Enrichment for Women
This is for women only. I know some of you men won’t be able resist the “forbidden” so feel free to join in and read on. Just promise me that you will share this page with the women in your life.
Women! "Woman" is a native English word; it was not borrowed from another language. In Old English (our language as it was spoken 1000 years ago), the word was wifman. The first syllable, wif, is the source of our modern word "wife." In those days it just meant "woman" or "female." The man did not mean "man," but rather "human being" or "person."
Thus, wifman could be understood as meaning "female person." One thousand years later, we pronounce the word as woman, but it is still the same old-fashioned English word.
From the get go, our very label can connote that we are less than the male of our species. Our label implies we are defined by our relationship to another – the man or the husband. Man is a human. Woman is a wife to the human. No wonder lyrics like “I can do anything better than you can” have sprung forth. For all of history, women have been trying to be good enough and have measured their worth in comparison to others, most frequently men. We are socialized to defer to men as our authority. Now, do not think I am going all rogue feminist on the world. I do lean into feminism but I also believe that there is some biblical foundation to this hierarchy in the marriage relationship. HOWEVER – we are not to be in blind compliance and deference to the husband, we are to honor him as he honors Christ. That means we have equal value and worth. It is a partnership that should be entered into at marriage and should a woman choose not to marry, that does not make her a non entity because she is not attached to a man.
Now, going back to the “wife of a human being” definition, our label defines us in relationship to another. SO – what transpires for women so often is that we define our sense of self and our sense of worth based on the relationships we are in. We define ourselves in terms of who’s wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend we are. We often completely skip the task of creating a self definition that stands alone, “who am I regardless of what relationship I’m in or not in?”. The question we need to ask is “Who am I?” Then how interesting and enriching might it be to answer that question without mentioning any of our relationships? Again, don’t think I’m going rogue. Relationships are critical to our well being, happiness, purpose, breath of life. So too is a sense of self. Without a sense of self, we cannot be in a healthy interdependent relationship, or in a healthy anything for that matter.
I once gave away my sense of self. For 18 years I gave it away. Completely! So completely that I literally became an empty shell; a body without a soul. A complete non entity. I used to say my “self” had been stolen from me. Through counseling and self exploration and developing a sense of self free of ties to relationships, I came to realize that, really, I had carelessly and blindly given myself away to someone. Someone who did not deserve, care for or return that self to me. Instead that person chewed me up, spit me out and left me for dead. With every year, month, week, day, hour, minute . . . . , I slowly drifted away to become no one. Thankfully, I had just enough spark of life left in me. My love for my daughters awoke something in me and I realized how much I missed myself and needed to reclaim me to be their mother and show them how to be a strong, empowered woman someday. So, THANK YOU to my daughters; you inspired my journey back to me. See, I told you relationships are critical, but they can only be entered into successfully by a person, not an empty shell. Finding, claiming, defining, refining and celebrating your self is critical to joy and contentment and healthy everything.
If you are a woman without a sense of self, if you feel empty, without a purpose or direction in life, please take the time, set the priority and invest the time, energy and money necessary to become full and enriched. Breathe deeply now and resolve to be wowed by the remarkable woman living in YOUR skin. She is there and is dying to be awakened, given breath, a voice and embraced by you.
I wish you and happy and inspired journey into you! Live on the Enriched side of life!