When I read Beka’s devotional, I thought it was the perfect start to this blog. It got me thinking: “What picture comes to mind when I hear the words ‘woman of God’? What does that kind of woman really look like, and how do I fit into that picture? Who did God make me to be?” So here you are, the first devotional for this blog to get you thinking those same questions…
Reading Beka’s devotional was ironic to me, because when we were college RAs together, I remember her being the image of perfection. The first time I met her I was sore about being single, as I thought every gorgeous, sweet girl was (by default) in a relationship. Beka walked in the room with her long, dark hair, sweet smile, and cute outfit and I was instantly jealous. Of course she has a boyfriend, I thought grudgingly. But come to find out, she was single too! That might sound weird, but it was comforting for me to see that my singleness didn’t necessarily mean there was something wrong with me. Memories aside, Beka reminds me of hot cocoa because of its pure, rich goodness and ability to warm you up on the coldest day. There’s something about her peaceful, inviting presence that instantly cheers you and settles your soul. And apparently underneath the pure goodness exists a surprisingly sarcastic and spunky side. Post undergrad degree in English, Beka couldn’t bear to leave Roberts Wesleyan College, as she now works there as an admissions counselor. It is my pleasure to bring you a taste of her intensely entertaining, amusing, and gripping insights on life as a woman of God. Ladies everywhere, this is Beka Watts:
College you graduated from/are in and your major: Roberts Wesleyan College, where I spent five whole semesters as an elementary education major trying to convince myself I wanted to be a teacher, then finally gave in and went with what I was passionate about all along: English.
Favorite color: I love colors. As in pure adoration of paint chips and awestruck wonder of the Crayola factory. But my favorite color by a landslide is green (I’m Irish and a Packers fan so I really never had a choice).
Favorite food: Does coffee count as food? Since it’s the foundation of my food pyramid, I vote yes. Otherwise, I am a huge fan of brownie sundaes, chicken fingers, panzanella and Mediterranean food.
Describe yourself/life in 3 words: Just one word will do: Caffeinated.
What you want to do with your life: Mostly, be effective. I want to be a good steward of the abilities, opportunities, and plans God has for me in order to make the most impact possible. Other than that I want to do about a thousand other things (visit every state in the US and every continent in the world, work on an overseas organic farm, run a marathon, emulate the reading habits of Nancy Pearl, successfully blog, adopt children, be a barista…the list is virtually endless). Unfortunately, none of these things point me to an actual career, unless I just do all of them and label my fabricated career “miscellaneous.”
One interesting fact about you: I was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. Pennsylvania.
Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done: Probably driving down a mud-laden mountain in Thailand. When we weren’t sliding through the mud we were pushing the truck out of it. And nervously peering over the edge.
Favorite quote: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato
Favorite Bible verse: Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act.”
What is one secret to living life as a woman of God in today’s world? Compare and contrast is an essay question on a midterm, not a strategy for life. (And if you’re like me and need constant assistance in combating the comparison mentality, reference Isaiah 55. A lot.)
“Of Snow White, Stereotypes, and Soul-Searching” by Beka Watts
I have this picture in my head of the perfect Christian woman. She’s someone akin to a holy Snow White in sneakers. This is the type of person whose habits include going for a 10 mile run (during which she memorizes eight to ten chapters of Deuteronomy and rescues a kitten from oncoming traffic) and returning home to shower to perfection before preparing a complete breakfast for her family of twelve. All of this occurs before 6:00 am.
I am not that woman. If you are that woman, you have my eternal awe and respect.
On most days I more closely resemble Liz Lemon from 30 Rock than the Proverbs 31 woman. I find significantly more similarities between myself and the socially awkward dating disaster than the woman who rises before dawn to make her own “bedspreads and belted linens” (and what exactly is a belted linen, anyways?)
Sometimes I think I’m not trying hard enough, and other times I’m fairly certain that I’m just not hardwired to quote flowery sayings and then stitch them onto a pillow. Or to routinely purchase markedly Christian paraphernalia, i.e. t-shirts, bumper stickers, wall-hangings. I am also missing the genetic coding for successfully preparing a substantial multiple course meal. (Confession: I was the one who burnt the pie on Thanksgiving because I was watching the Packers/Lions game with tunnel-vision focus.)
This causes me to wonder: What in the world is wrong with me? Should I work harder to subdue my (abundant) quirks to fit the traditional meek and mild stereotype of Christian femininity?
That idea makes me cringe a little bit. And I think that might be a good thing.
I feel like women receive so much pressure to be a certain way, even (and sometimes, especially) in Christian circles. There is an expectation for the kinds of books a Christian woman should read, the profession she should enter into, the age at which she should be married, the committees and charities she should join, the things she should say and think and feel, even the cut and color of her hair. By no means is it a negative thing to be the type of person who naturally gravitates towards the norm – but if you are not that type of person it can all feel a little suffocating, and more than a little overwhelming.
It’s been a recent passion of mine to break away from those expectations and discover the “wonderfully complex” (thanks, Psalm 139) person God made me to be. The one who would rather watch ESPN than HGTV.
Surely, I could benefit from a hearty dose of Proverbs 31 work ethic in my life. I mean who doesn’t want to be strong and energetic and compared to a merchant’s ship? But perhaps I can still do that without becoming the Christian version of a Stepford wife.
I’m learning that I want to honor God’s creation in all facets of life: the beautiful world that we live in, the fantastically diverse people we are surrounded by, the carefully crafted soul we each have. And I think that a huge part of honoring God’s creation is investing the time to figure out who he created when he created me and the effort to develop that person to the fullest extent.
Here’s my inventory so far: I am a coffee devotee, zealous football fanatic, snow enthusiast, budding bibliophile. I’m a lover of quick wit, soft lighting, magazines, dark chocolate, color, photography, and blogs. I am aspiring to become a woman who lives fearlessly, gives generously, and loves passionately. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman who fears the Lord and selflessly provides for those around her, and I also want to wholly engage the unique individual God created in me. I don’t think those two are mutually exclusive desires; they are two equally necessary halves of one whole.
I will probably never be able to name all of the disciples in alphabetical order while knitting a sweater. And that’s probably ok.
For more of Beka’s blogs, check out: http://theorchardnews.blogspot.com/
To continue on to Devo #2 (by Greta Johnson) click here!