“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know who to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 11-13
Life is hard. Its hard because we constantly want things others have. We are constantly comparing what we have or don’t have with what other have or don’t have. We compare how we act and how others act. If you can compare something between two people you do. We women compare our bodies to that of our friends, kids at school, women at work and worst of all the plastic and altered versions of women in magazines like “People”. To me “People” magazine should state “Famous People” They have that article each year about the “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” How do they know? Have they searched the world? Probably not. Actually most probably never ventured out of Hollywood. They are stuck there and they have yet to figure out there is a vast and beautiful world outside of Hollywood California. Single women compare their lives to married women and married women compare themselves to single women. Women with children compare themselves to women without children and visa versa. Working women (ie those who work outside the home) and Homemakers (SAHM or Those who work inside the home) compare themselves to each other. We not only envy each others lives in the comparisons but we also criticize each other for the different choices they have made. Enter the guilt trip. Women are good at guilt trips. Really most of us truly have nothing against those women who are on the other side of the fence but we envy them. Instead of being happy in our own life and happy for how others lives are going we are envious and even disappointed in our own lives. So we go on the offensive or defensive. In our quest to defend our own lives and choices by criticizing those who have made other choices.
This week in Let.It.Go by Karen Ehman we learned about thinking of the What-ever’s that do or don’t come our ways. We are trying to stop comparing our lives tho those around us and being content to what we have. We are to focus our attention on what we have and not what others have. Unlike Eve who had a Garden full of beautiful fruit to eat and yet she longed for the one thing she couldn’t have. I understand that longing. I have longed for something since 1999. In college I met this guy and he was so cute and seemed like such a great guy. I have such a crush on him to this day. Its preventing me from getting to know other men. Well that is one of the reasons but I digress. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about him. I have even cyber stalked him. I know that is bad but I am not planning anything sinister. Lets go back in time shall we.
First when I first started college I thought I would never ever get married. Being in high school I realized my chances were small of ever finding a man who would be remotely interested in me. While in college this idea was only re-enforced when one by one the guys I was interested in, in one way or another shot me down. One stated I was too skinny. Another didn’t like the clothes I wore. Most found other girls to date instead of me. By my third year of college my prayers went from “God will I ever get married? Is that in your will for me? To God if it is your will for me to marry can you at least give me a glimpse of the man I am to marry even if it will be a long time before we actually do get together? Enter Clay, into my math class and even into my heart. However, all the ladies liked him. Ladies far more attractive than I liked him. If he were to be interested in any of us ladies it would never be me. Lets face it in high school the kids called me “Medusa”. I would never land him. And I didn’t. We never even spoke to each other. Later after college I found him on Myspace. I got bold and told him that I was interested in him and he merely stated that he was flattered then he deleted me from his page. Crushing blow. Well I see all these women who have the man they love and they brag about how great he is, how they are not worthy of someone so great and he makes them happy and I constantly wonder why I cannot have that. It makes me constantly wonder what is wrong with me. What they have that I don’t. What is so ugly about me that is so beautiful about them. I mean they have always had a date and never ever had to wonder if they would ever find someone. Right? Not even my single friends have been rejected as much as I have been rejected. Actually in my 35 years of life I have never once had a legitimate boyfriend.
Now some of my prayers range from, “God why am I so repulsive to men? Why have you created me to be so repulsive. Please God if its not meant to be, PLEASE let me forget about this guy. I don’t want the torture any more. Its pure torture to think about him day in and day out knowing its never meant to be. Please help me figure out how to be happy with my single life and help me to figure out what my purpose is on this earth. Its obviously not to be married nor have children so it must be something else. Right?” But its hard to give that up.
