guilty."
Wow. So, the church sets a high standard and many of us tire ourselves out trying to reach it and we are left feeling bad about ourselves. Great. I kept reading, hoping that there would be hope to come. And that's when things got really personal for me. These words were like a ghost from my past. They echoed how I felt after losing my job six years ago and the years that followed where I tried to rebuild my life.
"I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I've ever met feels it - something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time.... The result it shame."
We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us. We feel unsought - that no one has the passion or the courage to pursue us, to get past our messiness to find the woman deep inside. And we feel uncertain - uncertain what it even means to be a woman; uncertain what it truly means to be feminine; uncertain if we are or ever will be."
Aware of our deep failings, we pour contempt on our own hearts for wanting more...we long for intimacy and for adventure...But the desires set deep in our hearts seem like a luxury, granted only to those women who get their acts together."Wow. If I would have written down how I felt after leaving Fort Wayne, that's probably what I would have said. I felt like I had failed - failed at being a teacher, failed at being independent, failed at being a grown-up. I had given up my job, my home, my pets, many of my belongings, my car, and was moving home to live with my mother. I felt like everything that gave me my identity had been taken away and I was left feeling unsure of who I was but longing for more.
No one could possibly see and know all that I felt. Sure, some people had empathy for me and felt compassion because they had gone through their own circumstances that had left them feeling lost and like a failure, but no one had experienced MY circumstances.
Schools were no longer pursuing me as they had in my previous years. My name wasn't out there, or if it was, they couldn't see past the fact that my last year teaching had only been for a few months. My phone didn't ring.
I was uncertain where to go from there, what to do with my life. And it wasn't just my job that was affected. My confidence had been shattered and it affected everything I did. I became a bump on a log for a long time - sleeping, eating, reading, watching TV, and maybe some knitting. I gave up my favorite things- playing volleyball, singing, playing my guitar, being out with friends. No one understood; I was sinking into myself.
My mother finally (lovingly) pushed me hard enough to seek help. I found a wonderful Christian counselor (psychotherapist) who wouldn't let me slide by. He pushed me to dig deep and find my inner strength. I got involved in a program called "Emotional Brain Training" (EBT for short) that helped me rewire old messages that I had told myself, or been told as a child, about not being enough. With my counselor's help and through my own hard work I found my strength, the strength that God had given me, that I'd had all along.
I now see my own beauty and know that I am enough and God is enough for me, but still there is a longing for a mate, a partner, a spouse. I can't wait to see what this book helps bring to light about the heart of a woman and how to become "captivating".
Eldredge, John and Stasi. Captivating. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print