Saturday, August 10, 2013

Be constructive, not destructive.

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Titus 2:4

My original inspiration for doing this blog was the above scripture and something I was pondering one day:
Jealousy within the Christian homemaker. When did being a Christian, Spouse, Mother, and homemaker become a competition? Giving a helpful tip mistaken for criticism? When did mentoring other Sisters in Christ become so complex? That we are afraid to pass along our experiences for fear they may be a better baker or afraid to receive a tip because we assume they think we are not good enough? Why we feel the need to "out do" each other when we can simply be playing for the same team.

1. Why can't we take a simple helpful tip? It seems that a simple tip given to a fellow Sister in Christ can really improve or destroy a relationship. One of two things can happen. One, she will be thankful that her friend cares so much about her to pass on a lesson she has learned or benefited from in the past. Something to make her life a little easier or two, it can ruin a relationship and you are now labeled as a "know it all".  They can take offense and assume you a host of negative things from that one simple tip. I actually have a great story to help visualize the point I am trying to make.

When we originally bought our house we had closing at a lawyer's office to sign papers and exchange keys. At the meeting the owner's wife told me how to work the stove. Now, the stove was an acrylic computerized stove and, quite frankly, my dream stove. Here I sat across from her as she gave me tips on how to turn it on and even bake with it. After I left the office I made a comment to Barry at what a "know it all" this woman was, I mean she didn't think I was competent enough to work a stove? Fast forward to our first week in our home and I  seem to have a hard time even figuring out how to get it to turn on, let alone use it. I placed one item in the oven on the wrong setting and almost burned the house down. We had to open the windows and fan the fire alarm.  I took offense to what I assumed she thought of me, when actually she was really trying to help and give me some information that would make my life a little easier. There was no underlying cattiness involved. She just wanted to help.

It's amazing how just a little helpful advice can break a relationship."Why is she telling me this? Does she think I'm stupid? Well, she's just trying to show she's better than me." In the end all it was, was they just thought they were helping. Nothing more, nothing less.  No underlying agenda. They just wanted to be helpful. So take advice! File it or throw it out!

2.  "Out do" or competition.  Why do we feel the need to "out do" each other? Since social media has become readily available I have watched this play out many many times. One Sister posts a picture of their child doing an activity or learning something new. Another posts the same activity, but made out of Gold and now their child is fluent in five languages to boot. I can relate. I have had a relationship or two where I felt the other person felt like their children were in competition with mine. In all honesty this makes me feel very awkward. While, I may tell of my children's successes, I am not a person to promote competition within my children. I feel when you start comparing your children to others and they begin to notice, it can lead to lots of self esteem issues. My girls know that in this life they are not going to be the best at everything or win everything. I think that is good values for them to have in store for the future. They are not always going to get accepted into that college, a particular job or promotion. If they don't it doesn't mean they are not a wonderful person, it's just not what the Lord had in store for them at that time. I don't like for them to compare themselves to others. People do not have cookie cutter lives and things are going to be different within all of us. It doesn't make us less of a person than someone else. I guess this one is the pet peeve of the list. I find joy in others joy, not envy. I find today everyone wants to be the absolute best at something and if someone happens to be better at it than they are relationships start to unravel. Here's an example.

Suzie loves Mary recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Mary takes pride in her cookies being the best and loves the attention/compliments she receives. Suzie innocently asks for Mary's recipe and Mary is now afraid that Suzie will make the cookies better than she has. What if others like Suzie's cookies more? They know the same group of people, so the only reasonable thing, in Mary's mind, to do is to leave off a crucial secret ingredient. While, she gave she did not give with a whole heart.
               Why can't we feel joy for others when they succeed? So what if they did or made something better than you. Aren't you happy that your friend succeeded at a task she put before her? That you had a part in helping her?

At the end of the day we are all just Sisters in Christ. In the Lord's eyes we are all the same. Why not play for the same team? Encourage each other? Help another fellow wife, mother, or friend boost their confidence. You know what it's like to have confidence in something you are really great at? You enjoy that task more and seem to put more love into it. We all have the same goal of making the Lord, our family, and ourselves happy. To lead a joyful life for the Lord. Let's not make life a competition, but a team effort.    

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