Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet: Part 5

As we did for the last several Tuesdays (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4),
Molly at My Three Pennies
Jenna at Proletarian
Karen at Roses and Tea
Sal at Stand up and Walk and I are reflecting on Debi Pearl's new book, Created to Be His Help Meet (which you can order here).

Chapter Nine: Finding Your Life in His

This is a short chapter, but it's a wake-up call to those of us--even we who are ardent anti-feminists--who are still clinging to vestiges of the bitter fruit of the "Me Generation." Actually, because we are Eve's daughters and products of the Fall, we all struggle with our flesh: What about ME? What about what I think we should do? Why does HE get to be "in charge?" (The latter "He" can be directed by us at God or our husbands, by the way.) There is a part, large or small, in all of us that persuades us to think we know far better about any given situation than that guy we happened to get married to. But what is the reality?

Debi relates a situation between a man who left accounting to be a dairy farmer and his "suffering" wife, who wishes he were still at his old, responsible job and not out living some crazy cow-tending dream; she laments the change in their lifestyle to Debi, whom I can only assume she thought would be sympathetic (!). Debi writes:

"Adam commenced his rule of the planet before God created Eve to help him in his life's goals. Adam didn't need to get Eve's consent. God gave her to Adam to be HIS helper, not his partner. She was designed to serve, not to be served, to assist, and not to veto his decisions....God made us women to be help meets, and it is in our physical nature to be so. It is our spiritual calling and God's perfect will for us. It is the role in which we will succeed in life, and it is where we will find our very greatest fulfillment as a woman and as a saint of God" (emphasis hers).

Oh, I am smarting for the feminists who read that! It even shocks ME! But are you, am I, bold enough to argue with God? What is Debi saying that isn't true? Yes, in some senses we were created as 'partners' in life, and the woman is worthy of respect, admiration, trust and love as a fellow heir of salvation and child of the Living God. But Debi's point here is not about worth, but about authority. Are we making ourselves a kind of Executive Board that our CEO husbands must go through to get anything done? Are we the "committee of one" he must answer to?

This short chapter is a challenge to us to redefine our understanding of our role and purpose, both in our marriages and in our lives, for the rest of our days. Consider this: the end of this road called Life is forked and ends in everlasting Joy with God, or eternal torment in Hell. What matters most is doing the will of God. His Kingdom is the Pearl of Great Price and the only lasting inheritance. Why should we moan and wail about who He has made us to be? Is it not better to submit and be molded into the image of Jesus Christ, the God-Man who came in the form of a servant?

Chapter Ten: Reactions Define You

This may well be my favorite chapter of the book, because it hit home so powerfully for me personally. It held a mirror to my spiritual face, and my face was marred. I need surgery. Debi writes,

"Reactions are not premeditated actions springing from our best motives, carefully thought out, planned, and weighed. They are emotional responses, breaking loose like wild horses when we feel hurt, cheated, used, or misunderstood. They are often retaliatory, sometimes condemning, confrontational, or adversarial, and eventually vengeful and punishing. Your reactions break you loose from your social inhibitions and manifest who you really are inside and what you really believe at your core level" (emphasis hers).

Anyone else starting to sweat a bit there? Is it just me? But Debi provides some help here for those of us who struggle with everything she wrote above: we must manage our thought life, and this Biblical thinking will lead to purity in heart and action, by the power of the Spirit in us:

"You can control your future reactions considerably by changing the way you think before you are pressed into a response. The way you think every day determines the way you feel, and it will determine how you will react in stressful situations....The heart is filled with thoughts, and it is out of that reservoir of thoughts that the mouth speaks words of praise or bitterness. When the pressure is on, and the dam of reservation breaks loose, you cannot control what you say, because you will speak from the abundance of your heart--from the 40000 thoughts you had that day, and all the days before" (emphasis mine, italics hers).

Some Scripture to corroborate her points:

Luke 6:45
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

James 3:10-12
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

All of this ties in to the central message of the book: we women were designed to be helpers to our husbands. We can either live our lives as crabby, nagging, inexplicably angry harpies, or we can submit to God and watch Him transform us into joyful, grateful, malleable, servants of the Most High God who, loving Him because He first loved us, are willing to deny our flesh and find out what pleases the Lord. He made us, and He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). It's not about deciding to be perfect and then never messing up for the rest of our lives (or I'd be in big trouble). It's about submitting to God and watching Him work. We KNOW it's His will, so we just have to say, "Okay, I am willing to be who You designed me to be. I know nothing, and You everything. Mold me."

Are you willing?

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