women


Tight SlippersJonalyn Grace Fincher’s book, Ruby Slippers, has proven to be a pioneer book on femininity and discovering the soul of a woman.  I will be reading and re-reading this to contemplate the stimulating concepts that are presented.  I must admit that my own perception of the feminine soul has been challenged.The first analogy that we examined was that of corsets. We layer our corsets so tight so that our soul begins to suffocate under the weight. Another striking analogy that Jonalyn utilizes is that of Grimm’s Cinderella.  Unlike the Disney version, Grimm paints a picture of two step-sisters who cut off parts of their flesh to fit into shoes that were not meant for them. They had normal feet but demolished what they had to try to squeeze into shoes meant for Cinderella.

“Often the roles we play are like pinching shoes. In order to fit into some role, we squeeze ourselves, contort ourselves, even cut off part of ourselves. We accept these roles, and the contortions they sometimes demand, and we call it womanly, submissive even.”

Much like the step-sisters, we slice off parts of our soul to fit into the molds that we are expected to wear. We cut away crucial parts that God intends for us to grow and use. What we don’t realize is that while we fit into the shoes, our souls are bleeding. Why do we accept this as a necessary part of femininity without going to the One who created us to find out what He expects?

God created each woman unique. When we chisel away what He gave us, we are limiting ourselves to the narrowminded expectations of society.  I think its a sad commentary that we are satisfied with the shoes that are handed to us and we struggle to fit outselves into them without asking God what He wants for us.  How unfulfilled our lives become!  We must toss the corsets and man-made shoes to lay ourselves bare before the all-loving God who knows us…really knows us. But, this is so scary! Who are we without our corsets and tight shoes? Do we dare expose ourselves for who we are? 

We must remove human opinion from its pedestal. We must regard God’s opinion as the basis for our femininity. I love how Jonalyn puts it: “It’s time to remove these stifling shoes and corsets so we can walk closer to Christ.”

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611ldbwioml_aa240_1.jpgI am in the process of reading Ruby Slippers by Jonalyn Grace Fincher.  The book so far is insightful and intriguing.  I was most fascinated by the introductory chapter, which delves into the dilemma of the “corsets” that we wear.

We all wear corsets. We often layer them, multiplying their effect, tightening the cords around our soul, until we look culturally appealing, Christianly appropriate, and feel wretchedly uncomfortable.

As I read this, I had to meditate on my own life. Jonalyn lists corsets that women may wear: the single corset, the sexy corset, the mother corset, the Christian wife corset, the working wife corset, and the list goes on. There are certain roles that others expect me to fulfill…the submissive wife, the doting mother, the office woman, the academic, etc.  These areas are not wrong, actually quite the opposite. The Bible commands me to be a loving and submissive wife and a good mother. Where we have seemed to miss it, is that we put on the “corset” to fit the given role because it is expected of us. We act a certain way and even speak in the tone that is expected in that role. We reduce ourselves to “act the part”. What we are actually doing is suffocating our souls.

Before God made me a wife or a working woman/college student, He made me a living soul, a female soul. In discovering who I am in Christ, I am made free and able to more completely fulfill the responsibilities He has given me. God created me with a personality, with certain gifts and talents.  So why am I content to simply wear the corsets that are assigned to me? Why are we all content to suffocate our souls?

I do not believe Jonalyn is advocating a woman (or man) freeing herself (or himself) of the commands that God has set forth. Rather I believe we have gotten our priorities skewed.  My primary responsibility as a child of God is to discover who He made me to be, and then I am able to filfill the secondary responsibilities. Rather than stuffing my soul into the wife corset, I am now able to be the wife God intends me to be.  Rather than tightening the cords to fit others’ expectations, I am free to live as Christ intends me to be.  Layering corsets stifles the soul, but Christ gives us the freedom to live as He designed us: as female (or male) souls.