The Argument: Can We Have It All?
Last week’s post started the argument of “can we or can’t we have it all?” I hope you gave it a lot of thought because this week I’m thinking about what is this great and wonderful “all?”
I suppose it depends on your age, dreams and even your prospects. When I was young, I thought I could do anything: be famous, rich or even just liked. When I got older, I began to think about having a family. Now that I’m of “a certain age,” I’m beginning to wonder how God can continue to use me.
In other words, the definition of “having it all” is fluid.
Women’s Lib & Feminism
It was the rallying cry of the women’s lib movement was that women could have all of the above, at the same time. Feminism has changed a good bit from the days when secretaries (not admins) were chased around the desk by their bosses. It began as an outcry of protest from women flooding into the workplace to help make ends meet. Staying at home with the children wasn’t an option (and still isn’t for some), so we began making inroads into a male-dominated world. Some of us were met with what would now be considered abuse in the form of dirty jokes and innuendo. Others did twice the work and watched their bosses get the praise and the pay raise.
Speaking of feminism, I heard that before Emma Watson consulted Gloria Steinem before accepting the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Women still want to be taken seriously. We’re still afraid of looking weak and vulnerable.
This is why the phrase, “having it all,” came into being.
The Cruel Joke: No, You Can’t
But it is a cruel joke.
Women worked all day then came home to work all night. The time and care needed to raise children suffered because there weren’t enough hours in the day. Something had to give. It was either the job, children, housework or health.
Or all of the above.
Today’s Changing Views
Public sentiment about “having it all” has changed. Public figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Madeline Albright have said, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Others, such as Anne-Marie Slaughter, was vilified when she said in Atlantic Monthly that women can’t have it all. Period. She still maintains that stand in spite of the outcry.
So what do we do? What’s a Christian woman to do?
The Biblical Way to Have It All?
Proverbs 31 describes a woman who makes and sells her own products outside the home. It says she rises before the sun and her lamp doesn’t go out at night. (Of course, she doesn’t go out at night either.)
Women in the Bible weren’t namby-pamby subservient house decorations. Deborah was a judge and prophetess. She led troops into battle, Jael killed the enemy in that same battle. Esther was a queen who risked her life for her people. Hannah gave birth to a son and gave him away to the temple as she promised. Because of her sacrifice and faithfulness, he became one of the greatest prophets of Israel. A Proverbs 31 woman is strong in heart, soul, mind and character.
As Proverbs 31:25-27 says,
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come [not afraid of the future]. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
And for this, verses 28-29 says,
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.'”
So how does a modern woman receive such praise? How can she do it all?
Look at the next-to-last verse of chapter 31:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
There it is. Our definition is all wrong. “Having it all” isn’t found on the covers of Cosmo or on the runways of Hollywood (unless He’s called you to be the voice of Christ in that industry). Having it all means loving God & doing what you can and are able to bless your family and your… Click To Tweet “Getting ahead” is not in the equation.
Have I forgotten about those who don’t/can’t have any of it? Never fear, I’ll talk to you next week.