Sunday, December 12, 2004

John Eldredge, in his book "Wild At Heart", talks briefly (in a book primarily about issuses men face) about what he calls, "the question at the core of every woman". It's the question women start struggling with as little girls. Sometimes we don't even know the question is there; we have been so afraid to face the truth of it's answer that we bury it underneath work, family, church service, and other good things. All women want to know, "Am I beautiful?". The question takes on many other forms such as, "Do you love me?", "Do you want me?", "Am I worthy of pursuing?" but it all boils down to beauty.
This question has resurfaced in my life. I've dealt with it off and on after first having it pin pointed through "Wild At Heart". When it comes up, I'm usually pretty good at burying it with one or all of the things listed above because it's just too painful to deal with. And when I think about it I feel like a crazy person being pulled by two equally strong opinions: the world and God's Word. Is it heresy to say that the world can be as strong as the truth of scripture? Probably. I know it's not really true, but it feels true. How can I believe that I am my Beloved's and His desire is for me, when I am daily bombarded by messages that tell me I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough, strong enough, thin enough, rich enough, stylish enough, pretty enough...the list goes on.
I want to believe that I'm beautiful. And not just in the eyes of friends who know and love me. But by strangers I pass by, acquaintances at school, family members that criticise, and hopefully one day a man. I'm not defining beauty strictly by appearances, although that is an aspect, but I want to know that I am worth knowing. That I am worth time and effort by others. That there is something magnetic and attractive about me that people want to get to know. The irony is that, that beauty, those qualities come from knowing who I am in Christ. Knowing that I am my Beloved's. Knowing that I am desireable enough not just for a man, but for the Son of Man to die for my life. Why do I continue to seek and crave the approval of man when I already have all the approval I'll ever need from man's Creator. In the words of Eddie Izzard, "It makes no sense".
I don't know where a solution to this problem will come from. No doubt more time in Scripture and in God's presence would help. But those things have been on the increase in my life recently and I'm still questioning. Is there something in us that actually needs man's approval to feel the truth of God's approval realized? It sounds ridiculous. Why would God make us like that, if anyone knows how fickle men are He should. Can't he just like put some sort of stamp or seal of approval on us, or better yet some how bridge the gap between what our heads know about the truth of His love and what our hearts feel?
Along with all of this thinking, the issue of my standards for a future husband have come up. I have high standards, unashamedly. I don't want to marry down, and contrary to what a wise pastor told me last week, I don't believe that I have to. But I have an overwhelming fear that I will compromise. I'm afraid that I'll get to a certain point in life and be so desperate for companionship, marriage, family, and intimacy that I'll lower my standards. I'm afraid of marrying a "nice guy", someone I have things in common with, someone who will be faithful and take care of me, someone who doesn't rock the boat, someone who is just a good friend but not a passionate lover. Is that too much to ask for today? I want a man that is intelligent yet humble, hilariously funny but serious when appropriate, someone who is extroverted and people oriented and works to pull those qualities out of me, someone who I can argue with and disagree with but still know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me deeply, a man who not only thinks I'm beautiful but tells me so even when we're old and wrinkled. I need a man who is strong willed enough to manage my strong willed personality, I need a man who is just as passionate as I am about seeing the dreams God has placed in my heart come to fruition, I need a man who drinks and swears and watches the Simpsons and can make my grandma think he's as innocent as a lamb. Is any of this even possible? Should I lower the bar? What's so bad about being a "nice guy" anyway. What does it matter if my husband stops pursuing me after we're married if he's faithful, reliable, and stable? I know the answers to these questions are going to have to come before I can ever embark upon any type of serious relationship because I don't want them to be answered by a man. I want them to be answered by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by a man.
This is all a bit much for a sick girl who has to sing at 9 in the morning. Since when does a sweating fever accompany a head cold? Pray that I can squeak out some kind of on pitch noise.
And if anyone ever wants to try an hash some of this stuff out with me I would be more than happy to talk in circles with you. Since that's usually what ends up happening. =)
Good night.