Friday, January 31, 2014

I am Audacious and Ambitious and That's Okay {Part 1: I think}

Photo taken from

My mom showed this picture by Tony Stomberg when I was young and said it reminded her of me. Fierce Grace. I have adopted that as what I want to be. I have ever been intense, all-in, guts and glory, no holds barred. The other word I've adopted for my life is Audacious.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary online, here are some definitions for Audacious.
Audacious: 1. intrepidly daring: adventurous 3. marked by originality and verve 
But here's the deal.

Everywhere I turn, "The Church" and Christians have this idea of what godly femininity is. How a woman ought to act - especially a godly woman. Demure. Follow the rules. Being a homemaker is the penultimate calling. All those Christian magazines and homeschool toys had only frilly options for girls. 

But I don't fit that. 

And it used to cause me endless amounts of stress. I tried to fit into the tight stays of what I was told how godly women acted and did and said. But then I'd just bust out and give myself a mud bath and eat grass (actual occurrences). 

The majority of people in Christian circles told me that girls are not naturally ambitious. That link goes to Matt Walsh's post about Stay-At-Home moms not owing the world an explanation. I was cheering him on - at first. SAHMs don't owe the world an explanation. They do deserve more respect. They do have a glorious, hard job.

But then he lost me when he started going on about how other jobs don't matter (what the what?!) and how girls are fooled into not following their 'feminine instincts' and how are girls are not naturally ambitious and how what he claims as "feminine qualities" won't serve you well in any job other than being at home.

No. No, no no!!

This is not necessarily a rebuttal post, but that part made me angry. It was published at the wrong time and felt like a kick while I was down. Because my whole life that's what I've been told. Stay at home, play dolls, go shopping, do girl things. Girls are supposed to do this, not that. Being a stay at home mom is a woman's highest calling and wanting to do things outside the home is Dirty Stinky Feminism and Unnatural and Harmful to your kids. You can't be a good mom if you don't stay home. Staying at home full time should be your greatest ambition.

The problem is that while most girls might be like that, not all of them are. Some of us actually do not possess the natural abilities to be homemakers. While my peers were playing dolls or house and dreaming of being mommies, I was running barefoot in the dirt, pretending to fight and save the world and bleed dramatically into the earth. I was having adventures. I was reading books. When I did play with dolls, they were daring orphans who had to escape evil orphanage masters against all odds.

It's not that there is anything at all wrong with being a stay at home mom or in wanting that or enjoying that. It is an absolutely glorious calling. If that is what fulfills you, I applaud you loudly. My mom homeschooled us and was a stay at home mom and I appreciate that about her. She is amazing.

And more than likely, I will homeschool my kids. But I have to ask: What is so wrong with wanting something outside of that? Why *can't* I juggle some sort of non-housework and raising children? Why do we all have to have the same dreams because we are female?

Because in my first six months at this gig, I have been ever so slowly asphyxiating.

There seems to be no room in the church for the outlier females. For the audacious ones. For the loud ones. For the ones that don't fit into neat little boxes and want to do things that only boys are supposed to do.

This is Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings.
This chick is my hero.
I think this picture came from But really it came from google.

And do you know what? That's ridiculous.

Because I believe in a creative God, a God who painted humanity with every colour and a wide brush. Look at nature. He made snowflakes so that no two are alike. And how many snowflakes have there been since the beginning of time?! And those are just snowflakes. Imagine the thought and creativity He put into people! So what makes Christians come in and say women ought to be like such and such and have ambitions like xyz?

There are certainly Biblical principles that apply. I'm not even saying that women should not submit to husbands (though, there are other places in the Bible that call for everyone to submit to each other just as we are all to submit to God the Father so technically it's not just the gals that are called to submit). Certainly, all Christians - male and female - are to act in mercy and gentleness and self control. 

But the God who made the peaceful quiet of snow also made the raucous glory of a hurricane. 

And all that I'm saying is that maybe women aren't supposed to all fit into this one mold. Maybe we aren't all supposed to act and think and say the same things. Maybe there's not a narrow, approved range of variety, but if we stray from the approved palette, that's bad.

Maybe there's a new way to act, and it's okay. Maybe we can be mamas and not all do it in the same way - and maybe some women aren't called to marry or reproduce at all. 

See, according to the Myers-Briggs personality testing, I am an ENFP. Apparently, only a teensy tiny population fits that type.

My strengths are not conducive to running and maintaining a home.

I'm a creative, an idea-spinner, a dreamer. Details make me break out in hives. Monotony kills me inside.

So what am I to do? I had a spiraling day of self doubt the other day. You can ask anyone who's ever felt this way, there are few things in life as demoralizing as knowing you are not equipped for a job and yet everyone thinking and expecting you to excel at and enjoy it.

I sunk into a pit. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to throw in the towel and cry (okay I did cry).

But the Lord reached into the pit and lifted me up.

The first thing that He told me is that when we are weak, HE is STRONG. He is my strength when I cannot do it. And He will work through me to do what is set before me now and give me the grace and the strength to survive the day to day.

The other thing, though, is that He made me exactly the way I am. He made my brain to function in this way and that's okay. That's part of His plan. And I don't have to be like everyone else and be fulfilled by what everyone is fulfilled by. Maybe He made me to be audacious.

All this to say, I'm inspired. The Breath of Life has breathed fresh life into my heart. I'm starting to research and develop my own style of fulfilling my calling as a mama. This is where I am, and God in his infinite wisdom and humor, made me - the girl who thought she would be the last or the never to be married and raise babies - among the first of my peers to take that plunge. This was not my dream - but it has become a part of my dream.

And He did it knowing how He made me. He did it knowing that it would refine me and teach me. And He will give me the wisdom that I beg for, the grace and knowledge of how to do this and find joy. Whether that means I eventually work outside the home or not. He also gave me a supportive life partner who loves the way I was created and has offered to support me no matter what.

But for now, He has given me peace and grace to co-currently work on other creative pursuits and passions while I'm at home. I'm writing a novel. I'm going to start drawing again. And if that means I get a bit behind on the dishes, so be it.

Because on a grand scale, I do like being home with my son. I look forward to the day when I get to guide him on educational pursuits and help him discover life and I want to be there for him. But I believe moms can do that even if they are not full-time at home. And is it so outrageous and blasphemous that I would desire to pursue other things?

The biggest, most freeing thing is that I do not have to conform to others' expectations of a 'good, Christian' stay at home mom. 

I can find joy in being a mama and I can do it in my own loud, creative, fierce-grace way.

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