Submission and my true self

>> Thursday, December 6, 2007

I attended a women's Christmas brunch at a local church yesterday morning. It was the culmination of our 3 month Bible study on the book of Proverbs and this morning the author of the study guide we used came to speak to our group of about 200+ women while we ate pastries and fruit. As a friend and I were heading back from the buffet to our table, I commented to her that I felt very out of place. I had my wet hair in pig-tails and was wearing an old pair of brown cords with tennis shoes. A last minute shower and the season's first big snow could be blamed for my lack of style this morning, but really that is how I dress most of the time. Most of the other women there were much more "put-together." A nice sweater, classy clothes, every hair in place. I can sympathize with my bloggy-friend Drea who recently went to an event and felt a little under-dressed. I definitely felt that way yesterday morning.
As I am sitting at my table feeling a little insecure about my ultra-casual look, I hear the speaker make the following statement: "We as women might not have as many issues with the concept of submission if we felt secure about who we really are and what our true self looks like." Hmmmm. Interesting. I have never before connected the topic of submission with how much or how little I am in touch with my true self. I can see how that statement could be true. I don't know that I have "issues" with submission at all, but I guess that depends on how you define the word.
Submission, as in I stay home popping out kids and live only to serve my husband's every whim with no concern for my own needs or desires... I have issues with that. I am all about serving my husband and my son. I think God has called me to do that as wife and mother. But I think I deserve to be served too. I think God meant it to be that way, for us to serve each other. But I digress.
There are other kinds of submission. Submission to God's leading and the events/obstacles/challenges He places in our path for specific purposes. Is that the kind of submission the speaker was referring to? Do I have "issues" with submitting to God's authority over me because I am uncomfortable with my true self. I do struggle with being comfortable with who I am beneath the surface. I often find it hard to be content with who I am and not always be trying to be something else, something better. There is definitely a place for self-improvement. Choosing to change certain things about myself and my life in order to be a better me.
But do I also need to submit to whoever it is that God has created me to be and learn to rest in that? If we talk about submission in those terms, her statement makes perfect sense. Of course I will be happy to submit to the girl God made me to be if I feel secure and confident in who that is. It is feeling secure and confident in that girl when I am still deep in the middle of the journey towards discovering her that is the challenge. So maybe I do have issues with submission. You wouldn't think it would be so difficult to submit to the Creator of all things, to the One who is my protector and my shield through whatever may come my way. I should
want to submit to Him. Wouldn't that just be easier? It would be, and I do want to. But I still find myself struggling with how to be comfortable in this skin, content with the person that I am.
What if the people I admire, the people I want to call me friend, my community.... what if those people don't see value in the true me? That is very scary. That is complete rejection. What if submitting to God and finding my true self means that I will not be accepted by the community of people that I have decided are valuable to me? Does that mean I just don't fit in there but I would somewhere else? Would the "somewhere else" be fulfilling?
I am a big fan of the HBO series "Sex in the City." It can be riske' and a little crude at times, but I love the interactions of the four girls and the questions they ask about relationships and love. It is entertaining to me. I love seeing the fashion and watching their stories unfold. Admitting that I like this show does not necessarily fit with the side of myself that I play to others. I have commented to my husband before that I am little too "worldly" for my Christian friends and a little too "Christian" for my non-Christian friends. But somewhere in the middle is the true me- a girl who loves God whole-heartedly but also likes to shop and watch "Sex in the City" and read gossip magazines. Is that scandalous to say?
I love high fashion but I wear jeans and yoga pants. I don't pray as often as I should, I don't brush my teeth everyday, I sneak chips when I am feeling down or tired, I watch "The Hills" on MTV. These are the things that I shouldn't say out loud for fear of... well I don't exactly know what I am afraid of but I know it feels uncomfortable. I know there are things about me that I can and should work on changing. The teeth brushing thing is one of them after my visit to the dentist today. Praying more regularly is high on that list too. But my heart is good and I am slowly discovering who I am at the core and what the outward expression of that girl looks like. Submitting to my true self, to the girl that God created and values as His child - easier said than done.

4 comments:

Catherine December 6, 2007 at 3:02 PM  

Hey, I even feel undressed in my own house - like this morning when I was totally embarrassed to still be in my pjs when you came over...

Anyway, I think I know the real you, or at least, some of it. And I like you a lot. :)

Rachael December 6, 2007 at 6:58 PM  

I can so relate to what you wrote - everything really (and while I don't watch S&TC I have other entertainment vices like The Bachelor ;). And I go everywhere with wet hair.

I've been meaning to ask you - have you considered the Orthodox church? I'm reading a book on it now since a lot of people I know and respect have converted in the past few years, and with the way you value the liturgy and church calendar it seems like it could be a good fit.

BTW - I ordered "This is the stable" for David this week. Let me know if you find similar great books about easter or other church holidays!

TwoSquareMeals December 7, 2007 at 10:18 PM  

Farrah, I so resonate with this post. I am still trying to figure out who I am. I think you are supposed to do that in college, but something about becoming a wife and mother makes you lose yourself again. I'd love to talk more about this. I don't even know where to find my true self anymore. But I do go to Bible study every week in cords, tennis shoes, and wet hair. I'm getting away from my trendy phase and back to boring old me. It's good.

And if you are showing me any of the real you, and I think you have over the past few years, I like you a lot! I love that you are not easily put in a box. Thanks for being self-disclosing.

Love you!

Earthmommy December 8, 2007 at 9:24 PM  

Farrah, your words really touched me on a deep, deep level as I read this post. I can TOTALLY identify with what you said about being too worldly for my Christian friends and too Christian for my non-Christian friends. I have really been struggling with this in my life lately. Thank you so much for bravely baring your soul and sharing this with us. I think many women probably feel this way.

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