Lyrics from Stacie Orrico’s “Strong Enough.”

I brought Captivating (John and Stasi Eldredge) with me to school today, and read about a chapter (end of one chapter to middle of next…?) before and after History class.

(DISCLAIMER: NONE of the passages from Captivating are mine. I’ve included the pages for reference. Nobody’s asking or paying me to write this stuff down; I’m just doing it for my own knowledge/benefit.) 

Chapter Nine is titled “Arousing Adam,” and one of the first paragraphs states that “True femininity arouses true masculinity. Think about it—all those heroes in all those tales play the hero because there is a woman in his life, a true Beauty who is his inspiration (149).”

Stasi and John go on to discuss how “a man’s deepest wounds come from the way his Question was answered in his youth. … Every man is wounded. As he was growing up, he looked to his father to answer his Question. The result was often devestating.”

They go on to talk about a few men who were hurt by their fathers: one was called a “faggot” because he was a musician and still struggles with being “unmanly”; one was told that he was “such a mama’s boy” and to this day struggles with “not being man enough”; John’s father essentially abandoned him, leaving him confused and determined to prove that was a real man.

Men are searching for validation, just as women are.

Too many of them go to Eve for that validation, just as too many women go to Adam for theirs.

John says on page 151 that “I’ve tried in every way to help men understand that no woman can tell you who you are as a man. Masculinity is bestowed by masculinity. It cannot come from any other source. … A man goes to Eve to offer his strength. He does not go to her to get it.

“Now, the same holds true for you, Eve.

“You cannot take your Question to Adam. You cannot look to him for the validation of your soul. But so many women do. If I have a man, then I’m okay. Then I’m loved.

They go on to talk about adolescence in girls, and validation.

Then, on page 152, “No man can tell you who you are as a woman.”

And on page 153, “We cannot love Adam while we are looking to him to validate us. It will usher in too much fear. If he’s the verdict on us as a woman, we won’t be able to truly and freely offer him our beauty. We’ll hold it back in fear.”

On 155, the Eldredges say (after discussing seduction, etc), “Your message to your man is either, “Sugar, you have what it takes,” or “I don’t think you are much of a man. Want to prove me wrong?” The same is true for a woman. Your heart responds very differently to the pressure to be beautiful, “You’re going out in that?” as opposed to the assurance that you are beautiful, “Sweetheart, you look so lovely tonight.” A woman wants to feel beautiful. The strength of a good man makes her feel so. A man wants to feel strong. The beauty of a good woman makes him feel so.”

That’s true, isn’t?

I know I would respond more positively to “You look nice/pretty/beautiful” rather than being asked about my clothing choice.

Wouldn’t you?

You cannot go solely to men for validation, just as we are not the sole validation for men.

God must come first. See page 152, “Only God can tell you who you are. Only God can speak the answer you need to hear. That is why we spoke of the Romance with him first. It comes first. It must. It has to. Adam is a far too unreliable source–amen!”

And later, on page 153, “But our core validation, our primary validation has to come from God. And until it does, until we look to him for the healing of our souls, our relationships are really hurt by this looking-to-each-other for something only God can give.”

That’s part of why “Strong Enough” is linked at the beginning of this post.

The last few verses are what I think fits best with the idea from C9 of Captivating:

Will my weakness for an hour make me suffer for a lifetime?
Is there anyway to be made whole again?
If I’m healed,renewed, and find forgiveness find the strength I’ve never had
Will my scars forever ruin all God’s plan?

Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out, and start again
Is He not brave enough?
To take one chance on me
Please can I have one chance to start again?

He took my life into his hands and it turned it all around
In my most desperate circumstance
It’s there I’ve finally found

That You are strong enough
That You are pure enough
To break me, pour me out and start again
That You are brave enough
To take one chance on me
Oh Thank You for my chance to start again

We — all of us, men and women — need to draw strength from God.

Not other people.

People can help, but it’s gotta come from God first.

We’re weak and broken people, and we need God to pick us up and put us back together.

See:

Psalm 27:1

Psalm 105:4

Isaiah 40:28-31

Isaiah 41:10

Ephesians 6:10

And heck, Google “verses on strength” or something. I got these off a webpage, although a few of them I’ve read before.

Going back to “Strong Enough”–the weakness bit:

2 Cor. 12:9-10

When we are weak, He is strong.

Yes, I just referenced a children’s song.

Deal with it. =P

So, strength and validation.

They’re important, and they have to come from God.

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