July 2, 2006

Captivating: Chapters 1 - 3

Before I start, a note. I haven't read what anyone else in the group has to say yet. I wanted to get my own thoughts down before I start considering what the rest of the group thinks. So, these are my first-blush observations. Take them for what they're worth...

I just finished reading the first three chapters of "Captivating", and I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. First, I've disagreed with a lot of what the authors have said. A LOT. I also don't appreciate their constant imploring...trying to get me to agree with their statements by asking all those confounded QUESTIONS (particularly in Chapter 3)! I had to fight the urge to throw the book across the room and say, "Enough already! I should've never committed to read this book!"

Okay...calming down, now. Since this is about the first 3 chapters, I'm going to try to make it short. (My husband would probably roll his eyes at that one. Once I get on my soapbox, it usually takes an act of God to get me off.)

Chapter One
I agree, women are tired. Not because we're trying to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, but because we're knocking ourselves out to measure up to the world's ideal woman. I guess I'm tuned into that because of the Bible study I'm facilitating, The Virtuous Woman: Shattering the Superwoman Myth by Vicki Courtney. I recently posed this question to our group: "Is it harder to measure up to God's version of the ideal woman, or to the world's?" Most of us felt it's easier to be God's ideal woman, or at least strive to be, because HE does the work! Trying to be the world's ideal woman is a waste of time & energy for most of us, and unsatisfying for all of us.

Women do like to be romanced. I'm a die-hard chick-flick kinda' gal. I'm a sucker for Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies. I love that God wired us that way. And, yeah, some days I wonder what He was thinking when He didn't give men (more specifically, my man) more of a clue on that subject. Still, one truth He's shown me over & over again...in all areas of my life...is that when there's a void, HE wants to fill it with HIMSELF! Not that I always remember that, or am happy about it. Sometimes, it would be wonderful if R would just open the car door for me, for Pete's sake! But, people fail us. They don't plan to. They don't want to. Maybe they don't even know they're doing it. That's when we have to take our needs to God & ask Him to meet them, or show us that they're really not that important. Again, not that I always stop to do this (women are, after all, emotional creatures!). But it sure makes life sweeter when I do.

There's more I could say, but I need to move on.

Chapter Two

I don't agree that Eve is the crown of creation. God didn't need to create woman. He wanted to. And maybe we need to see God's beauty every day. Personally, I also need to see His power every day. Overall, I felt John & Stasi were saying that woman is more important than man, because she was created last and she's supposed to be so beautiful. I don't buy into that. We came from man. As women, we're important to God (certainly we were important to Jesus while He was on earth) and we can minister differently than men because we have a completely different make up. But I just don't subscribe to the statement that we're the crowing glory of creation. God doesn't need me to be His crowning glory...He's got that one handled without little old me!

Chapter Three

Here's where the questions really started to bug me. I have a life of romance. True, R may not open the car door, and he stopped buying flowers as soon as he said, "I do". But, 13 years after the vows, he still comes home to me. He provides for our family. He still tells me he loves me. Yeah, I still come home from work to do laundry & cook dinner. I haven't found a way to avoid cleaning the bathrooms yet. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. My marriage may not be the Hollywood-manufactured type of romance, but it's certainly a testimony of faithfulness and servanthood, patience and love, mercy and grace.

I've also had a particularly dark period in my life when no one seemed to be available (see pg. 44). I was lonely. What God taught me was that I was relying on everyone but Him, and He wanted some one-on-one time with me. I tend to rely on people for validation. But when I start to look to them more than I look to Him, He brings me back to that place. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now...

Lastly, I really disagree with the whole dominant/desolate thing. Maybe we're prone to be one of those two ends of the spectrum, but I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle & it could change on any given day. It just seems that John & Stasi feel we're trapped in these personas and there's no way out. My question is, "Where is the Holy Spirit?" Maybe that answer's coming in the next chapters. I hope so...


sobeit said...

Hey Melissa,

I understand your temptation to throw the book across the room. I had the same problem, especially with chapter three. To me, it seemed as though they were judging the different "types" of women. Almost to the point that we should feel guilty if we felt connected with one of them. I think I do better with bible studies that are more biblically based (Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer). I enjoyed reading your blog, and I hope the next chapter is better!


Amanda said...

There are lots of things in this book you will have to "get through" but I think there are women out there that are really hurting. Some have been abused and some need to feel all that this book says. I think it's a safe book to read. Some of us are a little more seasoned and know who we are in Christ. However, I think that there are parts to this book that can truly speak to the heart of every woman.

BooMama said...

I love what you say about your marriage. I feel the same way about mine. And I've struggled, in the book, with the notion that what I REALLLLY want is a handsome prince to rescue me. Because what I REALLLLLY want is to live a real, authentic, intentional life. But anyway.


Camy Tang said...

Hi Melissa, I totally related to your post! I had some of the same problems.

I've also had a particularly dark period in my life when no one seemed to be available (see pg. 44). I was lonely. What God taught me was that I was relying on everyone but Him, and He wanted some one-on-one time with me.

I went through several periods like this too! (I guess I needed several periods because I didn't learn my lesson the first time! Oy!)

I didn't like the two extremes of dominant/desolate. I think that women tend to fall on a spectrum. Some struggle at either extreme, some struggle NOT to fall into either extreme, but I didn't like that the authors seemed to lump all women into one or the other extreme.

I heard the other chapters are better, so I'm hanging in there.

Nancy said...

Hi Melissa,
I'm glad you've joined the study. We have similar thoughts on the book, but I'm sticking with it.

No, I didn't know Vincent Parker, but we are the same age and live in the same state.

Yes, we went to Busch Gardens for the first time and had a good time. The Big Bad Wolf is the smoothest roller coaster I've ever been on and even in the 96 degree heat it was really nice with all the trees and greenery. The Irish Dance show was great! I'm sure we will go back.