While reading this post on Girl Talk, Why My Grandma Was Great, I noticed a subtle message directed at females that caught my attention. The post is dedicated to Nicole’s late Grandma, which I think is a wonderful, beautiful gesture. However, my intention is not to focus on Nicole’s Grandma, who I am certain was a godly woman deserving of praise from her family.
What I want to look at is how Nicole describes what is was like to have her Grandma stay with her family for a brief period of time during her teenage years ~
~ “You see, I was one of those idealistic, sometimes arrogant, often annoying, young women who had all kinds of dreams and ambitions to do great things for God but had no clue about what that actually meant.. I was headed for the mission field (because missionary life is exciting, right?). I was going to teach women. I was going to write books. I was going to change the world for God.
I loved my grandma. She was sweet and kind. But she didn’t seem to have a vision beyond the boundaries God had set for her. She certainly didn’t ‘dream big.’“(bold mine)
The problem with this post is that Nicole is implying that in order to be a godly woman, you must choose not to have “all kinds of dreams and ambitions to do great things for God” and not fool yourself into thinking you’re going to “change the world for God.” In Nicole’s mind, these two ways of thinking are opposed. If you dream big, you’re arrogant and annoying. The desire to be a missionary, teach women, and write books are obstacles to becoming a compassionate, kind, and godly woman. Godly women pay attention “to the price of pot roast” and “how much laundry detergent we have left.”
The implication here is that a godly woman cannot be ambitious, or have big dreams or goals outside of caring for her family. The only way to true greatness, for a woman, is in the little things, like doing laundry and saving money for her family.
That’s really strange, because I know several kind, compassionate, godly women who also manage to dream big and want to change the world. It is true greatness to pay attention to the price of your groceries, make sure you have laundry detergent, help your kids with their homework, and volunteer in their classroom. It is also true greatness to follow God’s call to the mission field, to teach women, and to write books. No matter what we do in service to God, it’s in service to God, so it’s GREAT. There shouldn’t even be a comparison between the two.
What is really damaging about Nicole’s blog post is this: it is stifling for women and girls to be told they shouldn’t dream big or have ambition because those things will interfere with their pursuit of “biblical womanhood”. It would be stifling to tell my daughter she shouldn’t have the “big goal” of becoming a missionary, that she shouldn’t work towards becoming an author or a teacher, because these goals would interfere with her becoming a homemaker. It pains me to think about how many dreams and callings of girls and women have been squashed under this teaching. If I taught my daughter that she shouldn’t “dream big”, I might be snuffing out the Holy Spirit’s work in her life, and I am sure I don’t want to do that. How many women and girls have had the Holy Spirit’s work pushed to the side for someone else’s agenda? If “biblical womanhood” means I can’t dream big and have ambition to do great things for God, then I don’t want anything to do with it.