Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Gawker's Reflection

So I'm listening to a Paul Washer lecture. (If you're curious, this is it.) Perhaps it was a mistake, because it's finals week and I probably should be writing my paper on second wave feministic rhetorical theory. (Believe me, the irony is not lost on me!) Right now he's saying that girls who can't boil water aren't qualified to disciple people. So, I mean, you know. But while there's some crazy stuff in here, there's also some excellent biblical advice at times, too. 

I'm partly listening with a critical and argumentative ear. I partly want to affirm my perception of how twisted some of this doctrine is. I'm partly listening for sensationalist reasons. (Which, admittedly, is not super edifying in itself.) But part of why I'm listening is curiosity, too. I want to hear the other side. I want to see how I stack up. I don't want to be a kid anymore, I want to made this rending transition into adulthood, and if he has some valid things to say about that, I want to listen. 

So would Paul Washer approve of me? Probably not . . . I don't share some of his doctrine, I'm not a whiz seamstress, I'm a student at a public university, I'm en route to a sixty hours per week career, I wear jeans and have a rebellious spirit. But on the other hand, I can cook and clean. I guess I can kind of run a household. I'm pretty good at bargain shopping. Can I mold my life around my husband? I suppose I have to. I love Jesus. That has to count for something. 

Am I prepared to manage a family? The big thing he keeps harping on is this idea that singleness is meant for preparation to train up children and raise a family. This is so foreign to me! I'm not one of these girls who always pined for a family and a billion kids. It's a monstrous responsibility, too much to plan and hope for so casually. To assume that a family is what God has in store for me. "When I have kids of my own--" is a stupid phrase. But Paul Washer says that only a handful of people in the whole world are called to singleness, so I guess he's working off the assumption that the odds of a family are in my favor. 

When I think about my future, I don't model it around a specific picture of 2.7 kids and a white picket fence. (Though, maybe I should?) But my sister is not like me, she just wants to have a family. She is incredibly skilled with kids, and an all-around resourceful, loving person, and she just wants to be done with school and move on with her life. She looks at her future differently than I look at mine, with a family as a given. She has a calling I have yet to tap into. And when questioned about the concrete, about a potential fellow and possible steps into this calling, she replied, "Yeah, he's great, but I'm looking for someone more grounded in Christ." And I thought (on his behalf), "Ouch."

But this is Paul Washer kind of comes through for her, for me. That if you want to be in a relationship, if you want to get married, if you want to live your life alongside someone else, you must know Scripture. You have to be grounded in understanding of who God is and what it means to follow Him. You have to be sold out for Him. He has to be the center, the most important thing, and one has no business seeking another person if they are not first seeking Him. And this is something my mom has always told us, to love Jesus more than anyone else. To marry someone who loves Jesus more than you. And I don't agree with more than half of the things he's said so far, but that? I can get behind that.

Of course, now in the lecture Paul Washer is saying that guys who don't know how to use jumper cables shouldn't consider starting a relationship. Because apparently car battery maintenance is an essential component of manhood. But, you know. To the pure, all things are pure. Take the good, leave the bad.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This has been my best semester so far. I have dialed back on my commitments, I am setting realistic expectations, I am getting stuff done. I am in only wonderful classes with only wonderful professors who seem to like me and want me to succeed. Do you know what it's like to have professors who are rooting for you? It's wonderful. Finally, I am comfortable where I am. 

This semester has also been one of turning a corner. I have two semesters left after this. Only two, and then I'm thrown into the harsh, cruel world of unemployment and incompetence. And am I prepared to compete in the job market? Oh the hours I've spent agonizing over my resume! The interesting opportunities I've neglected for lack of time. The perfect experiences I've passed up for rote commitments. I'm not ready. It's all coming at me too fast. 

And as I critically survey what I've done with my time in school aside from coursework, I see that it hasn't been much of anything. That I have engaged in little of much significance, that I've mostly been puttering around, trying to keep my grades up. Trying to make just enough money to keep myself out of debt. I have been too unconcerned with whatever's supposed to come after this. Intent on survival I have considered the college afterlife very little. 

I feel I could topple over from the mysterious vagueness of the question, "What on earth is going to happen to me?" 

I spent last night watching inspirational videos with various incriminating titles such as "What I'd Tell a Pre-Law School Me," and a more blunt one, "Don't Go to Law School." The promise of competition gags me: the hustling to get in, the thrust to survive the first year, the striving to attain judicial clerkships or a spot on the law review, and the cutthroat battle for job placement once degrees have been finally earned. An empathetic weariness settles deep in my bones when I think about it. 

I don't want striving. I don't want to be stretched out and spread too thin, pushing and pulling to make the edges of my life overlap. I don't want to be manically searching for the next opportunity to boost myself up a rung. I don't want to be competing, pit against myself and others. I am weak, brittle. I crack and then fold under pressure. I know that I am not made of the mettle of exceeding expectations. All I can ask for, all I really want is to be comfortable

And that is horrifying and frightening. 

Where is the girl who loathed the white picket fence and the nine-to-five and the safe, secure routine of things? Did she crumble with my self-efficacy? Did her passions fade, or did they morph to the point of unintelligibility? When will it be time for me to pour out instead of soak up? When will I finally be grown up? To write off my transitional angst is to stake my claim with comfort, that this (too) will pass.