As the younger sister, I compared myself to my brother all my life. Perhaps I had some sort of inferiority complex. Or maybe I was just a kiasu individual. Either way, it just didn’t help that I felt my parents played favourites – they were always partial to my brother.
I grew up being told:
- You’re a girl, you should learn how to cook.
- You’re a girl, you need to know how to sew.
- You’re a girl, go help your mother out with the laundry.
- You’re a girl, if you don’t keep a clean room, how on earth are you going to run your future household?
So over the years, my frustration turned into bitterness and resentment. For one reason or another, I started to believe that a powerful and independent woman must look perfect all the time and be able to run a business. And any successful woman must surely not have the time for children.
As a result, for a time, I felt that housewives and mothers were roles that are looked down on in society. Ask any girl in her early 20s what she wants to be when she grows up – you’ll find that very few would reply, “I want to be a mother.”
Besides, most of my female friends aren’t thinking of marriage. You’re young. Why get tied down?
I spent a long time confused and angry, because of my wrong belief that God made us inferior to men. That clashed with the reality of my household, where it was the women who held many responsibilities and did many jobs. In comparison, I thought that the men were just slacking around.
My bitter view of things led to many debates in my home. Eventually my Mother told me to read Proverbs 31 and examine “the wife of noble character”. In this chapter, I read all the scriptural attributes of the ideal woman – and I was completely surprised.
I realised, “Hey, this chick has it all under control at home, and she does not sound like a frail human being!”
So, if I must make a comparison with anyone, it’s to the wife in Proverbs 31.
Some time after this revelation, one of my girlfriends spoke to me about gender roles. She spoke clarity into my life.
“We are so busy comparing ourselves to men, that we fail to see God created us differently for different things. Think about it: God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are One – but each play different roles. They don’t compare themselves to each other, or wish they could do what the other does. They are the perfect Trinity,” she told me.
“Of course we’re not God. But in a similar way, men and women are different and have different roles. Only we can do what we were created to do. Sure, a man could do what a mother does – but there’s nothing like a mother’s touch.”
Now, whenever I’m asked to do chores, there are days when I’m still that frustrated little girl. But I find strength when I do all these things for God, who gives me joy and love for others.
So, if I must make a comparison, it’s to the wife in Proverbs 31.
What a high standard to live up to! But with God, there is grace – and there’s nothing impossible for Him.