Men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti, or so we generalize. The reference, of course, is to how men are thought to be compartmentalized and one-track-minded, while women tend to string things together like a big plate of sticky noodles. But I think women can be more like a plate of spaghetti and waffles when it comes to the different facets of our lives.
Sure, women can multi-task with the best of them…on the outside, that is. Inside is usually a different story. Our hearts are torn, guarded, distracted and catalogued. We have our different reasons for neglecting certain areas of our lives and feverishly cultivating others. It might be because of busyness, a temporary mode of survival or an intentional decision.
But my waffle propensities usually happen when I struggle to joyfully embrace what the Lord has called me to in a particular season. To overuse a cliché, I think the grass is greener on the other side. I put my effort and time into the responsibilities I like and try to pay as little attention as possible to the ones I don’t.
Can you relate? Maybe you’re a single woman chasing a career you never wanted to have. You’ve only ever dreamed of being a wife and mom. Maybe you’re married and long to have children, but to no avail. Or maybe you’re an empty-nester who’s not happy about going back to work. You liked your old job of 20+ years much better.
I’ve realized that this way of approaching things is sin for me. It’s ultimately rooted in an inner grumbling against God’s wisdom, goodness and plan. It’s a rebellion of sorts – not doing everything to his glory because I don’t want to be doing what I’m doing in the first place. Couldn’t he get more glory from something else?
So, here are a few things I’m trying to think differently about, hoping my heart will follow.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
There simply isn’t a one-size-fits all life in the Bible. I can’t superimpose one sister’s “haves” over mine. God has ordained different places, families, abilities, jobs, friends, stages of life and personalities for each of us (Acts 17). And all of them are being used for his glory. It’s hard for me to imagine how my daily, single, mundane grind will compare to someone else who has the life I want. But even attempting the comparison is foolishness (2 Cor. 10:12).
A Season for Everything
Our seasons of life change. Five years ago, I hadn’t even thought about doing what I’m doing today. And I have specific desires that I pray the Lord will fulfill 10 years from now. That doesn’t mean this time is a waste or that I’m free to scrimp by. I’m convicted that I’ve got to stop living for the next best thing or in light of the last best thing and give thanks to God for where he has me today (Eccl. 7:10). If I truly believe in his sovereignty – and that it’s good – my heart will generally be oriented toward pleasing him on a daily basis, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
This is the hardest for me to stomach. What happens when you want to be planted in another field – and you know that field is a good one? Specifically, as a single, I worry that putting roots down at my job (at a women’s ministry, mind you!) will mean that I never get married. Don’t worry; I know it’s irrational. But I still wrestle with it. Yet, I can’t resist the truth of God’s Word: my resistance is a passive complaint against his gracious provision (Ex. 16:8). Thanksgiving and faithfulness come harder many times, but it’s part of a good fight that God has promised to provide power for (2 Peter 1:3).
I love what Paul David Tripp wrote in an article I recently read. It addresses right where I am.
“The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is more of a mundane process than it is a series of a few dramatic events…And what is [God] doing? In these small moments, he is delivering every redemptive promise he has made to you…So, we wake up each day, committed to live in the small moments of our daily lives with open eyes and humbly expectant hearts.”
My perspective about my portion of moments is starting to change. With God’s help, I’ll do life where he’s put me, believing that my boundary lines are good (Ps. 16:6). And I’ll trust him with the rest. I might even try eating the whole spaghetti/waffle combo as a symbol of surrender.
As we seek to be women who please the Lord and walk by faith, we can be glad—because the thousands of little deaths that we die to ourselves and our dreams and our plans in obedience to his provision will one day give way to a measure of glory that will be utterly impossible to contain. And truly, truly, we’ll realize that the Lord is good and has done good all along.