http://www.girlsgonewise.com/the-superwoman-complex-the-godless-proverbs-31-woman/ (Also included in it's entirety at the bottom of this blog.)
The Superwoman Complex- The Godless Proverbs 31 Woman
November 1, 2010
Superwoman complex: A woman’s desire to be excellent at all her roles (leader, professional, mother, wife, etc.), that often leads to psychological stress or an expectation of being a Superwoman that can and should do everything.
If you look this term up in the dictionary, you’ll find my picture next to it. I didn’t realize I fit into this category until a few months ago. I was new to marriage, taking summer school, cooking dinner 3-4 times a week, working out every day, involved in church ministry, working 40 hours a week, reading 200 pages a day for class, trying to be a friend, daughter, and the perfect wife. I was exhausted and didn’t even have kids yet! But after working 10 hours one Saturday afternoon, I finally broke down.
Why was I so upset, so exhausted? My husband was well fed, the house was clean, I was making good grades, and church ministry was going well. It seemed like I was doing what the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to do, so why was I breaking down? What’s wrong with being Superwoman?
1. Superwoman is Too Busy for God.
At the end of every day being “Superwoman,” I was exhausted and needed a good night’s sleep to be able to save the day again. I told God, “I’m too busy for you. I have to do everything tomorrow and need my sleep so I can’t read your Word.” The way God was going to speak to me and bring me peace, contentment, and joy was what I was rejecting. Scripture breathes life into our souls and I was becoming spiritually and physically exhausted without it.
The Proverbs 31 woman is refreshed daily, speaks with wisdom, and is exemplary because she seeks the source of all wisdom and faithful instruction….God. (Prov. 31:24). I was doomed for failure as Superwoman because I didn’t have the one thing that would revive my soul everyday (Ps. 19:7). Rather than trying to be Superwoman, I needed to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman, seeking the Lord and His Word, which brings light to the eyes and joy to the heart (Ps.19:8).
2. Superwoman Thinks She Can Save the Day.
When you try to be a superhero, there’s no room for God to save the day. I thought I could do it all on my own and, foolishly, I thought I didn’t need God’s help. I was the controller of my life, not God. When He is not your center, when He is not in control, your life will not be peaceful or successful (Prov. 3:5-6).
If you’re trying to be Superwoman, you will eventually fail and break down (Prov. 14:12), but when God is in control, there is peace and rest. I was putting my trust in myself which seems pretty stupid when I think about it, because I’m a sinful, simpleton of a woman. Why was I trusting in that kind of person when I have a Savior who is perfect (Ps. 18:30), loving, strong, in control of the entire world and wants to do good for me (Deut. 30:16, Ps. 37:4-5)? That’s who I want to save the day!
3. Superwoman Tries to Be Perfect.
A lot of Christian women think of the Proverbs 31 woman as a type of Superwoman. She’s Susie-homemaker, smart, good with money, can sew, and her husband and children think she’s the best. She’s perfect!
God requires His daughters to be like that, right? Aren’t all those things in Scripture? They are and God does want them from us but there’s a big difference between Superwoman and the Proverbs 31 woman. The difference is: God.
You can do all the actions of the Proverbs 31 woman but if your heart isn’t God-centered then you’re just a Superwoman destined to fail. God knows that only He and His Son, Jesus Christ are perfect, so why are we trying to be perfect in every area? Is it so you’ll appear to be the most talented girl in the dorm, the best wife in your small group, or the most desirable single woman? Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of all these “Me”-driven motives. The Superwoman complex is centered on: Self.
God does not value outward perfection, awards, or praises from man like we do. The only thing God requires is that we seek Him and fear Him, like the Proverbs 31 woman (Prov. 31:30). God doesn’t call us to be Superwomen; he calls us to be godly women.
When you put your long to-do lists and full schedules on His shoulders the burden is much lighter because He’s carrying it for you (Matt. 11:28). He knows you can’t handle the weight of being Superwoman. You’ll collapse under it, like I did.
If you have been like the Proverbs 31 woman, putting everything in God’s hands, thank you! You’ve been an example to your sisters and we need more women like you. I pray I become more like you and less like Superwoman.
So let’s all take off the cape and let God save the day
This blog really spoke to me. As a Pastor's wife, I have been continually pressured to fit into other's perceptions of a Proverbs 31 woman. I have also been judged because to some, I don't fit into their image of a Proverbs 31 woman. So I liked that this blog really brought out that the Proverbs 31 woman is first and foremost a spiritual woman. The Spirit forms us into the image of the Proverbs 31 woman that HE desires for US. He makes us the kind of helpmate that we need to be and it may look very different in every woman and in every household-practically speaking. Still, when you meet a Proverbs 31 woman in spirit, she is easily recognizable because they all look alike in attitude and demeanor.
This means that we have to spend time in the Spirit's presence because that is where He changes and forms us.
As a woman with a Franklin day planner, I know how easy it can be to regulate God's presence in my life to a block of time called devotions. I have been guilty of sitting down to read my Bible and throw up a prayer so that I can check God off of my to-do list for the day. Someone told me once "well at least God is on your to-do list", but I disagree.
Many years ago I was walking and praying at a retreat center we were staying at with a group of college kids. As I walked I was lamenting to God about the amount of time my husband and I could spend alone and just generally where I wished our relationship would be different. As I poured out my heart to him concerning my husband's shortcomings in this area, God spoke very clearly to me and he said "I feel the same way about you." What a dagger pierced my heart! I realized that I was doing the same thing to God that I felt my husband was doing to me. I would have never heard God say that if I had just regulated him to my 30 minute devotional time where I was just trying to accomplish my religious duties for the day.
From that day forward I established a practice in my life. When I went into my time with God, I determined that I would not leave until I knew that I had been with Him and He had been with me. Through the years this has meant anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours. It has included reading the Word, prayer, worship, thanksgiving, intercession, or any combination of these things. I just let God decide. In all the years I've practiced this, God has never once made me late for an important appointment, my children never suffered, and He gave me grace and strength to get everything done in my day that needed to be done.
At times it meant that my house was not immaculate. (Seriously I can't blame that on God. I'm just not a very good house cleaner.) It may have meant that the clothes sat in the dryer and were a little more wrinkly than they would have been if I had heeded the alarm buzzer that told me they were done drying. It may have meant that I went to the park alone instead of with the other women that went at a certain time everyday. It may have meant that supper was a little late but I can honestly say that my husband either never noticed or didn't care. However, it has meant that I have had a vital, active, intimate relationship and fellowship with God. I didn't allow excuses. Truly using your children as an excuse is just inexcusable.
Choosing your schedule over God as your first priority is a big, red flag that there is something not right in your heart! You are tied to the things of the world. Test your heart. Ask yourself this question, if I treated my husband and children the way I treat God, if I interacted with them the way I do, or don't do, with God, would our relationships be thriving, healthy, and joyful? Don't shortchange God. You can't afford it! It will cost you dearly in all the things you are scurrying around trying to accomplish.
Martin Luther once said something to this effect. "On my busiest days, I spend twice the amount of time in prayer than I normally do." You know, God cannot resist getting all up in your business when you have this attitude. You will be surprised at how smoothly your day can run, how quickly things seem to get accomplished, and how different your attitudes, reactions and emotions will be when you have made God the #1 priority of your day.