In Becoming God’s True Woman we find in the first chapter a quote from Ms. Brownmiller and her definition of femininity…”a romantic sentiment, a nostalgic tradition of imposed limitations.” The chapter goes on to debate this idea.
This got me thinking about what I view as said “imposed limitations”. We live in a world that has pushed women far, to the degree that we as women say there is nothing we can’t do. Astronauts, CEOs, women in armed forces, doctors and politicians, there is not a sphere of influence we cannot invade. Does biblical femininity require us to be limited? Does it require us to not be these things? Is it God’s will that all women have a sphere of influence limited to her household, as biblical culture could suggest?
I’m looking forward to fleshing out in the book some of these questions. Here’s a few thoughts of my own based on my limited knowledge of God’s word.
Sin permeates all we do. Even our ideas and ideals about being women and femininity have been corrupted by it. We dress up, play up our best features, and manipulate our way amongst a much more straight-forward breed…men. In Genesis 3:16 we find a key to understanding cultural femininity and our own constant struggle as woman.
….Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.
This doesn’t mean that we are lusting after our husbands. There is a reference to shed light on it in Gen 4:7 when sin is looking to devour and destroy Cain. My deep-rooted sinfulness is wanting to be lord over men. I want to be the ruler. Be it in work, in play, in church or in my home. Men have their own consequences of the fall which play to our temptation to try to be better than them. In many cases, there are multiple areas where a woman’s design is better equipped than man’s. But the fact remains that God Himself has put men over us and has instead designed us to be helpers. I don’t like that job nearly as much as I like being in the spotlight. And it’s real easy to say, respectively, God, what’s up with that? We have to go back and look at some details with the whole forbidden fruit issue to see that unfortunately, our consequences fit our crime.
So when the woman saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6)
Eve was designed without sin to be an influencer and helper. Without the counsel of her husband she made a wrong decision. She was deceived. She absorbed the information the serpent deceived her with, decided quickly what she wanted, acted on it and then influenced and helped her husband decide without a recorded word. The weight of feminine influence on a male mind here is astounding. Pause to think how many times you can and have convinced men to act with just a look. We are convincers. But, we are unwilling to seek correct counsel which leads us to our needing to be ruled over. Eve’s decision was flat-out wrong. She could not remember once the benefits of the fruit were given that God indeed did love her and had forbidden her to eat it for their good. And with Adam standing right there to remind her if she asked, she did not and instead acted on her own and not only chose for herself but convinced her husband to do so as well.
As women of God’s word, we need to be careful on both sides of the spectrum. Do I personally think God restricts women only to the sphere of the home? No. Can women do great things, godly things as CEOs, astronauts and politicians? Yes. But we have to be very careful to weigh correctly our God-given “limitations” of femininity. We can err too conservatively and deny our very design to help others around us, or go too strongly the other way to be hostile to others who would be a God-given authority over us. Femininity is not nostalgic or romantic sentiment but, as the book quotes,
“…mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.”
Next week we will chat about chapter 2. If you want to join in, you can snag the Kindle edition of Becoming God’s True Woman by Nancy Leigh DeMoss for just 2.99$ Remember, even if you don’t have a Kindle you can download the free Kindle app for iPhone, Android and Mac computers.