From Emma's blog:
...This reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a friend. We were discussing what it is we pray for and she suddenly dropped a conversational bombshell.
'Every day', she said, 'I pray to be nice'.
You might think, well, what's wrong with that? But 'nice' to me... is what Kyrptonite is to Superman. It's a terrible word. An insipid, pastel-coloured emotion, laden with shoulds and oughts and good intentions and utterly devoid of passion.
However, when I suggested as much to this friend, she looked at me aghast. Now, to be fair, I could have been a little more sensitive. I didn't help matters by shouting 'You pray to be NICE? WHY? It's not an adjective, it's a biscuit. You're not nice! You'll never be nice! If you turn 'nice', our friendship is OVER'.
No-one is nice in the bible. I am so grateful my wife is not nice!
Her whole article
...and those who want to become like them will worship them.
Here's a gob-smacking 'prayer to Ana' from Emma's blog
I offer you my soul, my heart and my bodily functions. I give you all my earthly possessions.
I seek your wisdom, your faith and your feather weight...
Read the whole chilling prayer...
Really great post from Emma, drawing on a model of Dan Allender's - femininity goes awry in three directions:
After describing the types, Emma offers a way forwards:
Redemption, however, is not sweeping aside every aspect of our good/partying/tough personalities but making us more of our true selves not less. The good girl who wanted to be “sweet” and “nice” is now a true blessing because she has the courage to be strong as well as kind. The party girl who was “wild” now knows the fulfilment of her drives in Christ’s love as her passion for life includes and infects others. The tough girl who closed down and drove forwards has a new softness as she recognizes that her dependence is part of what makes her a genuine leader.
Can you see these ‘types’ in yourself? What would the redemption of those patterns look like?
Go and have your say...
Time and again Emma and I see passionate Christian women who take to hating their passions. And they can find any number of pastel-coloured women's devotional books to bash these feelings back down.
From Emma's blog...
"A few weeks ago I was looking with a friend at some photos of her as a young girl, before she came to faith. She said she felt like a completely different person to the girl in the pictures. And there was so much to celebrate in that! But amongst the genuine joy for the Lord's work in her life, she commented that she felt some sadness too. As we talked, she explained that when she became a Christian she felt she needed to renounce, not just past behaviours, but the more exuberant parts of her personality. As a Christian, she felt that these passions were inappropriate. What’s interesting, is that they still come out – but in distorted ways. And this just reinforces her own feelings of worthlessness. Which in turn makes her want to kill those desires all the more."
What does self-control mean for Christians? For women? And for Christian women whose self-mastery is so strong they can deny themselves even food?!
Will-power ain't the solution! Will-power is the problem. And redoubled efforts in another direction won't solve it.
Something needs to get at those passions - to stop stuffing, slicing or starving them!
Read Emma's whole piece.