All my single and married friends seem to think about is finding that one person they should marry. Me I have already given that dream up for the most part. At least until I compare myself to my other friends who are married. Or even those who change their status from “single” to “in a relationship” and either back to “Single” or “engaged” or “married to so and so.” Then I start wondering again what is wrong with me. I get involved in online dating with high hopes. Then crushed because I have had a profile for six months and not one man on that million people website is even remotely interested in me in any way. So I try to be content again and even give up that relationship. its never ever going to happen. Truth be told. I never truly give up that dream I still hold onto the dream but giving up is both hard to do and in my opinion something I need to do because holding on to this hope is only causing me to have a lower self esteem than I already have. If I give it up and stop focusing on this maybe I can learn to be content with my life and even happy I have lived this life. Maybe my self esteem will grow and I will no longer wonder “what is wrong with me?” Why am I so repulsive?” “Please someone just tell me already”.
“Please Lord, help me to be content and Let Go what is not meant for me. Help me to realize that whatever I am going through its because that is what I need to go through to become stronger in you and to learn the lesson you might be teaching me. By going through these things I might be able to mentor someone else later who will draw closer to you. I can be a living testament to you and you alone. Because the best testament to you is not my spoken testimony but my daily walk with you. The way I react to troubles and the way I treat other. Amen.
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. Philippians 2:5-7
My “why me” statement sound more like “Why don’t I matter?”, “Why don’t I get to have dreams?”, and “What about me?”. Now I have to consider the struggles I go through in terms of “What am I supposed to learn that will bring me closer to God ?” or “Why has God brought me to this place?” What does this say to me now? Well for one maybe I shouldn’t be so self focused. Maybe I should look beyond myself. Look past my own nose so to speak. Actually, I like those questions much better. They appear to have a better chance of being answered than my original questions.
So what is God trying to teach me in my own circumstances. Maybe he’s just trying to get me to trust him with the way he has set this world up.
When I was younger I trusted my dad completely. To me he was a good man a good Christian man who worshiped God and knew what the bible stated. However, as I got older I realized that he was not very trustworthy. Actually he probably committed one of the worst acts to remove all my trust for everything he has ever taught me. While on the surface I still acted as if I trusted God. I don’t trust him. Simply because the one who led me to him wasn’t trustworthy. he proved that. If he couldn’t be trusted then how can a God who gave him authority over me and my family. My father was abusive. Not physically, To my mother he was emotionally abusive. To my sisters and I he was equally emotionally abusive. However to my oldest sister he was also sexually abusive. When I found that out I was completely devastated. Especially when I realized that at the time he was abusing my sister he specifically told me to watch out for her and make sure these boys who were hanging around her didn’t try to take advantage of her. All the while he was taking advantage of her. Did he really care about her safety, her virtue or her purity? Or was he just a jealous man who didn’t want another man to have what he thought he was entitled to.
While all that who can you really trust and as a woman who must then submit to some man by Gods laws can I truly trust God? I don’t know. Because in the end God may have good intentions. His plan may be perfect but in an imperfect world those plans do not always hash out that perfect. Most of the men I have encountered either personally or even through internet interactions. Not necessarily dating sights but by reading comments section of stories and other social media outlets. Most of it just proves that men cannot be trusted to be in control of women. They like to point out womens flaws much like Adam did while never accepting any responsibility of their own. I hear them call women evil. Have the truly forgotten all the evil things men have caused. A multitude of evil. Yet it is we women who are evil not those men. Why would I ever want to submit to that? They see us as weak, incompetent, inferior and they love the verse about “women having to submit to them.” It defines their very existence. In the end I don’t think women nor men have any clue as to what it means for women to submit. Since men think it means men can dominate and control women. What are women left to believe. I hear all the time how men say. “I am the man I make the decisions you just follow my rules” The problem with the rule maker is that they seldom feel they have to follow those rules themselves. Just look at the federal government. They often pass laws and they put exceptions in every single one of them to make sure that they do not pertain to them as well. ie the Healthcare law. Why is it they do not have to take that insurance as well? it is just so irritating.
