Friday, August 11, 2006

Captivating, chapter 8

Captain’s Log, Stardate 08.11.2006

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE by Allie Pleiter.
My Thursday book giveaway is RELUCTANT BURGLAR by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE and post the title for another book I'm giving away.

Z stuff: Tomorrow, cool cats.

Beauty to Unveil:

“To experience the strength of a man is to have him speak on our behalf.” While I agree that I do appreciate when my husband speaks for me, this isn’t the only way I experience his strength, and this statement seems a bit generalized.

She also talks about how he prayed for her. While that’s a wonderful picture of a spiritual husband, not only husbands do that for women. Other women often intercede in prayer for their sisters in Christ.

This also makes me wonder what message it would send to a woman who didn’t have a spiritual husband or who didn’t have a husband at all. Would it make her feel alone, frustrated, resentful?

I do admit that when my husband is being strong of character, forceful when I am weak or hesitant, that is attractive to me. Maybe that’s what she’s talking about when she says that “The strength of a man is first a soulish strength—a strength of heart.”

I like how she segueways that into how a woman’s beauty, then, is not physical just as a man’s strength isn’t physical.

Beauty Flows from a Heart at Rest: Here they described two beautiful women, one who is restful and one who isn’t.

My problem with this is that I’ve met Christian women who are restful in personality, but their restfulness doesn’t make me restful. In fact, sometimes it makes me antsy. Their form of restfulness does not invite me to be restful with them—it’s exclusionary.

Other Christian women I’ve met are both resful in personality and they make me feel restful as well.

I’ve also met Christian women who are energetic, lively, alive, fun. They are not restful, but they make me feel alive when I’m with them. Of course, I’ve also met Christian women who are energetic and frenetic, and they don’t make me feel alive—just nervous.

So the authors’ statement about beauty at rest doesn’t sit well with me. Not all the restful women I know make me feel restful. And not all the non-restful women I know make me feel nervous or ill-at-ease.

Are they saying that beauty is only restful? That my friends’ energy and fun and liveliness isn’t beauty?

I did like this passage: “So the choice a woman makes is not to conjure beauty, but to let her defenses down. To choose to set aside her normal means of survival and just let her heart show up. Beauty comes with it.”

I can see this in my friends. The ones I think are most beautiful are the ones who are most transparent, not necessarily the most restful. They are confident in their own personalities, and they allow themselves to be free to be themselves.

The authors quote 1st Peter 3:4, where it talks about beauty as a “gentle and quiet spirit.” So is liveliness and energy not beauty?

I can’t quite see how a quiet spirit would necessarily mean a quiet personality. God didn’t make all women to be quiet. (I’m a case in point.)

I think the authors address it. They say, “to have a gentle and quiet spirit is to have a heart a faith, a heart that trusts in God, a spirit that has been quieted by his love and filled with his peace. Not a heart that is striving and restless.”

The guided journal says it better: “Who is qualified to speak to your heart of the beauty found there? Remember? God. Keep asking him . . . She [woman] knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough.”

While I don’t know what scriptural basis they have for this interpretation, I can see how a woman confident—“quieted”?—in God’s love is beautiful.

I guess what they’re saying 1st Peter means is that a quiet spirit is one where there is no doubt, no worry—only complete trust in God. A fearless spirit, not nervous or anxious. Childlike trust in God to always come through.

And then when we are transparent (see above), our “quiet spirit,” our complete trust in God, shines through as beauty.

1st Peter 3:6 says “Do not give way to fear.” Don’t lose trust in God. Don’t lose confidence in God’s love for you. Don’t be afraid to be transparent.

I don’t know if this is exactly what the authors are saying, but this makes sense to me.

I think the book dwells too much on the Question and “Am I lovely?” (which I don’t quite agree with, if you’ll see my other posts on this book). However, I like how the guided journal asks questions and encourages the reader to ask God how he sees her, which is how it should be.

Of Course it Feels Risky: I really like how they show two women whose husbands have failed them, yet who choose God as their strength. It’s a godly example for women whose husbands may not be as strong spiritually, or who don’t have husbands.

It reminds me of when I was single and struggling with it, and having to daily choose to trust God, to depend on Him for strength, to desire Him more than anything else I wanted.

I also like how the guided journal says, “We don’t get to stay in hiding until we are whole; Jesus invites us to live as an inviting woman now and to find our healing along the way.” We don’t have to be perfect or get rid of all our baggage to be the beautiful woman that God sees us as.

