26 March 2012

"Calling somebody else fat...

...won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you."

-Cady Herron, Mean Girls

A while back, I spent some wonderful time over coffee with an intelligent, hard-working, bright, shining young woman.
Our time together and uplifting conversation prompted me to write this letter to the collective female population as a whole:

Dear Women,

Can we please stop being so mean to and judgmental of one another? Isn't it hard enough being a woman without having the rest of your gender criticize and question your every life choice?

It doesn't matter if you're your single, single with children, married with no children, married with children, work outside the home, stay at home, vaccinate, don't vaccinate, public school, private school, homeschool, or whatever. You are valuable. You may be your teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or 100s - it doesn't matter - you bring something of worth to the table. God thinks so, therefore, so do I.

We all make choices to the best of our abilities and ideally with the direction of God. And just because we've moved to a different place in life, that doesn't mean that everyone living in the place we once dwelled has it so easy, or has "no idea how hard it is being/doing __________ ." It's so easy to forget what life was like before the stage we're currently in.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul addressed this issue to women in Titus 2:3-5

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

And while this verse specifically addresses some issues that surrounded the day-to-day life of women in the New Testament church circa A.D. 63, I get the impression that it includes timeless truths:
1. We shouldn't be slanderers
2. We need to love
3. Self-control is important
4. Purity is key
5. Kindness is imperative
6. Obedience to the Word of God is crucial
7. We're all learning from one another

Am I perfect in this regard? Absolutely not. My inner Mean Girl rears her ugly little head more than I like to admit. Usually when I'm tired and feeling sorry for myself for _____________ . (Ambiguous much?)

Then I have a choice. Do I call/text my good friend to spout off because I know she'll empathize? Do I stew and complain to my husband? Do I type and then hastily delete nasty "to-whom-it-may-concern" Facebook status updates? Maybe.

Should I? Absolutely not. Why? Because it doesn't help me grow into the Christian/Woman/Wife/Mother/Friend/ Daughter/ Sister/Pastor's Wife/Women's Ministry Director/Bible Study Leader/Mentor/Etc. that I know the Lord wants me to be.

Ladies, we're raising daughters. If not literally, then we're examples, by default of our gender, to the daughters around us. Do we want them to be strong, kind, compassionate, gracious, thoughtful, selfless women of resolve and purpose? Then I think we need to be vibrant, unyielding examples of this.

Mean Girls don't just go away. They grow up into Mean Women.

Someone Still Learning This Lesson

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