I have a dear friend (Gail) who is always trying to class me up. Mind you I’m grateful. Truly.
I remember the time Gail thought I was ready for Chicos. Apparently I wasn’t. Because the moment the two or three saleswomen who were tending to me turned their backs – I literally ran out of that store. I especially hated the no mirrors in the fitting rooms policy. Yes, you have to come out of the closet if you want to see what you look like in their clothes – and that’s when they pounce. They’ll bring you an accessory for your arms – your neck – your waist – crazy I tell you! And I’m pleased to report, I’ve never returned to a Chicos—even though I have several lovely pre-owned pieces of theirs.
I think something happened to us grown up women – perhaps it’s always been this way – and perhaps it took me becoming a grown up to see it – but here it is: We don’t think we can make a decision about the smallest thing unless we consult a professional. I don’t ever remember my mother having a decorator or personal shopper – perhaps she could have used one however when she self-upholstered our couch in a fabric that was totally hideous – and we teen children had to live with it for what seemed like an eternity. Nothing like shooting down my point before I get a chance to even make it!
When did it start? This need to have a “professional advisor” for everything?! Is it an age old problem or just a American female phenomenon in an over-indulgent, affluent society?
I just read this in Charles Krauthammer’s best selling book:
… Americans have come to believe that only an expert can teach them the correct way to, say, walk, or bend their knees or think well of themselves.
Now I’m not saying there’s not a place in our lives for great decorators – and I especially love it when they happen to be a close friend – but at the end of the day – its nice to have an opinion and be able to count on your own taste and wisdom to say whether or not you like something. I have a friend who insisted that I take down the wallpaper in my dining room. She was even willing to tear it down for free and help me put something in its place. But I love that wallpaper—even now as I can see it from where I am sitting. And I don’t want it torn down. See, I think too often we will convince ourselves that if one person – who is supposed to be the expert on such things (this friend is an excellent decorator) – doesn’t like it – then we aren’t supposed to like it either.
And that is what I’m talking about at the moment and what I want to take issue with. I’m truly not trying to throw every professional expert or life coach under the bus here. But those professionals are humans too – and they will not always be infallible in their advice.
What I want to do with this post is encourage every women out there to remember that …
You are an image bearer!
So, let’s start acting like image bearers. There is something innate in us – call it women’s intuition – call it a God-given-gift – call it wonderful and mysterious – but don’t not call it! Don’t squelch what you know in your heart to be true just because someone else has another opinion.
Wisdom is not just given to the overly educated or trained professional – wisdom comes from God. And he is lavish with it!
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6)
We may want to ask ourselves – where are we gaining our wisdom if not from God? Scary thought, eh? Eve tried to get her wisdom from eating a piece of fruit (Genesis 3:6). Are we gorging ourselves on things like People Magazine and Cosmopolitan – quizzing ourselves on everything from celebrities to sexuality in order to gain wisdom? If that is the case then perhaps we do need a life coach – just so they can tell us to “stop it.”
Lillian Barger wrote a very thought provoking book called Chasing Sophia. I read it several years ago – and there were certain passages that really stayed in my mind. Here’s a whole paragraph that I think is worth quoting:
“The contemporary woman’s ideal life not only includes the expected high-power career but also the pursuit of the perfect body and satisfying emotional life—an endeavor that requires an entire collection of experts to help her get everything she needs. Women are now big consumers of professional advice. (Witness the $150-an-hour personal coach to help you reach your life goals and a therapist who helps decipher your emotional resistance to success.) I don’t want to demonize professional guides, but it’s important to recognize that many more of us are paying therapists to help us pay attention to our lives at the very same time our everyday surroundings continue to sabotage their work. Suffering from twice the rates of depression as men, women are swimming in a sense of inadequacy, and professional “helpers” are there to soothe us. We hire life coaches, spiritual directors, psychotherapists [yikes! now it may appear I’m throwing my husband under the bus!] and personal trainers. Add innumerable self-help books, seminars, and the advice columns in most women’s magazines. We can’t get enough direction.”
That was Lillian. This is from the Bible:
You have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16)
And we need to watch ourselves that we aren’t throwing that away on the mind of the world – that mindset that tells us we need all these things to be satisfied or empowered. It does just the opposite! It makes me personally feel inadequate and stupid – and I hate feeling inadequate and stupid.
Here’s another consequence of all this hectic living – we no longer have time for one another. What ever happened to the girlfriend who could give you wise, Godly counsel? I think one of the main reasons why people go to therapists is because they have no one in their lives who will speak truth to them. That is downright sad!
So, before I throw any more people under this bus I’ve been creating here – I think I will take my own advice and clothe myself with the mind of Christ, give up on my pondering, and fall down on my knees and repent for my own hectic living. Repent for not bringing every thought captive to God first – or even last – as I go about my days. And live in such a way that makes me available to those who God calls me to minister.
I love the way Charles Krauthammer ends his chapter “Life by Manual,” so I’ll end with it too:
Woody Allen, the movie character, once said: I’ve had 17 years of psychotherapy—one more and I’m going to Lourdes. Times up, Woody. You’ve tried technique. Now get on that plane.
Now doesn’t that just bring it home!