Unveiling The Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by by Stasi Eldredge
These are just some notes I took from Chapter 1 of Captivating:
- Unseen, Unsought, and Uncertain – “I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I’ve ever met feels it – something deeper than just the sens of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and, I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not think enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on our deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone.
- After all, if we were better women – whatever that means – life wouldn’t be so hard. Right? We wouldn’t have so many struggles; there would be less sorrow in our hearts. Why is it so hard to create meaningful friendships and sustain them? Why do our days seem so unimportant, filled not with romance and adventure but with duties and demands? We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us. We feel unsought – that no one has the passion or the courage to pursue us, to get past our messiness to find the woman deep inside. And we feel uncertain – uncertain what it even means to be a woman; uncertain what it truly means to be feminine; uncertain if we are or ever will be.
- Aware of our deep failings, we pour contempt on our own hearts for wanting more. Oh, we long for intimacy and for adventure; we long to be the Beauty of some great story. But the desires set deep in our hearts seem like a luxury, granted only to those women who get their acts together. The message to the rest of us – whether from a driven culture or a driven church – is try harder.
- The Heart of a Woman – And in all the exhortations we have missed the most important thing of all. We have missed the heart of a woman.And that is not a wise thing to do, for as the Scriptures tell us, the heart is central. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life” (Prov 4:23). Above all else. Why? Because God knows that our heart is core to who we are. It is the source of all our creativity, our courage, and our convictions. It is the fountainhead of our faith, our hope, and of course, our love. This “wellspring of life” within us is the very essence of our existence, the center of our being. Your heart as a woman is the most important thing about you.Think about it: God created you as a woman. “God created man in his own image … male and femal he created them” (Gen 1:27). Whatever it means to bear God’s image, you do so as a woman. Female. That’s how and where you bear his image. Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities – as a reflection of God’s own heart. You are a woman to your soul, to the very core of your being. And so the journey to discover what God meant when he created woman in his image – when he created you as a woman – that journey begins with your heart. Another way of saying this is that the journey begins with desire…..Listen to your own heart and the hearts of the women you know. What is it that a woman wants? What does she dream of? Think again of women like Tamar, Ruth, Rahab – not very “churchy” women, but women held up for esteem in the Bible. We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.
- Ruth may have been an lovely, strong woman, but it is to her unrelenting courage and vulnerability and faith in God that Boaz is drawn. Esther is the most beautiful woman in the land, but it is her bravery and her cunning, good heart that moves the king to spare her people. This isn’t about dresses and makeup. …Don’t you recognize that a woman yearns to be seen, and to be thought of as captivating? We desire to posses a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.
- The Heart of a Man – …. Every man wants a battle to fight. It’s the whole thing with boys and weapons. …. Men are made for battle. … Women don’t fear a man’s strength if he is a good man. In fact, passivity might make a man “safe,” but it has done untold damage to women in the long run. It certainly did to Eve (more on that later).Men also long for adventure. … Adventure is a deeply spiritual longing in the heart of every man. Adventure requires something of us, puts us to the test. Though we may fear the test, at the same time we yearn to be tested, to discover that we have what it takes.Finally, every man longs for a Beauty to rescue. He really does. … You see it’s not just that a man needs a battle to fight. He needs a someone to fight for. There is nothing that inspires a man to courage so much as the woman he loves. …Now – can you see how the desires of a man’s heart and the desires of a woman’s heart were at least meant to fit beautifully together? A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man, it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero. Would that we all were so fortunate.
This was something my mom said after reading this chapter. She has been married 40+ years.
I am in chapter five of Captivating now. As you read this book please keep an open mind to the Holy Spirit. You will notice I did not say heart only mind. My reasoning behind this statement is this, We women would love to have everything this book describes so far, (our heart wants this), but if you use your mind this is not feasible, if you live only following your heart you will have a miserable marriage and or relationship. In my first years of marriage I lived by my heart, I had all the desires that our described in this book so far. In a more perfect world (the one God intended) we could all have this. I have learned over the years that each man has his own way of showing you his love and caring for you. If you insist on approaching life in any situation with only your heart, you will get hurt and be discontent. I have learned this through experience.
Now I do not mean that you must compromise you self in any way. I always made the statement that I did not need any one to burn a bra to liberate me. I was as liberated as I chose to be. (Remember I grew up in the sixties where women were burning their bras as a statement of liberation) My concern is this, today’s world has put so much emphasis on discovering your enter self and this can be a good thing. I see that a good thing about this book is that it explains why we women have some of the feelings we experience, and that is a good thing. So far the thing I don’t like about it is that it seems like our happiness as a women depends on our man and or our friend. Our happiness depends on our relationship with God and the rest is secondary.
You must always demand respect in any relationship especially marriage. Work on the respect first and many of the desires of you heart will follow. And as always pray and listen to the Spirit.