In the guided journal there’s also a very good reminder: “Sadly, there will be times when our offer of our true hearts is not received well. Jesus offered like no other, and many rejected him. In those moments or seasons when that happens to us, God’s invitation to us is to bring out sorrow to him. Not to shut down with, I’ll never try that again. But to keep our hearts open and alive and to find our heart’s refuge and healing in his love.”

How true is that! Not a rose-colored picture, but real life, and the real refuge we have in Christ.

Letting Our Hearts Be Deepened: I like how the authors emphasize being fulfilled by Christ, and not necessarily our own longings. They push for complete dependence on Jesus, for letting Him fill the ache and emptiness, smooth over the hurts.

Cultivating Beauty: The authors go on about how we all have beauty, how the world needs us our beauty, yada yada. It’s a lot of fanciful language that doesn’t really speak to me, stuff like “Our hearts need to feed on beauty to sustain them.”

While this section wasn’t for me, I think the authors are trying to make the woman reading the book feel more empowered in herself because she is given this beauty by God, and I think that’s a good message. “Our God finds you lovely . . . He finds you captivating.”

8 comments :

  1. Am fan of your site. Just STARTED BLOGGING. Our visual artists create with inspired words too. Would link back to you.Thanks for blogging.
    bqap Good News blog

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  2. Just finished Sacred Romance study this summer. We a wonderful study and provocative. Be blessed.

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  3. Thanks for this review. What the heck does "restful" mean anyways? Does it exclude those of us who struggle with insomnia?
    Sometimes I wonder how much is biblical and how much is the middle-class Industrial Revolution churchy environment (wow, I sound bitter).
    But I agree, I like being captivating to God, foot in mouth and all!

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  4. I like how they address the real life aspect of things ca bit in this chapter too...how they urge us to bring every hurt to God and to keep putting ourselves out there.

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  5. The sub-title on this book should have read, "Unveiling the mystery of SOME women's souls." Last time I checked, I'm a woman. ; ) And if ya wanna captivate me, don't talk to me about needing to have any kind of beauty or even a man. (Oops, do I sound alone, frustrated, or resentful?)

    Just give me Jesus. Ya know? His beauty is enough.

    Yep, it's me, Camy. Love your take on this book, though it (not you) does tend to make me a bit crazy at times. (I gotta go wipe the foam off my mouth now.)

    later!
    donna

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  6. Camy, I'm glad you read it and are writing about it. I've heard that this book has blessed many women and I'm glad! However, the first two chapters were all I could stomach, and I was rudely thwarted in my attempt to throw it across the room (my response to all books I can't endure) by my 7-yr-old who reminded me "Mommy, books are our friends!"

    Oops, do I sound like another bitter, frustrated or resentful reader?

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  7. Camy, this: "My problem with this is that I’ve met Christian women who are restful in personality, but their restfulness doesn’t make me restful. In fact, sometimes it makes me antsy. Their form of restfulness does not invite me to be restful with them—it’s exclusionary." It brought to mind several women I've met who are so "calm" they make you feel like a bumbling, klutzy spazz just because youre not. Not that type of "calm." Like you, I'm full of life, have an opinion on most things (dont we all) and give it more often than not. I dont think that makes me not restful, and I dont think it makes this woman restful because she seems on the surface to always be "quiet." Thanks for your take on this chapter. I actually had chapter 9 ready to go but will take the grace and do it later in the week. Good idea to let everyone catch up a bit. 12 chapters in the summer is a lot to hang in there for.

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  8. Hello there!
    The strenght part - I agree. I like when my husband shows his soulish strenght too. And I understand what your saying about single women who don't have husbands at all.
    Seems to me that is a whole other issue of itself, I mean, the bible is clear that woman was created for man and man for woman - the two are ment to be with each other. (everything fits) So what happens when it's not that way? And by NO MEANS am I saying that we should all get married for married sake! Absoulutly not, but you know, what if? And yet Paul spoke against marrage if you could help it. Hmmm
    Didn't he?

    But off to another thing:"Are they saying that beauty is only restful? That my friends’ energy and fun and liveliness isn’t beauty"
    I would have to say, no. This isn't what I understood at all. Restfullness wasn't about outward appearances - it was the state of the heart. By the book's definition your fun friend that makes you feel alive with her is at rest in her heart, at peace and the ones that seem restful but make you nervous are not. Could you say that is true of your friends? I was relieved to find this because I am an opinionated social, also been described as boisterous person, but stuggled to have a "quiet spirit" and this part let me "rest" knowing that you can be loud and at rest! Because it isn't about the outward - the actions - it's about the inward, your trust. As you say.
    And the last part "Cultivating Beauty" I thought you summerized wonderfully.

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