This article was originally written in August of 2009 for my personal blog. Thank you for reading!
When I first meet them, I get nervous. I wonder if I’m good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, witty enough. All of the doubts I have come to the surface when we are first introduced. What do I say? I’m not interesting. Do we have anything in common? I have nothing to offer. Most women have this fear about meeting a guy. Gaining his attention and keeping his interest. I have the opposite problem. Women intimidate me. Strong, confident, and assertive women. Why is this?
I’ve shrugged it off and explained it with the fact that I’ve grown up with brothers and am more comfortable around guys. However, it’s not ALL girls that cause me to feel insecure about myself. It’s the women like MYSELF that I feel inferior around. You’d think I would gravitate towards like minded individuals and be more comfortable around persons with the same kind of attitude, but I feel a need to compete even though there’s no competition. Like I have to prove myself when there’s no test.
“Captivating” is a book I borrowed from my small group leader a while back. I finished reading it a few weeks ago, and this book actually prompted me to start my inspirational writing. It helped me to understand why I am the way I am and why it’s not OK. It’s not okay to build a wall of protection around myself in order to make me invincible. It’s not okay to feel I have to guard myself when I have a God who’s perfectly willing to do that for me. It’s not okay to hide most of myself behind an appearance that shows “I’ve got it all together. Why don’t you?”
Here’s a brief description on the back cover of the book that introduces the meaning of the pages inside:
“Every little girl has dreams of being swept up into a great adventure, of being the beautiful princess. Sadly, when women grow up, they are often swept up into a life filled merely with duty and demands. Many Christian women are tired, struggling under the weight of the pressure to be a “good servant,” a nurturing caregiver, or a capable home manager.
What Wild at Heart did for men, Captivating is doing for women. Setting their hearts free. This groundbreaking book shows readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power, freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be. By revealing the core desires every woman shares-to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure, and to unveil beauty-John and Stasi Eldredge invite women to recover their feminine hearts, created in the image of an intimate and passionate God. Further, they encourage men to discover the secret of a woman’s soul and to delight in the beauty and strength women were created to offer.”
The common story in the bible of Adam and Eve explains why this world is the way it is. With it’s curses, violence, and the division of the relationships between men and women. In this book, the author describes two types of Fallen Eve.
“Fallen Eve controls her relationships. She refuses to be vulnerable. And if she cannot secure her relationships, then she kills her heart’s longing for intimacy so that she will be safe and in control. She becomes a woman “who doesn’t need anyone-especially a man.” But beneath it all, behind it all, is a simple truth; women dominate and control because they fear their vulnerability. Far from God and far from Eden, it seems a perfectly reasonable way to live. But consider also this: “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23 NKJV). That self protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real loving, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut-level response to a dangerous world.”
“Desolate women are ruled by the aching abyss within them. They are consumed by a hunger for relationship. Sadly, desolate women also tend to hide their true selves. We are certain that if others really knew us, they wouldn’t like us–and we can’t risk the loss of a relationship. Desolate women might be busy women who hide behind, “There’s so much work to do.” To hide means to remain safe, to hurt less. And so by hiding we take matters into our own hands. We don’t return to our God with our broken and desperate hearts. And it has never occurred to us that in all our hiding, something precious is also lost–something the world needs from us so very, very much.”
I got it! It finally clicked. All this time I figured I was doing the world a favor by being the person I am. A gift to the world and a fine example of a Christian woman. NOT! A woman who puts her trust and confidence in the Lord should not be unapproachable and scared. What a reality check. What a blow to my pride. And there lies the culprit. If I didn’t feel more successful or holier than someone else, I wasn’t good enough. My shell shattered to pieces if another person got a better score in life. I had to be the best and if I couldn’t, then I didn’t want to do it. If another woman acheived more than me at anything, I secretly harbored jealousy toward her while patting her on the back. I felt most comfortable encouraging people and helping them move forward in life because if I could help these people, then I must be good enough. Hiding my weaknesses became a crutch I used to let me know I was okay.
At a retreat my church held this weekend, I discovered that many of the other girls were going through the same thought process and fear that I held on to. “This is as far as I’ll let you in.” The barrier is clear and we give just enough to let others think we are “going deep”. But are we really getting anywhere by fooling those who have never seen a window into our true pain, struggles, and fear? It makes me sad to find that the majority of us feel this way. We are too much, not enough, and can’t live up to this fictional character of “The True Christian Woman”.
You might see yourself in one of the two types of Fallen Eve, or–like myself–you can identify with both. The points that dove deepest into my heart are the fact that I wasn’t experiencing God’s real love in my life and deeply trusting that He will cover me. I never considered that by distancing myself, people were missing out on a blessing. I was keeping them from getting something precious that they needed.
I’m exposing the lies of my past so that you can better understand me as a person. Being secure in God has helped me rid myself of the fear of saying what needs to be said. This is not an infomercial about “How Captivating saved my life and why you must buy it!” I’ve actually met women who didn’t recieve anything from the book and haven’t felt a need to finish it. However, those like myself-those who are hurting and hiding–have been healed in an area that has been an open wound for so long. I challenge you to discover what it truly means to be a woman of God. I pray you find the answers to your pain and realize that you can move forward with God and heal your relationships with others.
If you do have a testimony of how God has transformed your heart, I’d love to hear it!