I like to read…a lot. I just finished a book (Villette by Charlotte Bronte) with one of the worst heroines I’ve ever encountered. She was resigned to the fact that her life was going to be crap. Nobody loved her, and never could, she was insignificant and would remain that way. No will to fight, just a cool acceptance of the portion (she thought) God was serving her. Who the heck could live like that?! What about that inalienable right to at least PURSUE happiness. Anyway, while I have no trouble with wanting to emulate Lucy Snowe (that was the character’s name), I do struggle a lot with what kind of heroine–woman really (are we old enough to call ourselves that :))–I want to be. To simplify it, there are two main types that seem always to be cropping up in the books I read.
Type A: The strong woman. She’s intelligent, opinionated, capable of running a farm–or an entire country for that matter. She may fall madly and passionately in love, but it is with her intellectual equal (or her better so that she can respect him), and she may love him but you would never say she NEEDED him. Her husband and community respect her for her strength and will to fight whatever hardship may come.
Type B: The loving spirit. She’s beautiful and blushes easily. She may be intelligent, but she knows how to hold her tongue until her opinion is requested–rendering the little gems that do fall from her lips, priceless. She loves deeply and passionately not only her hero, but the women and children that surely fill her life. There is no doubt she can sew, cook, and do handwork–especially for the needy–but she requires the care of a man to provide for her. She is not ashamed of being the “weaker sex,” in fact part of her allure is that she embraces this concept and makes a man her champion.
So which one are you? Which one do you even want to be? I know I wax and wane from one book to the next, holding one on a pedestal and then the other. But Abby, aren’t you asking the wrong question? Shouldn’t we be wondering what kind of woman GOD would have us to be, not your silly books? Yes, you are right we should. But I am afraid God seems just as ambiguous on the subject.
Type A: The Proverbs 31 woman. “The Wife of Noble Character” Her husband has full confidence in her. She farms the food before she cooks it. She makes the wool before she sews it into clothes AND sells it in the market. “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Really there is not one weak or frilly thing about this woman.
Type B: Peters words to wives in 1 Peter 3:4 “Instead, it [your beauty] should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight…They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.”
I’m sorry, but I have a hard time imagining Type A woman calling anybody her master…And not a whole lot about her seems gentle and quiet. How are we supposed to reconcile the two? What standard are we to strive for as women? I don’t know. I do know that every time Jeremiah and I have an argument, he tells me I turn into a man…and I know what he means. I have my point, my opinion (which I am always utterly convinced is right), and my strong will, and I don’t bend. I feel like I square off and look him in the eye and often times halfway through the struggle I become disgusted with my manly self and realize that I no longer even know what point I’m making–only that I am winning the argument. The last time this happened Jeremiah looked at me and said, “What are you aiming for here Abby? Do you want me to cower, because I am not going to cower?” That really hit me, because NO I don’t want him ever to cower to me. That’s why I married him, because he’s strong and a leader, and I respect him. Then what end do I hope for in our battles? If I refuse to lose, but I don’t want him to be meek either? Would you say I need a little more of that Type B woman? 🙂
I do have a softer side as well. I am especially helpless and Type B when it comes to yard work 😉 If I did not have a husband our grass would most assuredly never be mowed. I like myself better when I am soft. I like to feel cared for and protected. I have always longed to be a fainter–a swooner. The thought of having a weak constitution that falls dramatically to the floor in times of crisis (only to be carried off in strong arms and have your eyes flutter open to some deeply concerned, manly eyes). I know that fainting is not what Peter was referring to when he described a “gentle and quiet spirit,” but it’s what comes to my mind anyway.
Surely we should be striving for both Type A and Type B. Some glorious hybrid of the two. I know I don’t need to be so dogmatic and opinionated that I become abrasive. I also feel like God gives us intelligence He expects us to use. I know I don’t need to be so meek that I can’t step out of myself to care for others and my family. However, I do need to have a gentle spirit that is an attribute to the peace that comes from Him…Sounds pretty impossible. If any of you have it figured out let me know!