Thursday, December 6, 2007

When Women Argue With the Potter

In several places in the Bible, we are reminded that God is the Potter and we are like clay in His hands. Romans 9 is one of those places-- it speaks of God's sovereignty as the Creator- and how He crafts certain "pots" (that would be us) for honorable use and some for common use.

Growing up, I struggled so much with how I was made... competitive, outspoken, opinionated, and strong-willed. In my mind, I was built more for the debate team than for home-ec. Built more to be the leader than to follow. Built more for greatness & achievement (I thought) in political office than for the quietly serving my family in the home. When I was in college, this all came to a head, and I found myself asking God, "WHY DID YOU MAKE ME THIS WAY?!?!?!?!? Why didn't you make me a man? Why do you tell me to 'keep a quiet heart', and to 'submit'?"

Essentially, I was asking precisely the same question that Paul wrote about in Romans 9:20:

...Who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'
Recently, I watched a documentary about the beginnings of feminism. I was struck by Elizabeth Cady Stanton's strong hatred for the weakness of her own gender. She could never please her father, whose valued son had died in a tragic accident, because she was not a man. She had all the "strength" a man was supposed to have, and yet, she was rejected by him for possessing the same strength he had wished for in a son. This lack of acceptance by her own father drove her to extreme lengths to seek approval as a woman from the nation, because she had not received affirmation as a woman from her father.

So many of us find ourselves in this position... particularly after decades of feminist dogma being drilled into our heads. Whether we express it this way or not, there is an underlying feeling that feminism is strong, and femininity is weak. Essentially, we as a generation of young women, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, have often wished ourselves to be men. And since we can't do that, we'll at least try to be seen as the SAME as men, to be treated as the SAME as man, and to do the SAME things that men do. We don't know why we're women... we don't know how to BE women (no one taught us-- it wasn't politically correct, and half of our mothers hadn't been taught by their mothers!!!)... we don't know what a woman is supposed to be... and often, we mistake that lack of knowledge for a lack of need to be a woman.

But we forget: there is a Potter. He intentionally crafted each of us for HIS own purposes. And we don't get to pick that purpose. He gives us a choice, to some degree, of whether or not to submit to His design and purpose. And I fear that many of us, as Christian women, are bucking His design and trying to decide that He was wrong in how He made us.

We try to "Christianize" the teachings of feminism, saying to the men around us, "anything you can do, I can do better"... we just try to cloak it in spiritual-sounding language. We try to do everything we see the women of the world doing: managing a business, managing our husbands, managing our wombs, all the while aiming to never being seen as subject to or weaker than anyone else.

But if we want to ever be content in our own "skin", we need to know what we were built for. Why did the Potter make us? What are His basic purposes for women? We can look to the Bible, and we can look to biology for clear, though perhaps not politically correct, answers.

(1) TO BE A HELPER & COMPANION & WIFE TO MAN (this was the purpose of the very first woman... she was created because it was not good for man to be alone, see 1 Cor. 11:9)
(2) TO BE A MOTHER (he built it into our very bodies!)

It will do us no good to argue with the Creator. We are not the same as men. He didn't create us to be so.

Whether or not it's "p.c.", we would all do well to remember why women were created-- to be a helper and wife, to be a mother, and to ultimately glorify God in our femininity. Instead of bucking against the design of the Potter and raising our fists to the heavens, asking God for an accounting of why He made us as He did, I believe we need to instead look at our design, and develop a love and appreciation for the wisdom and sovereignty of the Potter. It is our privilege to be useful to such a wise and perfect Potter. It should be our delight to submit to His plans for our lives... even if at first they rage against the message we've received from the culture.

Let us cast off the worldly philosophies that fill our heads with all kinds of lies about who we are, and who we ought to be, as women. Instead, let's look to the Potter, and embrace HIS purposes for our lives... laying down our lives to be used by Him as submissive and honorable wives, as faithful and biblical mothers, and as encouragers and teachers of the women who come behind us on the path of faith. Rather than striving to fulfill our own flawed perceptions of why we were made, let us glorify God THROUGH His design for our lives.


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