My husband has a test that he often applies– it can be summed up with this question, “What would ‘The Man’ do?” For as long as I’ve known him, he has had this image in his mind of the kind of man he wants to be when he is 65 or 70 years old. The Man is well-read, wise, full of grace, generous, and a master musician. He knows how to build things- from furniture to guitars. He knows philosophy, church history, and has read the classics. He loves his friends well and spends his time wisely. He speaks truth and above all, he follows Christ.
I think he has pieced The Man together from biographies he’s read of Schaeffer and Wilberforce, the writings of countless theologians, and the older men in his life that he looks up to and respects. Regardless of where exactly The Man came from, he is a very real motivating factor in how Michael spends his time and what he chooses to pursue.
Contrast this with what I, and most women I know, tend to do. We compare ourselves with other women in our social spheres. We notice their clothes and hair, their homes, their children. We comment on how fabulous they look and how quickly they lost the baby weight. We spend our time reading Facebook and magazines to discover who we should try to be.
Back in June, I attended a women’s conference held by The Gospel Coalition (TGC). TGC was founded by Tim Keller and D.A. Carson, with folks like John Piper, Matt Chandler, Mark Dever, and CJ Mahaney making up the board. The theme of the conference was “Here is Our God.” To be a women’s conference, it was surprisingly not focused on women, and that was their intention. Something that was repeated often that weekend was that “this conference is for women, but it isn’t about women. It’s about God.” What I love so much about TGC is the reminder that the Bible isn’t about me, it’s about God.
I heard some great new speakers, my favorites being Paige Benton Brown and Kathleen Nielson. I learned a lot of theology, but more than that, I came away with a vision for what I now think of as The Woman. The speakers were inspiring– they were deep and lovely, full of grace and wisdom.They were teaching other women theology and raising their children to know the true God.
The Woman I want to be when I’m 65 or 70 is wise and gracious. She loves her family and friends well and has time to spend on others. She reads books that matter. More than that, The Woman has spent the last 30+ years reading books that matter and raising her children to do the same. She knows theology and church history. She pursues passions like photography and writing.
I am a long way from being The Woman, but that’s okay. The things I do today and tomorrow matter– the people I love on and the books I read will shape me into who I will become. I may not have consistent quiet times or even understand what I read when I do, but I think I’m growing. I’ve been shaken up a bit recently and the result is a much sharper understanding of what matters, and what doesn’t. Here’s to pursuing what matters and leaving the rest behind.