Wednesday, May 26, 2010

charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting....

yeah I know its been a month...its fine:

 I was talking with a friend the other day, while paddling against a wild current on Lake Lewisville, when a subject arose that  had been on my mind. The subject discussed was character and we were throwing out adjectives we thought people would use to describe ours. I had already been thinking about this topic previous to our conversation and it only confirmed  quite obviously that my prior conclusion  was indeed accurate. The following are words I believe are most used to describe me:  fun, loving, witty, outgoing, funny, adventurous, spontaneous, understanding, comforting, encouraging, charming, inspiring, and at times if I were honest, which I promised to be in this blog, I've been described as pretty. Now I know what your probably thinking, man B don't be modest.You may even be thinking how prideful I must be to post this list  online for you to read. But before you jump to conclusions about this list let me give you the second list, the following are adjectives not on the last list because these are the ones that people wouldn't use to describe me: faithful, loyal, dependable, thoughtful, diligent, punctual, honorable, wise, obedient, enduring, and God fearing. Now after reading that list there are some of you thinking "no those aren't at all correct" because in some way you may have been one of the lucky ones that have experienced one of the nine times in my life that I may have followed through with something or may have come through for you; or perhaps you're just too kind or maybe even a people pleaser yourself and you have serious anxiety when it comes to shootin' people straight.  Some of you are very honest and are thinking "your right I wouldn't use those words to describe you", but you love me, so you immediately follow that statement with " but your a damn good time so who's dwellin on this silly list anyway."  Then there is the last half of you, you guys are thinking "yep! she's dead on", as your memory takes you back to some past event or situation where I left you in the dust, or slung you outta my basket completely without even looking back, and you are delighted to learn I've realized these words don't describe me and you are secretly revelling in the pleasure my introspection has brought you today, and to you I say careful do not judge lest ye be judged LOL. Now that we've discussed your responses, all of your responses,  to both my lists of adjectives let me describe  how I originally came to the realization that  these were my lists, why I feel these lists are so important, and what my response to them looks like. On my shower wall I have a laminated copy of two scriptures, one of them being Proverbs 31. For those of you that may never have read this group of verses it describes what a Godly wife looks like. Let me state for the record, this idea of scripture in the shower wasn't  original , my friend Jade had done it at her house and so I decided what a great idea, I will be able to memorize scripture in the shower. But the truth is after almost three years of having this scripture posted I might have a few lines memorized, but it was a valiant effort . Anyway,  I'm standing in the shower a few weeks ago and begin reading these verses, and as I go through line by line I try and assess whether or not I'm looking like the wife being described.  Let me state the obvious, I rarely look like her. I'm usually not standing in the shower checking yes to each box while congratulating myself at my efforts. It doesn't look like me saying " Yes, my arms were strong for my tasks after kayaking this week or man did I ever supply the merchants with sashes this week, I mean I was on fire cranking out deeds."  The bible can sometimes  be a little confusing to apply, considering it describes a woman thousands of years ago. It uses crazy lingo such as 'she is a merchant ship bringing food from afar". It is at this point it tends to look more like my thoughts wondering off  trying to find the modern day equivalent. Does going to Kroger count?  Kroger is so close to my house I could ride my bike, I feel like it hardly counts as "food from afar". Does it only count if I drive to South lake to Central Market, which takes like 25 min, unless its during traffic, in which case it can take an hour. And I don't work with wool or flax, in fact my sewing machine has been in the closet for two years. And let's be honest the idea that she gets up while its still dark, yeah NO, I get up at 9 or 10am earliest. So clearly my mind goes off on a tangent and I have to regroup and not go so literal, at least not all the time.  Back in the day this description was completely accurate, I'm sure every man reading this then would want that women!  The overall meaning is clear that she is selfless and goes about taking care of her family in every way necessary often depriving herself of what she probably wants,case in point  more sleep. It clearly states she is hard-working,faithful, loyal, dependable, wise, selfless, and giving. That is the first list of adjectives that describe her and we could probably add more to that list. But if there is a first list then that means there is also a second list of words not used to describe her which is why the last line of scripture hit me hard. The entire chapter finishes up with this: charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. She is not aspiring to be charming and beautiful. Let me add a question mark to the end of that, she is not aspiring to be charming and beautiful? The world teaches us just the opposite, doesn't it? Can you ever remember a time when it wasn't important to be beautiful? The world certainly seems to be all about beauty and it has its own definition of beauty as well. And remember what you've been taught since you were small, bat your eyes and prince Charming will come sweep the beautiful princess off her feet. And how disappointed were you after the real world's definition of reality failed and you realized you must not be a  princess, that other girl at school was more qualified and had already filled the role.Or maybe you were that other girl and the role wasn't quite that satisfying, in fact keeping up the princess appearance can be quite exhausting. And prince charming, a wonderful, perfect man who shows up in the nick of time. Well this idea sets up every man to fail. Who came up with this prince? And who chose the word charming to describe him? Have you ever stopped to consider the word charming or to look up its definition? I have always aspired to be charming. I have always wanted a charming little cottage with a wildflower garden and an art shed. I thought the word was synonymous with inspirational or whimsical. Turns out that's incorrect. Charming as you have guessed by now is tied to seduction, magic tricks, spells, all in all charming turns out to be a hoax, a facade.   