This weekend, I came across a sermon about marriage and fornication. The preacher was talking about couples who fornicated with one another prior to marriage. For the first time in my life he blamed the men. He told men if they hadn’t talked their wives into sleeping with them or if they had not slept with their wives prior to marriage then their wives would respect them. Instead most are ashamed of themselves and feel guilty and at the same time don’t trust their husbands because of this. It has always been my thought that if a man was a good Christian man he would not even require a woman to sleep with him prior to marriage. It would be a non issue because he would have chosen to abstain from sex until after marriage. That is not how this world work and it isn’t how it has ever worked. Instead we have adopted this view somewhere in the past that it was the woman’s job to keep the boundaries in the marriage. Therefor giving women the control. Then we get married and women are denied control. Supposed to submit to these men who did not want to be responsible before. If men are supposed to be the leaders then they should have taken responsibility before the marriage by not leading women into sin. Respecting her enough to not make her the bad guy no matter what decision she has made. Since she is the one who is looked down on in these situations. This is why abortion is legal. Because it is more of a shame to become pregnant than it is to commit the sin to begin with. With situations like this it is equally both parties responsibility and both parties mistake. One shouldn’t be given more shame than the other. It takes two to tango yet in our society its been seen as only one of their failures. This causes me to not trust men or want to submit to their authority either.
I am not trying to solely blame men because I know we woman have had our part in this fact. I just do not feel like I can trust some man enough to submit to him when I know he will more than likely find a way to manipulate those rules in his favor. Its just in their nature. Even when its not their rules they still find a way to make them not pertain to they themselves. You rarely hear churches tell men to remain pure until marriage so he does not ruin some woman.
Lord easy my anxiety on this issue. Even if I never get married and that is not in your plans for me I would not want to be one of those friends who poisoned another friend or family member against their spouse based on my own feelings. I want marriage to work and I want marriages to be happy and within your will and sometimes I think I could be a poison to one of those relationships.
This last Sunday, I was in the nursery talking with a couple of the ladies who work that with me. One of the ladies mother has been having a difficult time. She recently lost her job. Due to a manipulative action of a co-worker of hers. This woman has been making my friends mother’s work environment a nightmare. She makes people think this woman is lazy and incompetent. Even though my friends mother gets their early and stays late often doing duties that were not assigned to her. She wasn’t given credit. One day about a month ago this woman decided to accuse her of destroying important documents. She has no real proof. She never even looked at what was shredded. Anyway, my friends mother has decided to file a grievance with her employer about her dismissal. She really doesn’t want to get the job back but she wants to clear her name. She doesn’t want this to haunt her during her job search. Well she filed the proper paper work. A week later that changed the paper work and called her and told her she didn’t fill out the work properly. It really shouldn’t matter what changes were made because she turned in the paper work prior to the changes. They are just trying to make things difficult. Anyway, This irritated me to no end. I started contemplating how I would seek revenge or even come in and save the day. I wanted to go to those people and admonish them in the way they were treating this dear lady. I wanted them to tell me why she should ever think they can treat someone so horribly. I wanted to be her martyr. Yep. That was it. I wanted to be a martyr. That would by definition of sorts make me a hero. At least that is how we Christians think of Martyrs. In some ways rightly so.
During this week I have been reading a book called Let it Go, by Karen Ehmen. In Chapter One she discusses problems with wanting to be in control. She has four types of controlling people. Soft Spoken controller; Enabling Controller; Martyr Controller; and People Pleaser Controller. Each of these people use some tactics to control even manipulate situations and people into getting her own way. Mine is being a Martyr.
Martyr: 1. A person who voluntarily suffers death as a penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion. 2. a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle. 3. victim, especially: a great or constant sufferer.
We glorify Martyrs today. While this situation would not require my death. It would require sacrifice. If I had done as I felt I doubt I would have fixed anything. I have noticed I do this often. When my sisters have lost jobs or been hurt in an unfair manner I have often wanted to come to their defense. Sometimes I have in the way of cowardly calling the person whom hurt them and giving them a piece of my mind. In as non-christian of a manner as I could ever get.
I want to play the Martyr because I feel this will somehow make me indispensable. I cannot be replaced. If people see me as a super hero of sorts then they would see things my way and I would be able to get my own way. The one thing I hope to get out of this is to know when my help is really needed and to only offer that help after I have consulted with God. I want to let him be the leader and myself to simply be the instrument to fulfill his purpose.