Womanhood Without a Checklist

Wouldn’t it be so much better if we put up just a little more law to keep women in line?

Whether you’re prone to jump on the hamster wheel and chase down the unattainable goal of perfection, or more like me, and find yourself laying down on the hamster wheel and being trampled by the more motivated hamsters, you’ve probably experienced the shame of not achieving all that you feel you ought.

 

There is comfort in a checklist.

Even though I’m not a particularly organized person, I’ve got to admit that it’s nice to know what’s expected of me. Whether it’s a job description, an agenda for a meeting, or a short to-do list, it’s always preferable to have some parameters so that I’m not just making furtive stabs in the dark.

But for me, checklists have a bit of a dark side. Sometimes, they reach beyond the boundaries of a helpful tool and become a type of prison. A shame-filled evidence of how much we’re notaccomplishing.

Whether you’re prone to jump on the hamster wheel and chase down the unattainable goal of perfection, or more like me, and find yourself laying down on the hamster wheel and being trampled by the more motivated hamsters, you’ve probably experienced the shame of not achieving all that you feel you ought.

Especially if you’re a woman.

Wonderwomanhood

That’s not to say that men don’t have a proclivity towards shame-filled checklists. They do. But I’m more intimately acquainted with the woman-list  — I’ve made it before and checked it twice.

The list I’m most familiar with is Proverbs 31. There have been innumerable Bible studies, books, talks, and motivational posters that proclaim this woman to be the pinnacle of biblical femininity. Those few verses have become the ultimate checklist, particularly if we’ve adopted a view of the Bible that cages biblical womanhood in just a few short verses.

I’ve referenced Proverbs 31 a few times before, but it bears mentioning again.

As Wendy Alsup explains in “Is The Bible Good For Women,” the Proverbs 31 woman isn’t a daily standard we must rise to.

We need to understand how to read and apply this genre in order to fully appreciate and understand Proverbs 31. This will free us from the misguided way this chapter is sometimes used to demoralize women with often unattainable standards.

Proverbs is a book of wisdom, which we generally understand  — until we get to that last chapter.

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