Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Housewives Analysis

I finished reading the book this morning. The authors make some good points about depending on God, finding contentment and the fact that "women's work" isn't lesser work.

However, I don't find much practical advice in getting from malcontent to content. Just that I should be there. Or maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.

They dispel the necessity of finding a block of time daily to spend with God. On its face, I find that to be poor advice. I don't know if I can/would seek the Lord in bites. I find spending that block of time is a necessary part of my day, Well, only if I want my day to go well. When I start the day off with the Lord, it seems that my patience goes a little further and I'm more focused. I'm more kind and I can find joy in my "hamster wheel" tasks. I believe the Lord understands when we've been up 13 times a night with the baby and then had another one of our blessings throw up, as happened to one of the authors. I don't find it to be a "mandate". However, it's something that acts as a blessing and an encouragement as I go through my day.

There are days I don't spend time with the Lord. But before I just decide I'm "too busy," I need to evaluate my lifestyle. When my laziness becomes a habit preventing me from rising early, then maybe my guilt is actually conviction for a misuse and poor stewardship of my time. But if in the execution of caring for my children, I need sleep because I have a nursing baby, that's another thing altogether, and I believe the Lord is there through it. But we can't expect to survive on "bites" while we have children at home.

One thing I like is a quote from page 64:

We must remember that when we view other women-- other families-- we are only outsiders looking in at the part of life they are willing to show us. Or perhaps, in the case of the unfortunate parent with the "crashing and burning" toddler, we see them on a bad day. We can only see a small percentage of what real life is like for them. We can't see the whole picture, nor are we invited to. Our own families and our own lives should keep us plenty busy without the need to speculate about the ups and downs of others. (Emphasis mine.)

I'm not going to live my life from a list. I'm certainly not going to depend on the Stacy McDonalds and the Jennie Chanceys of the world to dictate to me what I should be doing as a wife and mother. I accept their book for what it is: an opinion and nothing more. I stand by my opinion that God has a plan for me and is refining me.

I'm okay with that.


shannon said...

I definitely need the contentment they talk about so maybe I will pick up the book. Regarding the lack of practical advice, there were a couple of speakers at the conference this year that seemed to have some good how-to's. I think you were in one session with me.

Since I haven't read the book, I may be talking out of turn but I know I felt "less than" for years because I struggled to get up before all the children and devote a significant amount of time for a quiet time. One of my children used to wake up at 5:30 every morning and I don't function well until 7:00. I first heard the idea of having a quiet time when and how you could a few years ago and it was a big relief. Talk about a weight off. It's just another way that what works for one might not work for another and sometimes what works now for one won't work the same in a few months or years. Being flexible is huge for all of us in this season of life and allowing each other to be flexible is a huge blessing of friendship. I am more of "bite" person. My thinking is, at least I'm getting something versus nothing. However, I do look forward to the day when I can sit down for an hour or so with no interruptions. I do acknowledge that if laziness is the culprit then that is just a sin issue that has to be dealt with.

I really like that quote from the book. It is easy to assume we are seeing the whole picture, especially with our closest friends. I am constantly finding out new things about my closest friend. It doesn't make me love her less, just reminds me that all is not always what it seems.

Keep reading - I like hearing what you are learning. I am using you as my filter.

Georgia said...

Let's not talk about the conference!! That trip was not about me at all and realizing that point was hard. It was about Brian, the benefit for him (and ultimately me) was tremendous. I guess I could order the CDs of the sessions I missed, but it's likely they would repeat what I already know to do: Focusing and do the things I already know to do. I have not mastered that yet. There isn't going to be a better answer than sucking it up and doing the things I know need to be done and realize that IT'S NOT ABOUT ME, it never was, and serving my family is an honor. If I want to be more Christ-like, it's about service to others. This book hammers that point hard.

Before you read, be warned--they make a very big point in addressing women who believe they "need" time away from their families. They don't think we're deprived if we don't have time to ourselves. In fact, what they say exactly is this:

"Please understand there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these things [having a massage, visiting a spa or having a pedicure], as long as we understand that we don't need them to be content or healthy and that we aren't somehow deprived if we don't get them. There are many ways we can relax or enjoy ourselves when God gives us opportunity, but to feverishly pursue solace in worldly leisure and personal pleasure is to run to an empty comforter."

They go on to say that their point is to cause an honest evaluation of our thinking, which in my opinion is always good. We will always benefit from a deep, penetrating gaze inward.

What I will probably do is let this book seep into me for a while. I'll pray that I'll have an open mind and an open spirit and then I'll read it again. Then I might be receptive to those things I am having a hard time swallowing now.

I think there is a time for "God bites". I also think there is a time for the Full Meal Deal. It's probably not a good idea to think that either one is all there is to it.

All that to say, I had no quiet time this morning, even though last night, I fully intended to. I did have a conversation with God in the shower and I have felt Him with me today.

I think the key to this book may be keeping an open heart and mind and watching for God to move and make mandates instead of accepting the interpretations of well-meaning people. Myself included. The Lord is growing me and teaching me so much. It's hard to think that someone like me is actually worth the effort.

Jeana said...

Hi, Georgia! Thank you for your sweet comment this morning.

In some of the churches I've attended, the daily quiet time was touted as the end all be all of the Christian walk, as though my entire relationship with God hung on whether or not I had a daily quiet time. And it had to be first thing in the morning, and it must be uninterrupted. I think the authors were trying to free us from that dogma. When you have several young children, it is unlikely that you will be able to pull it off as described. I think they would say that time with God is very important, but that we shouldn't put all these rules around it, and then feel that our relationship with God is somehow less-than because out QT was interrupted by a dirty diaper or a hungry baby.

It sounds like you already have a healthy, balanced attitude about your quiet time, but I think they were speaking more to the woman who doesn't.

Georgia said...


You are probably right. I remember joining a small Bible study when I moved to this town and every week when we met, we had to raise our hands to report how many days we had read our Bible. The purpose was for "accountability" but I never felt anything but condemned, even though I was told, "That's okay! Only reading God's Holy Word one day this week is okay. High five, sister!" No one ever asked me why I wasn't getting it done, or did I have a question or a problem.

I did drop out of that study...