After reading and loving AJ Jacob’s hilarious book, The Year of Living Biblically, where a guy decides to try and take a literal approach to the Bible and follow it for an entire year, I came across the female companion book in A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I downloaded it on Kindle, preparing to have a few evening laughs in bed while Potamus was sleeping. What I found, was myself crying (or tearing up) more often than I laughed!
Where AJ Jacobs set out to show the absurdity of taking everything in the Bible completely literally (even carrying pebbles in his pocket to stone people), Rachel’s attempt was to discover or re-discover different aspects of her evangelical faith, while also solidifying beliefs that she already had, that perhaps, differ from traditional ideas of what “biblical womanhood,” means. I love books like this because I, by nature, love a good social experiment. I’ve gone a whole year without buying clothes, wearing shoes, shaving, and stints at vegetarianism or not buying books. I’ve learned things in every social experiment that I’ve done, so I loved this premise and eagerly set out to read her experience.
Rather than laughing my way through the book, I found myself actually learning, which is refreshing. It feels like books and things like this that sneak up on me, are stealthy ways that God is teaching me, since I’m not actively searching anything out, and feel almost opposed to really trying to dive into any Christian-spiritual reading program. Rachel does many experiements throughout the year: learning to sew, growing her hair out, covering her head in church, staying outside in a tent when on her period and calling her husband Master. It was
One of the things that I learned, was about the Proverbs 31 woman, which was of great interest to me having studied it in college. All of us giggling juniors read through the proverb each week, and then focused ourselves on one aspect of the woman, because, after all, it was a guidepost, check-list for us to follow! And then, I read this book and learned that Proverbs 31 was a poem, that was sung TO women, by the men in their life. The Proverbs 31 women, in Hebrew eshet chayil, is translated as “woman of valor,” and is the ancient version of “you go girl!” She corresponded with a rabbi’s wife in Israel who said, “my husband sings the Proverbs 31 poem to me. It’s special because I know that no matter what I do or don’t do, he praises me for blessing the family with energy and creativity. All women can do that in their won way. I bet you do as well.”
That kind of information would have been EXCELLENT to know in college, instead of trying to bend over backward to try and do everything listed in that proverb. Instead, being myself and allowing my husband to say “you go girl!” Thankfully, Boof is all about supporting my life choices and thinks its excellent that I work and raise Potamus and have time for friends. But I could have saved myself a few years of feeling guilty and terrible for “sucking” at living up to the spiritual ideal…just like I could never live up to the Cosmo cover-model.
All in all, I would recommend this book to any of my girlfriends.