Some of you may be frustrated, don't worry I'm not completely bashing fairy tales. And the word charming can be used occasionally in a positive way. I think imagination is important and a little pretend is good for the soul. But when fantasy starts mixing with lies and that mix becomes your belief everything gets jumbled. The world opposes Christ. It works completely opposite to Him and his word. So when I read this line of scripture I was hit with the truth. I should be aspiring to be a loyal, faithful, hard-working, and trustworthy wife but instead so often I work extra hard  to be a charming, beautiful, cool, or even funny one.  Because the world has taught me that this is what is enticing. It teaches me this every time I check out at the grocery store and stand near the magazines, every time I go to the gym and see the posters, and every time I watch a movie or read a romance novel. But scripture teaches a completely contrary idea. Scripture says I am wanted already by Christ! Scripture tells us we are made beautiful in Christ. We are to be servants and we are to aspire to be obscure like him. Colossians 3:4 (message version) " the meantime be content with obscurity, like Christ." Scripture shows us a wife is to be loving, gentle, kind, serving,  hardworking. What I've seen in myself is that sometimes as woman, as freeing as this word should be, we surprisingly don't like that picture. My husband helped me to see that even I had bought into the lie that I was supposed to be something totally different. He told me a story he had heard. Six guys go out to dinner for guy's night out. All the dudes were sitting around talking after dinner and they were having such a good time they didn't want to go home. They started thinking of places to go and one of the guys spoke up and said "we can go to my house, my wife will be there but I can call and see if she cares." All the guys reply saying yeah that sounds good we don't mind if she's there, except one guy who replied "man I hope your wife is there she is so cool. I haven't seen her in a long time, I'm looking forward to catching up. " The other guys just turned and looked at him like hey man that's his wife. AWKWARD. Some of you may think just like I did at the end of this story " whats wrong with what the guy said?", in that case you may be offended at what I say next but Tristan said it best. He ended the story by stating " I don't want to have the cool wife, I don't wanna have the hot wife or the fun wife, or any wife that all the guys want to come over to "catch up with". This statement astounded me at first, maybe I was even a little outraged.You don't want me to be fun? or to look pretty or dress nice? Then I start accusing him, you want me to sit quietly in the kitchen cooking wearing a potato sack! Why was I mad? Isn't the idea to be the most awesome wife? Or even the most awesome person? The idea is to be popular right ? To have the most friends? Isn't that what equals success? Wrong. Our motives should solely be to please the Lord. To know him and love him and serve him. And out of that servitude and love for others can't help but spring forth. What my sweet and very honest husband was saying is that he wants me to look to please only the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly and therefore look to please only  He and my husband, not people. My motives had nothing to do with these things, he exposed them.  My motives tend to be rooted in pride. I wanted to be seen and known and I can use the guise of serving.  My goal is often  to improve my self worth and even  to make other guys jealous of Tristan or girls jealous of me,  or even to impress others or please them because I can tend to serve people as my God. I didn't even realize that I was making myself a trophy. I've learned the hard way to let the Lord check my  motives. The world has made us believe this is a competition. Wrong again. Comparison is the thief of joy unless we are comparing ourselves with Christ.  But we have been taught by the world that the entire goal is to be wanted or at least to be more wanted than her. Haven't we all? Hear me clearly we are WANTED by our magnificent creator! Turns out we are actually  princesses. Christ is Prince Charming after all he's the only one with magic power and he will come back to sweep us off our feet.We are Christs bride.  The Lord has shown me the entire goal is to know him and be loved by him. And then in turn to love others by serving them humbly as Christ serves us. It is not about recognition. 1 Peter 5:6-7 "So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is upon you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; for he is most careful with you." So am I supposed to work in the kitchen in a potato sack?? Only if that's what Christ instructs me to do and if it is then I better trust that it is in my best interest! After all this introspection I have decided I no longer want to strive to be charming, or pretty, or witty, or popular, or cool, I want to be loyal. I want to be wise. I want to be trustworthy. I want to be hardworking. My flesh and I will battle it out but with Christ's help my flesh will lose. The world can keep shouting lies but it will lose also. There will be a day when the world will be forced to recognize truth. The truth is that beauty is fleeting, you can only cheat wrinkles for a little while ,and you can't cheat death or judgement. And as for charming, well that's quite a magic show, practicing the tricks are exhausting and one day it will be exposed.  I can only hope when the Lord comes for me I will have nothing to hide. I hope he will have exposed all the tricks up my sleeve. I hope he will find me to be a good and faithful servant perhaps in the kitchen after all, wearing a potato sack, making a fabulous meal, and "laughing at the days to come."