There are so many demands on a woman’s time. We live in an age which has taught us that women can be anything that they want. Quite honestly, it’s instilled another belief as well. Not only do women feel more empowered to be anything they had somehow gotten the notion that means they need to “be” everything. Somehow, in the process of empowering women to their natural abilities to excel and come off conqueror in any battle they might find themselves in, we have managed to back ourselves into a corner fighting more battles than anyone could win on their own.
It comes back down to the basics. The part of the “be anything” philosophy that gets conveniently over looked is making conscious choices. Instead of anything we want, our ideas become morphed into anything everyone around us needs, plus what we want. Yes, women are amazing creatures. We do have almost unlimited capacities for good, but we also have almost unlimited capacities of other God-given attributes: nurturing, compassion, care, protection, love and many other beautiful parts of our nature. These serve a distinct purpose. They allow women to almost instantly develop an attachment to a child, even before it is born, and to see the needs of those weaker around us and be compelled to help and nurture. The down side is, at the same time these attributes work in our favor, they also work against us. This is where the feelings of inadequacy and failures stem. Though these are not God-given emotions, Satan uses the things we value most (our feminine, caring natures) to tell us we are lacking.
We take that “be anything” philosophy and combine it with our desires to be anything our family, spouse, children, or friends needs us to be at any given time. We take our desires to the extreme, seeing it as a personal failure when those we love face sorrow or challenges we feel we should have been able to protect them from or nurture them through. We morph “be anything” into “be everything and be the best at it” because that is what we perceive the world is asking of us.
This is how Satan uses our righteous desires against us. “Be everything” is not what the Lord asks of us. His desires for the women of the world are very clear and simple.
First and foremost is simply His plea: Come Unto Me. His desire is for us to develop our spiritual nature and draw closer to Him in everything that we do.
Next: Develop your talents and love for life.
Plus, when possible: Develop a gospel-centered marriage and nurture children.
It is understood that in trying your best in these areas (not to be the best, but to be your best) can come with some monumental tasks. There are many women who have no choice to put on the additional hat of wage earner, or caretaker for both aging parents and small children. The challenges of this life are huge. But God would have you understand that He understands and will help you, if you let Him.
I think of the story of Mary and Martha. I see both women as beautiful examples of the daughters of God trying their best. One saw a need for food and nurturing for the Lord she loved dearly. The other loved just as deeply but ignored the physical tasks of caring for Him in order to have a chance to sit at the Master’s feet. Neither woman’s activities were necessarily wrong, but when Martha complained about Mary’s lack of involvement, the Master kindly reminded her of the needful thing, and an ability to choose the good part. He recognized Martha’s tendency to be “careful and troubled about many things” and kindly reminded her that she could not be everything all at once. It’s a matter of choice where we are required to choose the good part, or the part that will have the most lasting effect for us, and those around us.
There is a little bit of Mary and Martha in each woman. Even so, the Savior would have us remember to choose wisely. He asks us first to come to know Him, then to come to know ourselves, then to reach out and touch the lives of others. These tasks can very rarely come out of order. Perhaps Martha’s expectations for what her Lord and Master needed for a meal were far greater than the actual need. Perhaps Mary could have been a little more attentive to her sister’s goals and desires and helped her so that there was time for both to hear the gospel. Perhaps Martha should have chucked the housework altogether that day.
With the Lord’s guiding hand, it is up to each of us to decide. It may be that some things should drop out of our lives completely, others may need to be placed on hold, something else may need to be brought in, and still others may need to be weighed on a daily basis. In any case, He does not want us to become so weighed down with those things that we feel we need to do that we lose our joy for the things that really matter.
Nowhere has He ever said, “Thou Shalt be Super Woman or you’ll never be good enough.” He has promised us that He will help carry our burdens, that He will help us choose the good part, that He will remind us not to run faster than we have strength. All He asks in return is that we first, come unto Him.