Saturday, April 14, 2012

Somebody Is Talking About You

Women talk about each other...a lot. What do people say when they hear your name?

I'm referring to the positive side of "talking about each other." The ugly side is another article, for another time. Women don't always say negative things about each other, anyway. There are often times of genuine admiration, but I'm wondering out loud if we're admiring the right things. Consider this short list:

FLEETING: She's so thin! If you want to get accolades at every turn, lose some weight. People who normally don't even speak to you will stop to compliment you on your scientific miracle! Of all the things that a woman could do to make her seem superhuman, shedding a part of her body is right up there next to walking on water! I've noticed this about weight loss: when one of us is on the way down, another is on the way back up. Strange game, isn't it? In fact, it's the only game that I know of where you're praised for being a "big loser"! And then the rules change with age! Unfair! Thin is in when you're younger, but when you're 85 years old and shaped like a drinking straw, people whisper, "She's so frail."  Isn't there more to a woman than what she weighs?

LASTING: She's so gracious. Now graciousness is timeless, and doesn't require stepping on a scale. And guess what? Unlike weight loss, any of us can have it. As we're told in Scripture, "A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches." (Prov. 11:16) The word "gracious" in this verse is also translated as "favour" in other Old Testament verses. A goal of every Christian should be to make a favorable impression upon God. A gracious woman is also pleasant, which makes her a joy to be around. Would people describe you as a gracious woman?

FLEETING: She's so beautiful! Physical beauty is a lot like owning a new car; tomorrow, it's not so new.  I like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about this subject: "Beauty without grace is the hook without bait." It sounds very much like Proverbs 11:22: "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion."  If the only thing you have in your bank account is a single deposit slip that says "beautiful," it's time to make some new deposits before your currency runs out.

LASTING: She's so godly. There is an undeniable and unmistakable glow on the countenance of a woman who spends time with God. Look at what happened when Moses spent time in God's presence: "And it came to pass, when  Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him." (Exo. 34:29) Proof-positive that time spent with the Lord literally shows on our faces! A godly woman shines in her countenance and in her lifestyle, because her focus is on developing a relationship with her Lord, rather than developing an image that can't last. Would people describe you as a godly woman?

FLEETING: She's so stylish! Okay all right already! Some women are stylish! I mean they've got the hair, the jewelry, the outfit that's in season and in style, the shoes that coordinate with the purse (I get an F+ on this one alone) and when you see them, you feel under-dressed and underdone, even though it took you at least an hour to get yourself together. Being a fashion plate is not a crime, but I have a question: Why do you go to the effort to be so stylish? If you're dressing to impress others with the very vision of you, your motives need examining. Polished for a purpose, like a soldier on duty in a crisp uniform, is different than being stylish for man's praise.

LASTING: She's so wise. Whenever I hear this about a woman, I expect I'm going to enjoy her company. Wisdom is radiant when it's from the Lord. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) Scripture also tells us that "a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed." (Eccl. 8:1b) Wisdom and godliness share this common trait of improving the countenance. A wise woman realizes that the sand in her egg-timer is running out, so she lives to bear fruit while she is still on this side of heaven. Would people describe you as a wise woman?

Somebody is talking about you. Are they saying something that matters for eternity, or just complimenting you for the merit badge that you earned in looking good? If you live long enough, you're going to need more than just good looks. You'll leave a legacy somehow. Do you really want it to be about your coordinated purse and shoes?

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." (Prov. 22:1)

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