Girls Have Big Dreams, Too

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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.

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About creativehomeschooler

I'm a homeschooling mom of two creative children. I created this blog to highlight the things I'm thankful for during my days. It can be a challenge to homeschool, but I try to look at the grace my children and I experience. And these kids come up with some neat projects, so I hope to encourage and inspire others who may be reading.

5 responses »

  1. Some similar thoughts here to a recent post of mine. There are so many problems with the current women’s ministry paradigm in local churches and the Christian subculture.

  2. I read Nicole’s post. I see that you copied her quote that her grandmother, “didn’t seem to have a vision beyond the boundaries God had set for her.” That seems to me to be the most manipulative comment in Nicole’s post. She also includes the word “obscure” as though it is a virtue.

    We all have boundaries, but there are plenty of things Christian men and women can do that exceed our own limited vision and don’t come close to touching boundaries.

    Speaking about laundry detergent. When I was about 8 years old, I went with my mother to visit with a group of women. These women were all sitting around the table and talking about laundry detergent. I clearly remember being concerned that there was something wrong with these women. These women were boring. There is a whole world of topics that can be discussed and explored, including theological topics, and they were chatting at length about laundry detergent.

    Being primarily focused on domestic chores is small-minded. If that is all someone is capable of, that’s fine, but most people can do other things and keep the house in order as well.

    As someone who does the laundry in my home, I want to know what detergent is the best. But there is so much more to our newlife in Christ than keeping house.

    One thing Nicole and I (possibly) agree on is what she calls “simple joys”. I love seeing birds in my yard. I love nature, and God’s creation. Is this a simple joy? I love being with my family. Is this a simple joy? I don’t think that “simple” is the best adjective for these wonderful things.

  3. Marg, I can relate to your experience of the women talking about laundry detergent. I think in the early years of my marriage, I may have been one of those women! And I too thought, this is kind of sad. We’re adults with gifts and talents and real-world concerns, and we’re talking about laundry for an hour?

    I too love the simple joys of life! A beautiful sunset, birds chirping, a field of sunflowers…wonderful.

  4. Steph – I really have appreciated reading your blog posts when I get a chance to read them. They are encouraging to me – to continue to dream big and not dwell on thoughts like “Is it ok to do this as a woman?” but rather to ask, “What is pleasing to God?” and to do things with all my might as unto God and not as unto man. Thanks for your insightful comments and time spent on researching this subject.

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