Monday, October 15, 2007

Titus Two Today, Part Two: You as the Younger Woman

[Ed. Note: I was excited to see the response to my earlier post, when I was trying to measure the interest in this idea of "What is Titus 2 Mentoring?" I'm going to slowly go about tackling this issue from a variety of angles through a series of posts. I'm honest enough with myself to acknowledge that I'm not very good at persevering and tackling all sides of an issue in a short period of time, but I will continue returning to this subject as my interest and your questions keep me motivated to keep writing, reading, and thinking about it. :) -Jess]


The first way we will approach this subject, individually in our lives, and collectively as we study this subject here, is as the younger woman. Even if one has come to Christ as an older woman, she still must learn about biblical womanhood from the Word of God, and often, through the influence and wisdom of a more mature Christian woman.

So how do we, when we are the younger/less mature woman, go about being "Titus Twoed"? (Yes, I'm going to be using Titus Two in all sorts of interesting grammatical usages, so be ready for it!) How do we go about learning from older women?

I believe there are two basic elements: RESPECT and HUMILITY.

It is not easy to open up your life to another woman. We all make it to womanhood with some bumps and bruises from junior-high-type interactions that taught us that women can totally shred each other (often leaving us feeling completely incompetent, ugly, worthless, whatever). Right? I mean, let's just own up to it-- we women aren't always the easiest to be true, transparent friends with.

We women sometimes hold grudges more than we should. Too often, we allow a critical spirit and roots of bitterness and judgmentalism to grow in our hearts. And even if we don't externally say a word, many of us are quite good at critiquing and pronouncing internal judgments about the other women in our church, community, and circles of interaction.

Knowing ourselves and our own critical ways, we may take a long time to "warm up" to other women, suspecting them to be every bit as cutting as we ourselves may be. Perhaps you aren't overly critical of others... but perhaps you were hurt as a child or as a young woman and you find it difficult to trust anyone. Perhaps you're naturally reserved and have always found it difficult to truly open up to any other person. Maybe you don't even know the depths of your own heart, and find the prospect of being honest with yourself a big enough obstacle without adding in the fearful notion of opening up to someone else.

Whatever the case, we need to recognize that however difficult it is for us (as the younger/less mature woman) to admit the NEED for a mentor, it is that much MORE difficult for older women to risk their hearts by opening up their lives to us. And we need to respect them for that choice, to deliberately obey the Word of God and "teach the younger women". In so doing, a woman will have to be insightful enough to accurately assess their "victories" and "successes", humble enough to admit the areas where/when they didn't do well, and open enough to let you see the real them, warts and all. That's not easy for any woman, and we need to respect them for the risk they're taking in obeying this command of the Word of God.

We know up front that some "younger women" come with more initial knowledge than others. Perhaps you grew up in the church and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by examples of godly women, being keepers at home, loving their husband and children. Or some women might come to Christ at an older age and already have practical experience of keeping a home, raising children, etc.

But most of us, particularly in this day & age, grew up with little or no examples in this area. We were entrenched in a society that valued a job- ANY job- over the job of homemaker. We were raised with messages that told us that men weren't any different from us, and that we were not only equal, but that our equality meant SAME-ness. With the rise of a feminist culture, we didn't see women wholeheartedly embracing their God-given responsibilities in the home. For the most part, we didn't see submissive women working at home, except in parodies and oft-derided 50's-era TV shows.

SO, with that in mind, let's just admit that as the younger woman,: WE DON'T KNOW IT ALL. Sometimes, it can come across like we do know it all. Perhaps we have earned a "degree" in early childhood education, psychology, or sociology and really do know about certain things; perhaps the woman mentoring us doesn't have a college degree at all. Without humility, that kind of relationship isn't going to work- the younger woman will feel like she knows it all, just because she read some books, and the older woman may feel intimidated by a younger woman who has a degree (as the world around us has certainly worked its harm on the psyches of older woman as well).

But if you haven't raised a child, and if you haven't been married for 20+ years, then you really don't know about how to do those things.... even if you've read four or more YEARS worth of textbooks with skads of statistics and facts. So we, as the younger women, must be humble enough to admit that there are things that we DON'T know.

We must be humble enough to admit that even though we THINK we know how we would "deal with that unruly kid" or "nip that in the bud if it happened in my marriage", until we've walked that path, we really DON'T know. I am confident that it is MUCH easier to say what we "would do" when we have never had teenagers, but even if we DO end up doing a good job of it later, it will take much more hard work than we realize on this side of it all.

All that to say, there are things we need to do if we're really going to benefit from Titus-Twoing. And I think two of the MAIN things we need to do are to be respectful and to be humble.

These are my general thoughts today. Any comments, questions, thoughts about this that you'd like to add? Or is there anything specific you'd like me to tackle as we go on through the series? Let me know; I always love hearing from you!


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