Our culture is moving faster than ever before. News flies at us in real time. Kids start academic study earlier than any previous decade. Technology has flung forward in the digital/mobile age. It’s mind-boggling, head-spinning stuff. The mix of information, cultural ideals, comparison, and distraction can make modern Christian women feel crushed under the pressure to do it all.
The endless choices and the weight of responsibility make for a heavy burden to bear. It’s no wonder women are facing record high levels of anxiety, depression, and general dissatisfaction.
Adding (But Rarely Subtracting)
There may never have been an age in which womanhood was simple, but we can look back in history and see points in time when expectations were more clearly defined. Let’s take the 1950s. For better or for worse, history tells us that there was a culturally accepted role for the prototypical woman. She was expected to get married, keep her home tidy and clean, and work hard to provide a beautiful life for her husband and kids.
Fast forward to 2016 and here’s what we find: By and large women, still bear the brunt of domestic expectations. They’re still expected to build a vibrant home life and give of themselves to their surrounding community. But when we look closer, we can see a few additions that have been made to the cultural expectations.
A 1950s housewife may or may not have been educated, but many women today feel lacking or insecure if they move to the next life stage without a college or post-collegiate education. A modern woman still feels that age-old pressure to settle down and build a family, but she also probably feels the burden to put her expensive education to good use and make something of herself career-wise.
The modern Christian woman, if we’re honest, feels the pressure to do all those things the ideal 1950s woman did, but she feels the pressure to do it with a Pinterest-perfect house; creative hobbies; a tight and fit body; a slew of friends that she cares for and loves well; a vibrant and exciting marriage; some kind of side business that blesses her family; ministry to the lost and to the found in her community; and an all-natural, Happy-Meal-free, gluten-free, fat-free meal plan.
Rather than allowing ourselves to be crushed under such unrealistic expectations, as women of God, we must to look to our Father, with our hands open, ask him what he’d have us do. We must ask him what he wants us to add, and, by his grace, what he’s asking us to subtract.