My Dear “Kindred Spirit,”
I am tired and sweaty and dehydrated. My feet hurt from high heels, there’s way too much paint on my face that I still need to wash off, and I hope that whoever invented upper underwear had to wear it every day of their life (sorry, if you’re a kindred spirit of the male persuasion I know that one is a little too much information…).
But I’m alive, and still pumped up with adrenaline (and chocolate ice cream – I just finished off a carton of it all by myself).
Today was my “little” (she’s 17) sister’s dance recital. I was a part of it also, because I’m the music teacher at her dance studio, so I accompanied the Musical Theater class. They (we) did Mary Poppins as the first act of the show.
Music – playing and performing music – makes me come alive. As a musician, I constantly have gigs to play, and while I tend to whine and moan about them beforehand (“I’ve got that damned concert I gotta do this Friday…”), when I’m up there in front of people, playing my piece, I just come alive. I am touching my audience in the best way I know how – through music – and it energizes me. I have so much fun and… well, the best way I can think to put it is just that it makes me come alive!
My sister is the same way with dance. And acting. She gets up on a stage, playing a character, and she comes alive. She dances her solo, and it’s like you can see her heart and soul. You watch her come alive, and it’s a beautiful sight! (Sorry for all the poetic nonsense… Honestly, I’m not usually all “rainbows and unicorns” like this!)
But this has me thinking about something else, also.
There is a mindset in some “Conservative Christian” groups that it is not a good thing for a woman to have a dream, a vision like that, of her own. For her to be passionate about something outside the home, and do what makes her come “alive.”
We like to say about marriage that “the two become one.” What I’ve heard far too often from the Conservative Christian crowd is something more along the lines of “the two become him.”
God gives everyone talents to be developed and used. God gives everyone a dream, a passion, something that makes them come alive. And then God can use that passion to minister to others.
In the mindset I grew up in, however, I received the message far too many times that once a woman is married, she follows his (as in, her husband’s) dream. I can remember that idea really bothering me even when I was much younger (“You mean, if I ever get married, I probably won’t be able to play organ at churches anymore? Or do concerts? Or play piano?? NOOOOO!!!!”)
Now, being that I’m already shocking myself with how “feministy” this is starting to sound, let me hasten to clarify that I am a HUGE believer in traditional men’s and women’s roles. The Bible says that the man should be the leader, and the woman is to follow (and, yes, obey) his leadership. Believe me when I tell you (unfortunately from experience) that God sure knew what he was talking about with that one!
But I think we women have to be very careful that we don’t let this turn into “don’t have a life or dream of your own. Just follow whatever your man’s passion is.”
Because I’ve been there. I have tried to follow someone else’s dream. I’ve tried to make it my own and live and breathe that vision. I have been tempted to drop my whole life (I didn’t, thankfully) – multiple times – and go live my brother’s vision. (Yeah, I know. How lame is that, that the dude in my life that I end up following is my brother? There’s a whole other letter I can write talking about that, but I’ll save it for another day…). And let me tell you something:
It doesn’t work.
My dear kindred spirit, you need your own vision! You need your own passion. Something that you do that is unique to you and makes you come alive!! You can’t follow another person’s passion and expect it to magically turn you on and make you come alive. You need to use the talents God gave you.
I understand everyone has seasons in their life. In some seasons – such as parenthood – I can certainly understand that there may be less time for your passions. In some situations, it may be dang near impossible to use those talents. But don’t give up that dream! Don’t give up the vision God has placed in your heart.
And for the girls out there, please don’t let being a man’s helpmate, assisting him in following his dreams and his passions, drown out your own talents. Use your talents to assist him. Use your talents to minister to others. Use your talents to bring glory to God. The important thing is – use your talents!!
Don’t try to replace your vision and talents with another person’s.
Live, my friend. Live your life. Come alive!!