I think often about that woman in the Bible, the intimidating woman hanging out in Proverbs 31, the model of a perfect woman. She wears all the hats. She does all the things.
But one thing she does well, one thing is her priority: her home, husband and children. Her other pursuits fall around that.
“She looks well to the ways of her home, she is not idle…” Prov. 31:27
Somewhere along the way, a few generations back, the priority of homes, children and husbands took a backseat to promised fulfillment. Women became lured by the sirens of career, accolades and accomplishment, and the daily, hard, sleeve-rolling work became more mundane and distasteful in light of the exciting, interesting activity available. Women became distracted from their families because, quite frankly, family work is lackluster.
That was disconcerting enough.
But something looms dangerously familiar, now, even in homes where for a time, women had returned as stout, home-builders. I’m seeing it over the Internet, I’m hearing it from young mothers around me: “This job is hard. Too hard, in fact, and I don’t think I’m where I’m supposed to be. And Jesus would want me to be happy, so that settles it.”
We have an old problem with a new enemy.
“Because frankly, I’d rather surf the Internet than clean my floors. And while I’m surfing the Internet, that child who needs me? He becomes an irritation, not a ministry.”
And it may be far more complicated than my black and white conclusion, but I think an unsuspected enemy has played a huge role in luring women, again, from embracing, Proverbs 31-style, the duties of home and family.
(Hiding from tomatoes now…)
Don’t go crazy on me. I love the Internet. (Actually, it’s more of a love/hate.) I run a home business from the Internet. I’ve met new, wonderful friends from the Internet. I research, learn, collect educational tools and look up recipes on the Internet. I diagnose sickness, watch spectacular documentaries and use the thesaurus on the Internet. My daughter is learning to play guitar, for free, and my son runs an art business on the Internet. I shop, compare prices, saving gas and money, print business cards and keep in touch on the Internet. The Internet has opened up possibilities never before imagined and I’m so thankful for this tool!
But its lure is distracting us. See, the Internet is very exciting. There are fun Pinterest ideas that at least make me feel crafty. There are articles galore and blogs that help me grow. There are fabulous pictures, funny videos and of course, a whole community on Facebook where we not only get to keep up with everything that’s going on, but we get to project our goings-on onto other people, and for the first time, for some, feel validated, important.
The Internet is addictingly f.u.n.
And this excitement does something terrible:
the same thing other distractions in history have done to our fore-mothers (Days of Our Lives, General Hospital–yeah, those were our mom’s escapes)–it makes our children, our husbands and our daily work boring, tedious and frustrating.
This excitement is why your children annoy you and homemaking is boring.
Because frankly, I’d rather surf the Internet than clean my floors. And while I’m surfing the Internet, that child who needs me? He becomes an irritation, not a ministry. “Just a minute.” Or worse, the irritation in my voice when he simply asked a question. Yeah, you know.
If I’m feeling down, the Internet is there to take my mind off of it. And if I feel I’m failing at child-training, I can post stuff on Facebook that looks like I’m not, and for a moment, I might believe it.
I can escape. Be entertained. Forget. Put off. Avoid work. Wave my children away. Feed a vast cavern that yearns to be filled–but only contentment in Christ can really fill.
You’re not alone.
If this hurts, you’re not alone. The Lord is dealing deeply with me about how to use this incredible tool that has potential to absolutely destroy all I hold dear. And I’m thinking of my own children, and how what plagues one generation, tends to be heightened and become so familiar we don’t recognize the damage, in the next.
I want to enjoy the simplicity of my life, complete with the work I don’t like and the routine that is not Pinterest-worthy.
I want to be in tune with my children so that when they need me, I can answer with patience and readiness. I want to be ready to hear my husband when he comes home and show him I’m fully his.
I don’t want the pseudo-fulfillment of the Internet to convince me my life isn’t enough and my family is secondary.
I pray this for us all. And I challenge you older women: let’s get behind the younger mamas and cheer them on, help them stay the course and see the purpose in their prosaic lives.
(My thoughts on this subject have been newly inspired by a fabulous book, Present, by Keri Lamar. Get it!)