Like, a lot.
I mean, just check out my Pinterest; I have a board dedicated to just that. http://pinterest.com/srovik/oh-well-thats-pretty/
I often wonder what it is about Pinterest that hooks people - especially us ladies. Why do we spend literally hours pinning and re-pinning pictures like this:
What is it about these images that affects us and makes us log on and re-pin again and again?
I think it's that they speak to a part of who we are, and who we long to be. We were made to want things like this.
Now - I want to pause and clarify. I don't think we were made to spend countless hours on the internet scrolling through images until our contacts are practically glued to our eyeballs. (guilty.)
But I DO think that we were created with something instilled in us - a longing that has yet to be fulfilled - and that longing is for beauty.
Male or female, young or old, rich or poor - we ALL want to experience beauty. And we do, in ways both big and small. Think about the last sunset you saw, or the last time you witnessed the marriage of two dear friends. Didn't something inside you sigh? Didn't you long for more?
I think Pinterest, especially for women, is an outlet - a small way to experience beauty, whether that be the pictures of sunsets, or dresses, or table designs for wedding receptions. Things that are beautiful touch us. We want to experience them and be associated with them. But I think women especially were created with the desire not just to see and experience beauty, but also to make things beautiful. Whether that be our homes or our relationships or the food we eat - seriously - the other day someone complimented me on the way I scooped my ice cream, and it made me feel like a million bucks! Why? Because as women, we long to bring beauty and joy and light and hope and peace to everything we touch. And this is because we were MADE to long for this and MADE to do this. We were created with this desire tucked into our hearts. It's a part of our chemical makeup. It's a part of our design.
A GREAT book that informed most of this post is Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. SUCH a good read that delves into this way better than I can. I highly recommend that you read it, like, as soon as possible. I hope to read it again soon.
Now, you might be thinking, You know what? I hear what you're saying, but I am capable of so much more that just keeping a home or scooping ice cream into perfect little circles. I have skills and talents that I wish other people would see and encourage and validate - things that go beyond the "housewifey" and the "pretty."
And to that I would say: Right on! I'm so glad you do! In fact, I never doubted that for a second. And also, I'm right there with you. I'm happy you are passionate about life and have found things that you're gifted in - I have, too. I'm also glad that you are not too quickly put into a box - I'm not either. Because too often, we as women - especially within the Christian community - are made out to be one thing: homemakers. We are "supposed" to be wives and moms, cooking the meals and cleaning the house and changing the diapers and doing it all in an A-line skirt, pumps, and a string of pearls ala June Cleaver. But here's the thing - this is not what I am advocating with this post. In fact, ladies, if anyone tries to tell you that ^^this is what you're made for, feel free to politely but firmly say something like, "Actually, while wife and mother are two very high callings made by our great God, I was made for even more than that! I was made to be a beautifier. And I can fulfill that calling in so many different ways."
You might get some weird looks, especially seeing as how I may or may not have just made up a word. But go with me on this one. First, I want to reiterate that wife and mother really are two HIGH callings created by God. Many women find fulfillment in these two things alone (and ultimately in God, of course) - that is - they wouldn't necessarily say there are other things they're specifically passionate about, as in, some sort of career or creative outlet. And that's totally okay!!!! Go them! They're doing what they're made to do! Yay!
But what about those of us who feel called to other things - or, if you're like me - other things in combination with wife and mother? How should we respond to that?
I mean, it isn't wrong, right? If God gave you a specific set of skills or talents, you should use them somehow, right?
.... Just in case you were wondering, my answer to that question is a resounding YES!
Use your gifts! Be a soccer player! Be an architect! Be a writer! Be a nurse! Be a movie star! Do what you love to do! We were all created with different skills, and we should use them!
But I think how we use them and who we use them for is what's most important.
We as women were made to be beautifiers - as the cover of one of my journals says "She makes the day brighter. She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes." We were made to sparkle. We were made to leave something good behind. We were made to illuminate. We were made to encourage. We were made to bring hope and healing and love to dark and broken places. We were made to speak truth into the hearts of those we meet - whether that be with our words or by our mere example. We were made to beautify. And this can look like a million different things and can happen in a million different ways - We are not in a box.
The only parameters we do have are these: Our beautifying is not for ourselves. It is for the advancement of God's Kingdom. He was the one who created beauty in the first place. He is beauty. And our lives belong to Him. So, whatever you do, do it for Him and His glory. (1 Cor. 10:31)
And you know, it's no wonder that we, His creation, long for beauty. Perhaps, we are not so much longing for beauty as we are for Him - The One who satisfies every longing and breathes beauty and joy and light and hope and peace into everything He touches. Our God - The Beautifier.