I’m going to apologise in advance as this post is largely about myself, so it might have limited relevance to other people! That said, perhaps other people might be able to identify with the sentiments expressed here.
There was once this incident in the somewhat distant past where I referred to myself as bad wife material. Actually that “bad wife material” incident was one of the things that helped me learn how to be honest about myself and yet positive as I aim to be on this blog, and in a way missteps like that were necessary to get to some of the things that I now understand. However remembering that particular phrase always makes me cringe, for two reasons:
Firstly I was just as confident of my aspirations to marital excellence then, as I am now. So Tosin, why did you say something that was not true? I thought that that was what humility was – putting yourself down. At that point I was so determined to demonstrate phenomenal humility…it is partly due to that one incident that I decided/realised that no, actually humility is emphatically not about putting yourself down or talking badly about yourself. This is a subject that I have recently covered on my other blog, Tosin’s Bible Blog, in “Thoughts about humility”.
(All that said, at the time I was also feeling quite low about myself and feeling quite clearly inadequate, without knowing why I failed to manage what seemed to come effortlessly to other people, which is a recipe for depression.)
Secondly, I can’t believe that I let my own words work to pull me down, especially in something so manifestly untrue. It is bad enough when other people try to pull you down, but here it was I myself! I have since discovered that for me speaking negatively about myself is another quick route to depression. On this blog yes, I do aim to be honest about my own failings. However that is within a context of making it clear that on the whole I pursue excellence, and I actually do pursue it with energy and determination and endless prayer! Negativity is different from honesty in that with honesty you can acknowledge all the positive growth that you have achieved, and you can also anticipate positive things even about the areas that you are still working on, whereas negativity does not give any positive aspects to dwell on.
So yes, I definitely want to “set the record straight”, purely for my own benefit, and as I previously let my own words pull me down, now also let my own words correct the balance, and make it clear that then, as much as now, my expectations of myself as a wife were only excellent, being confident of the ongoing empowerment of God. Now though, by God’s grace, God has helped me to work through my inadequacies, real and imagined. By the grace of God I aspire to be as excellent as a wife could be, as God could possibly make me.
I must also admit that I was quite upset at the time that my statement was not recognised for what it was: a breathtaking and frankly quite unprecedented expression of humility, especially as I was also feeling quite low about myself. I think other people might have confidently expected to be interpreted as expressing humility if they had made similar statements. It is like, for example, when some Christians refer to themselves as “the worst of sinners”…
These days, I do not even bother to make any elaborate plays of humility in this way, opting instead for absolute candour. That is superlative wife material, thank you very much – or at least that is my aspiration.
That said, for a (superlative!) Christian, earth-shattering humility is still earth-shatteringly essential, even if it is not recognised by others for what it is. My blog post that I have previously spoken about, “Thoughts about humility” on my other blog goes some way to try to understand what truly does or does not constitute humility.
And yet, I have had cause to sit up and think – as wife material, will I really be as excellent as I tend to take for granted? I am not bragging, but I am going to suggest that the answer to that is “Yes” and “No”.
Let’s deal with the “No” part first. Actually, I think that in a way it is more “No” than yes, just because there are far more men for whom I would be a very bad wife than there are men for whom I would be an excellent wife. Perhaps here I am once again, yet again, demonstrating my low expectations of men… I think that for many men, without realising it, their expectations of marriage basically involve a wife who is like a Personal Assistant. So they would expect to provide financially for the home, perhaps, and their wives would manage the home and look after them and sort out issues and do the grocery shopping etc…and generally be like their personal assistant. I’ve been in homes where the husband and wife will be sitting together in the same place at the same time, for instance, possibly watching TV, and hubby darling will ask wifey dearest to get him a glass of water. And up she’ll get. It is not like she is already in the kitchen, or already in the process of getting herself some water. That is the kind of thing I mean.
4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Photo of bridal shoes and flowers by Lorraine on Pixabay