Sunday, December 1, 2013

Act like a man

When we hear of a woman acting like a man, we generally picture a woman denying feminine characteristics and attempting and failing to replicate masculine characteristics that she shouldn't attempt. Vox's post at Alpha Game, Life isn't personal coupled with what I've already written in Turning the other cheek has prompted me to explore further how we, as women, can act like a man when it comes to honor, for this is a virtue that is innate within masculine men and found rarely in women though it is a virtue that should be possessed or at a minimum, replicated. How can we train out of ourselves the natural inclination to take things so personally and how can we train ourselves to respond honorably to having been wronged or behave honorably when we wrong others accidentally or out of ignorance?

Markku left this comment on a previous post on Alpha Game that further highlights our challenge:
My working theory (of women in general) is that they are by nature so insecure that whatever activity they are doing at the moment becomes the feather that breaks the camel's back - the ONE failure that would supposedly make everyone think that the weight of evidence is now that she is a failure as a human being.

Now, obviously a SUCCESS in it doesn't give them credit for one free failure in the future; next time it's again that one final feather. Because it is an emotional judgement, not a rational one. 
 Why are we so naturally insecure?

I've been struggling with a situation that happened over six months ago. It was an inappropriate and rude comment said about RLB, in our home, to our children. His response to it has been very different than mine. He saw it as an excellent learning opportunity for our children. He doesn't want to have to correct all of the wrongs in the world for them. He wants them to learn how to deal with these things by drawing on biblical truth. He felt no need to address what was said with our children or confront the individual.

I, however, have had an excruciatingly hard time letting it go.  I've had a revelation about how I must view it and I've realized I've been wrong in how I was talking about it and how I was dealing with it. And in realizing I've been wrong, and learning from it, there is a secondary issue I've been having which is what Markku had to say: this failure indicates "the weight of evidence is now that she is a failure as a human being."

I write primarily on wifely submission and the headship of husbands in marriage. When I realize I have failed at something I regularly write about and give advice about, that failure can be overwhelming. For the men: if you believe women judge others harshly, you should see what we do to our own selves in our heads.

Now, no worries, I indeed know I'm not a failure. But my brain certainly took me through that thought process for a very brief time. Which left me to again contemplate, "what is this all about?" 

RLB's reaction to the situation above illustrates a man who responds honorably to those who wrong him and his calm temperament indicates a low time preference. He is a very patient man who knows that these things all work themselves out long term. I on the other hand am prone to a high time preference and fear.

The fear, I've identified, was the chance of our children believing the words said to them. I know, if RLB had no fear of this, why should I, right? Because I wasn't properly in submission to him, nor was I honoring his headship in this situation.

I was also extremely humbled by my own daughter during one of our discussions about the situation. I asked her what her response would be should something like this happen to her. What a blessing to hear her say, "It wouldn't be up to me." RLB was right to not intervene at the time and I was wrong to let it upset me and take it personally. Though I failed in my heart on how I handled it (I did follow RLB's lead at the time and did not confront the person or say anything about it), my daughter has been paying attention and the lesson she learned was to follow her husband's lead in these situations.

I am blessed to know several women who are excellent at turning the other cheek, behaving honorably, and responding honorably when they have been wronged. One thing I've noticed they have in common is submission. That and I compare their best to my worst and probably don't know the whole story.

The revelation I had came after reading again what commenter, Res Ipsa, said to me:
A women has only two people that she is to serve, 1. her God 2. her husband. Incidentally God has proclaimed that she is to serve her husband and has made her choices clearer by doing so. Never get distracted by that. God has given you a husband, please him and God is pleased with you. Your service to your mate IS service to your God. Believing anything else is believing a lie.
I have said very similar words as these. Yet I did not apply these words to the situation I was struggling with. It was only after I prayed about the situation and in seeking the answer read these words again. (Thank you, Res, by the way).

For my situation, it has been revealed, that it does not matter what this person thinks, and in reality, it can not matter what my children think if I am to serve my husband, concern myself with pleasing him alone and know that this is how I please God.

Could it be that women can overcome their insecurity, train themselves to behave and think honorably, and develop a low time preference by properly submitting themselves to their husbands in all things?

I will be keeping this at the forefront of my mind and contemplate it the next time I am tempted to take something personally. In this I will act like a man and I will do so by submitting to my husband. As Vox said in his post:
To take everything personally, from a sporting defeat to a minor accident, is to be fundamentally unmasculine. The fact that the interests of others often run contrary to our own does not mean that they have anything to do with us personally. Don't be afraid to apologize or to accept apologies. Learn to leave the spirit of opposition on the playing field and save your wrath for the wicked, for those whose enmity is specific and personal and temporally unlimited.
It is so easy for me to know that submission to my husband is the right thing, it is written as such. What continues to be fascinating is in having the why answered for me in every day, real life examples. It should continue to humble us, ladies, how very well God knows us and gave us specific instructions, as wives, so that we may overcome any negative natural inclinations we have and live a life that pleases Him.

4 comments:

  1. "How can we train out of ourselves the natural inclination to take things so personally and how can we train ourselves to respond honorably to having been wronged or behave honorably when we wrong others accidentally or out of ignorance?"

    This is good to learn. Remember when David is dancing in his undies and Michal doesn't understand he is doing it for God, and she takes it personally? Her punishment was not reproducing. And this was a princess too.

    I think a good example of an honorable woman is Ruth. We don't know much about her first husband, but we know she is honorable in following her mother unlike Orpah. She is honorable to her mother, learns from her to be honorable to her future husband. She was honorable to God and God was honorable to her, and her descendants would become the most celebrated Kings of Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  2. SD,

    You are welcome.

    I can't remember but I think it was CS Lewis who wrote about the mundane things in life being where God wanted us to serve Him. Very few are called to be missionaries to pigmies or Mother Teresa, etc. We all are called to love those around us as and be Christ to them. In marriage being Christ may be making your man a pie because its Tuesday. It's hard to see baking as service to God but it is. The same thing applies to men as well. Leading our family is obeying God. Doing the dishes or helping out really is storing up treasure in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  3. SD,

    I struggle with this a lot and I have discovered that, for me, it comes down to something I've seen Vox and Rollo write about a lot. Women love to be indignant. It comes from our love of drama. Even when we hate drama, we still seem to dwell on it so part of us does seek it out.

    It's incredibly hard to let go of this in our heart, but as you said, outwardly submitting is the first step. Over time, I've found that I have been able to greatly decrease the time that I spend being indignant. In the past I would hold on to a perceived insult for days. Depending on the insult I can now let it go in a matter of minutes to a matter of hours (not great but still a vast improvement).

    I think this has to do with how we are wired and is another natural inclination that we are to overcome. Though, these days I try to not think of these things in term of the masculine because I think we need to go back to how these can be feminine virtues. My husband and I were us talking about something similar a few nights ago watching the movie 300. He mentioned the character of these women and I like the sound of that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Act like a man"

    I say, to women, "Act lie a woman" for once.

    ReplyDelete