Day Nine: 2 Things You Feel Strongly About

At first, I found this to be a pretty difficult writing prompt, because I'm typically a middle-of-the-road, able-to-see-both-sides-of-the-issue kind of person. But once I got going, I found it hard to stop!

1. Setting Goals (And Working to Achieve Them)

I've always been pretty goal-oriented. I've always had big, slightly crazy dreams, and I've made tiny steps of progress, hoping to propel myself a bit closer to making them reality. But after reading Just Don't Fall by Josh Sundquist (a really awesome guy who lost his leg to cancer as a little boy, went on to become a Paralympic ski racer, and is now a motivational speaker and successful YouTuber), I grew a lot more obsessed with goal-setting. I made yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. I pretty much created my own overly-complicated-sounding, difficult-to-explain, goal-setting method. (Oooh, today is apparently hyphen day.) I want to share my method on this blog, and I'm working on that. But for now, I'll say that basically, you just take a big goal and break it down into mini-goals.


Setting goals is so important! Unless you think you're perfect the way you are and have no room for improvement, you should always be setting goals. Always. No matter how old you get or how rich you get or how far you get in life, you should always strive to be more.

Okay. I think this is sounding more negative than positive. I don't mean that you should always feel inadequate and not good enough, and that no matter what you do, you should always keep striving for perfection. You'll never be perfect, and you shouldn't be upset with yourself when you can't get there. I do mean that you (and I certainly mean we) shouldn't get lazy or complacent.

Working in a high school, I'm around teenagers all the time. I talk to them about their aspirations and goals for the future. I get excited when I speak with the ones who have plans, actual plans, to become something more, a teacher or a doctor or a lawyer or whatever else, someone who will really contribute to society. ("I'll graduate high school, then I'm planning to go to community college for two years, since it's closer to home and costs less, then I'll transfer to the University of Alabama to complete my undergrad degree. And I'm already researching a few law schools now.") I just want to pat them on the back, hug them, encourage the mess right out of them!

Then there's the other kids.

The ones who show up to school sleepy-eyed, hands in their pockets, no books, no pencils, not even a clue as to what day it is. They come see me, the nurse, during class for no reason except to get out of class for a few minutes. And I ask them (I really do), "What are you planning to do after this? If you hate school so much that you won't even go to class, what are you going to do whenever you don't have to be here any more?" I get lots of shoulder shrugs and 'I dunno's. They talk about dropping out of school entirely. They say, "I guess I'll get a job," to which I reply, "Where? How? Who's going to hire you when you don't even have a high school diploma?" And most of them say they're perfectly content flipping patties at McDonald's.

I hate it when people, especially these intelligent, talented kids, don't care. When they have no drive. No motivation. No plans. They just do not care. And I'm over here like, WAKE UP! YOU'RE ALIVE FOR A REASON! SET SOME GOALS! DO SOMETHING! 

So, er, yes. I suppose I feel pretty strongly about setting goals. And putting forth the effort and hard work to meet them. Let's clear that up. You can "set goals" all day, but if you don't do anything to get there, you're just making a list of wishes.

2. Being A Lady

Yeah, it's overdone and overused now. But read those words. Think about them. Keep calm and carry on. That's a ladylike, even Christian, response to a difficulty, an unpleasant situation, or any unexpected bad thing. Turn the other cheek. Keep your chin up. Don't complain. Don't pitch a fit. Maintain your dignity and grace. Move on. Remain on track, unaffected. It's a great quote to live by.

Now, I love wasting time on Pinterest as much as the next girl, but I get more distressed each time I get on there and see what other girls are pinning. Things like this: (WARNING: rude, foul language ahead)

I saw where girls had repinned these with hashtags like: #lovethis!, #sotrue, #f***yeah.

I'm really concerned about our society. Women are straying farther and farther from femininity, modesty,  tastefulness, and elegance. Things like this make me lose hope in humanity.

My best friend Anna and I have been doing a Bible study together on Proverbs 31. The Virtuous Woman. A wife of noble character. The famous role model for Christian ladies.
"(11)Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good not harm all the days of her life. ...(17)She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. ...(22) She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. ...(25-27)She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."
I see her as this regal, majestic woman, clean and well-dressed, with bright eyes and a smile on her face. She has a soft voice, and she speaks with kindness. She doesn't gossip, blab, rant, slander, or bad-mouth. She certainly doesn't curse. She listens more than she talks, I'm sure.

(And before you try to argue about how sexist and degrading all this is, I'll point out in verse 17 that "She is energetic and strong, a hard worker." She is a very capable woman.)

I'm sorry if this offends you, but this is how we as women are called to behave (Really, we as followers of Christ in general, but I'm talking about being a lady right now). All the things your great-grandmother probably thought a lady should be? She was probably right. Cover up your private parts. Don't get drunk. Don't go chasing after men. Don't sleep around. Don't talk about sex. Or poop. Or gas. Don't curse. Have some manners and some decency.  Be polite. Be courteous. Have some sympathy for other people and do what you can to help meet their needs. Love your family. Take care of them.

Be. A. Lady.

If you feel like you can't do those things, well, talk to Jesus about it. I read an article by Aubry Smith about the Proverbs 31 woman and really loved what she said here:
"When we read Proverbs 31, we need to remember to jump ahead to the New Testament. Jesus - not a list of rules – makes a woman into a Proverbs 31 woman. He takes a controlling woman and teaches her to put others before themselves. He indwells the lazy woman and provides her with purpose and perseverance. He gives her the mind of Christ and instills wisdom in her over time. He breathes warmth into her cold heart and helps her become compassionate. He gives her strength in her weakness. He gives her dignity in her shame."
Such a beautiful way to put it. I personally struggle with complaining and griping and saying things I later regret. I use sarcasm often. I have a really hard time focusing on helping others before myself. But the Lord can change that, if we will only allow His Spirit to do so. 

Oh, so many strong feelings here today.


Lacey said...

*sigh* we were meant to be best friends! haha.

I am SOOOOOOOOOO in agreement with both of these points. Like, you have no idea how passionate I am about both of these! I spent a few years being one of THOSE kids... someone who had no idea what they wanted in life and happy to just bounce around and not accomplish anything. On top of all that I was also a bit crude and unlady-like. I mean, not full on cussing and farting in public, but definitely not the highest standard of a lady, either. Thankfully that only lasted a couple years and I realized I didn't want to live that way!

I am in such awe of the Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be just like her. I don't think about her enough. I think I'd like to take excerpts from it and hang them around my room so I remember on a daily basis the kind of woman I want to be!

Thanks for this fantabulous post! I wasn't offended at all :P

Jennifer said...

I'm so happy to hear you had a turn around! I'm trying to more mindful of the Proverbs 31 woman. It's just easy to forget sometimes to think before you speak or act. But I think your idea about hanging up excerpts is a very good one; I might try that!