[notice]The second part of a 2-part introductory article by Anna Heydenrych whose column will be published fortnightly in Gateway News[/notice]
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller
Last week, I introduced the notion that although women are all uniquely and wonderfully made individuals, there are certain characteristics that we have in common.
I put forward that I had four uniquely feminine and womanly characteristics in mind, and number one was; we talk more. This week, I will explore three more characteristics, which in my opinion women share (in varying degrees). These are; we love romance, we want to be beautiful and we cry more. Let me elaborate…
We love romance
Can you think of an existing storyline (film or novel) that does not contain the theme of romance or a theme involving a hero who needs to rescue someone or something (or the whole world for that matter)?
If you think about the narrative thread that runs through the Bible, you will notice that these two themes existed long before Hollywood came along. In fact, God’s mysterious plan of salvation that has been playing out for the last few thousand years, is about a romance between Himself and his creation and about the ultimate Saviour, Christ, who sacrificed himself to conquer death, and who will return at a predetermined time to ultimately rid the world of evil and rescue God’s people.
So, what has this got to do with uniquely feminine and womanly characteristic number two? Well, women love romance. I like to think that God has placed this aspect of his grand story in the hearts of women.
My husband identifies with the action scenes in the movies we watch, the scenes where the hero has to fight off hordes of baddies and becomes involved in dramatic car chases in order to save the day. I, on the other hand will be waiting for the scene when the hero and his leading lady are reunited and he declares his undying love to her, and all is well. I really enjoy this parallel between our innate love of romance as women, and God’s romancing of his people. I think it is no co-incidence that we carry this story in our hearts, and that women and men carry two pieces of a story that belong together.
I like to think that our womanly love of romance has been bestowed on us in order to reflect the great love that God has for us, and to assist us humans in understanding more about our creator. Perhaps men can learn something about the heart of God from us women. And perhaps men, too, are reflecting God’s character when they identify with the battle that the hero needs to undertake in order to save the day.
We want to be beautiful
Every morning I spend time in front of the mirror applying my makeup and fixing my hair. I then put a few minutes thought into what I should wear, dress myself, and make a few turns in front of the mirror to make sure that I look okay from all angles. I have a collection of products that I have bought in order to enhance myself, from moisturiser, to hairspray, to tweezers, to nail polish… And I’m guessing you do too.
I spend my time and money on these things because I want to feel beautiful. There is something in us women that desires to be attractive to others. We all know about the image of beauty portrayed to us through the world, and often this becomes our ideal. But the Bible speaks of the real beauty that we should be aiming for:
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. — 1 Peter 3 vs 3-4
I have never paged through a glossy magazine, put it down and felt better about myself. The airbrushed, flawless beauty of the world is impossible for me to achieve. Why do I bother? God has given us tips on how to achieve lasting beauty, and this beauty is within our reach. Have you ever met a woman who by living out God’s principles has a character so beautiful that those around her are attracted to her and hold her in great esteem? We were not all made to be supermodels, but we were all made with the potential to be like the woman I just described.
I believe that the desire that woman have to be beautiful is given to us by God and we are created to be adored and appreciated. When we understand the importance and significance of aspiring to inner beauty, we will also put the right emphasis on our outer beauty by wearing pretty things and looking after ourselves. I think that this is okay, especially when we do it for that special man in our lives.
We cry more
The last characteristic to end off this two part introduction to my column is; women cry more. Again, each woman is different and will show her emotions in different ways. But in general, I think it is true to say that we women know how to express ourselves when we need to, and sometimes when we don’t need to. Using our emotions to manipulate situations is something we need to watch out for, but we should not be afraid to display our feelings when we are stirred by something that touches us deeply. One of my best friends is an example of a woman who responds to the world by outwardly displaying her inner heart, and she has a beautiful heart so it’s a beautiful thing when she cries because something has touched her.
Again, I think that this characteristic is God-given, and if this is true then there must be purpose in it. The world needs the heartfelt emotion and compassion of women. The world needs women; it needs our soft hearts, our beauty, our gentleness and without a doubt, the world needs romance.