Friday, June 16, 2006

Captivating


I admit I'm very slow to follow trends in either church or secular culture. I'm actually just now reading the Da Vinci Code ( a subject for a later post) and I recently just read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. I still haven't read any of their others, but Wild at Heart seemed to create quite a buzz. To be honest, anything creating such a stir in a large number of people I tend to write off pretty easily. That just goes to show you that I think I'm some kind of arrogant intellectual/spiritual elitest--something I'm trying to recover from (or more accurately repent of). What I'm trying to say is I picked up Captivating recently on a whim and couldn't put it down. It's written for women and comes from such a different perspective than I'm used to that it was almost a shock to my system. Imagine defining myself according to what God created me to be rather than how useful I am to my husband or anyone else. I don't know if that's putting it right, but I'm still processing it all. Near the beginning of the book, couple of paragraphs jumped out at me and I almost started crying. Just so you know, I'm a 1 or 2 times a year cry-er, so tears don't come very easily to me usually.

"..there has been precious little wisdom offered on the path to becoming a woman. Oh, we know the expectations that have been laid upon us by our families, our churches, and our cultures. There are reams of materials on what you ought to do to be a good woman. But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal really should be.
...It's [the church's] message to women has been primarily 'you are here to serve. That's why God created you: to serve. In the nursery, in the kitchen, on the various committees, in your home, in your community." Seriously now--picture the women we hold up as models of femininity in the church. They are sweet, they are helpful, their hair is coiffed;they are busy, they are disciplined, they are composed, and they are tired.
...We're all living in the shadow of that infamous icon, "The Proverbs 31 Woman," whose life is so busy I wonder, when does she have time for friendships, for taking walks, or reading good books? Her light never goes out at night?...Somehow she has sanctified the shame most women live under, biblical proof that yet again we don't measure up. Is that supposed to be godly--that sense that you are a failure as a woman?"

This book has struck a deep chord in me and I have to read it again. It's the first thing I've read in a long time that actually makes me want to be a woman. I've spent most of my life wishing I was a man and knowing that it's rebellious and wrong and shows a horrible lack of trust in my Creator. Even reading the Bible has made me feel degraded as a woman as I have interpreted in light of the explanations I've been taught either directly or indirectly. I had trouble reading some of the positive things about women in general in this book because my natural tendency is to somehow despise the woman as inferior. I wasn't really aware of all this until I read this book and observed some of my reactions.

I have learned to control and manipulate my husband and others in subtle and ugly ways. I have gotten a glimpse of how beautiful it would be to not live in fear of losing control but to be able to trust God with everything, even letting my husband make mistakes in leadership, even if it hurts me sometimes. All this I have known technically for a long time, but now I'm actually being convicted and given a real desire to be different. The picture of the woman held out is actually beautiful and inviting and good. Not a life sentence that I must endure until I finally die and get to heaven.

I hope no one is misunderstanding me and thinking I've gone off the feminist deep end. I hope that's not the case! It seems to me that God wants to replace my feelings of duty for true delight in being the person he created me to be, a woman, with all that comes with that. It's almost as if he intended me to be free, why is it so easy to forget that?

2 comments:

Faith said...

Dear Jul,
Hi! I'm so glad you visited my blog and so very glad I found yours!!! My curiousity in "Captivating" is now officially peaked over the edge of tolerablilty and I am GOING to read that book!!! A friend of mine in the Newfrontiers church we've been attending on and off is reading it and really likes it. Simultaneously (hope I spelled that right) her husband is reading Wild At Heart and it has sparked some really interesting conversations between them!
I TOTALLY get the "if it's so popular it must not be worth reading" mentality - where in the world did we pick that up from?!!! What in the world have we missed out because of it? I have just recently come out of my "box" of what is okay to read and not, and have been tremendously blessed, especially by Beth Moore's stuff, and realizing that I can be a discerning reader!
Look forward to keeping up with your blog!

jul said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I'm pretty sure you'll at least find this book very interesting and thought provoking. My husband has not yet read Wild at Heart but we have already had quite a few intesting discussions from me reading this. I hope he'll get a chance to pick it up soon. How do you like the Newfrontiers church? How did you find it? I was looking at the links on your blog and on your husband's blog and it seems like we probably have a lot in common. I've added your blog to my favorites and look forward to reading it in the future. Nice to 'meet' you!