Takeaways from Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

 

Three of my main takeaways from the book:

  • Gender equality empowers men too.

Let´s change the expectation that it´s natural for men to be less involved in the family or in raising the kids. Men should be given the equal chance to bond with family without being pressured by society or be seen as “weak” if they do.

  • Let your partner be a real partner.

In the home and, might I add, outside of the home as well.

  • Women need to stop “maternal gatekeeping” to allow their partners to be real partners.

“As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home. I have seen so many women inadvertently discourage their husbands from doing their share by being too controlling or critical. Social scientists call this ‘maternal gatekeeping,’ which is a fancy term for ‘Ohmigod, that´s not the way you do it! Just move aside and let me!’ When it comes to children, fathers often take their cues from mothers. This gives a mother great power to encourage of impede the father´s involvement. If she acts as a gatekeeper mother and is reluctant to hand over responsibility, or worse, questions the father´s effors, he does less.”

“Now we know that women can do what men can do, but we don´t know that men can do what women can do.”

Side takeaway on parenting and life in general:

  • Reflecting someone´s viewpoint becomes a starting point for resolution.

“When we had arguments, our mother taught us – or more like forced us – to mirror each other, which means restating the other person´s point before responding to it. For example, one day my sister and I were fighting over a lollipop. ‘Sheryl ate the last lollipop!’ Michelle screamed. ‘But she had a lollipop yesterday and I didn´t!’ I screamed back, making an excellent point. My mother sat us down facing each other. I was not allowed to explain how gravely inequitable the lollipop allocation was until I acknowleged my sister´s feelings. ‘Michelle, I understand that you are upset because I ate the last lollipop and you wanted it.’ As painful as this was at the time, reflecting someone else´s viewpoint clarifies the disagreement and becomes a starting point for resolution. We all want to be heard, and when we focus on showing others that we are listening, we actually become better listeners.”

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The why of purity

Because there was a time that I didn’t know what I know now.

1 Corinthians 13: 11. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.”

I’ve shared before that as Christian girl in a Christian family raised with Christian teachings, I knew purity was important. But over time I’ve grown to understand that purity is not a physical parameter to be measured, but a matter of the heart. Purity doesn’t just mean no sex before marriage. If that were true, every married person shouldn’t ever have to worry about impurity again. “Phew, done with that test – glad I passed it?” No, purity is something to strive for even beyond marriage. Purity is a matter of the heart.

But what I wanted to share today is about the biggest reason why purity is important to me. Here are some other great reasons:

4. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and it’s great that we get to worship Him by keeping our phyiscal bodies holy.

3. I love my future spouse, your future spouse and you, so I am determined not to cause anyone to stumble.

2. Great emotional benefits – spouses find it easier to trust each other beyond marriage because they know they have a track record to refer to before marriage. 

But my biggest reason to the question “Why should I strive to be pure?” is this.

1. Impurity separates us from God, likewise purity draws us closer to God.

Lord, I pray for my brothers, my sisters and myself, that we will understand your heart more every day as we continue to seek You. Help us not only glorify You with our bodies but with our hearts and minds as well. Thank You for the privillege to worship You with all we have. We love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

The List – for singles

When I was younger, someone told me to make “The List”. The List was to comprise of things I wanted in my future husband. As an excited little Christian girl, I quickly got to work making a list. I remember putting 1) “Loves God” and 2) “Loves music”. And then I stopped, because I wasn’t quite sure what else I wanted to write.

Over the years, I added things to my list, most of which were things I found logical. (I wrote stuff like “faithful, loves children, etc”) But once something happened that made me reconsider the importance of that list. I met a man with a child. His life had been a wreck before, but he’d turned around and found Jesus. He had an amazing story, and I was so encouraged. One thing though, he still had his child from a previous relationship.

I thought to myself – could I, goody two shoes, fall in love with that man and his daughter? No, the question really was, would I allow myself to love such a man? Because I knew God loves him, and I should too right? (I didn’t actually end up falling for this guy, but stay with me)

I’ve been dating a great Christian guy for a little over a year now, but I still think back to that particular time because that was the point I started to question the importance of “The List.” God’s only condition is for the believer to be yoked with another believer. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to know the qualities you love in a partner. But I remember being told “if a guy doesn’t match your criteria, cross him off your list.” That advice worked out well for me as a 12 year old – it kept me out of the dating scene for quite a while. But after a while, I realized that I was setting more requirements than God. That can’t be right.

May I propose asking another question?

Do you/can you love this person the most?

This is just a thought; something from personal experience. I have absolutely no evidence to back this up, but way back before my special someone and I got together, I had realized that he is the person I am most patient, loving and forgiving with, as a friend.

You know how there are some people you can’t tolerate as well as you can others?
I think there are people you can tolerate and love particularly well compared to others.

Again, these are my own thoughts, I realize that I can be completely wrong. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this. 🙂

My maximum love, patience and tolerance might not be a whole lot (I still get to see so much of my flaws as we live life together) but at least I know that I’m giving my best to the person I love.

Shrugs. Am I weird?

Kthxbye i’m sleepy goodnight!

Where is his/her heart?

Gen 31:26-32

26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. 27 Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? 28 You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters goodbye. You have done a foolish thing. 29 I have the power to harm you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you longed to return to your father’s household. But why did you steal my gods?”

31 Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid, because I thought you would take your daughters away from me by force. 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

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I find it interesting that Jacob had no idea that Rachel had stolen her father’s household gods. Let’s go back a little to Gen 28:1-2. This is what Isaac, Jacob’s father, has to say to Jacob before he leaves:

So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram,[a] to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.

So when Jacob married Rachel, he married someone from his people, Abraham’s people. God’s people. To put this in modern Christian terms, this would mean people from the church.

But notice how far Rachel’s heart was from God. Was it something Jacob had not known when he married her? Gen 31:32 says Jacob did not know that Rachel, his beloved wife had stolen the gods.

Are you looking for a partner who fulfills a criteria – someone who goes to church – or looking for someone with a heart that truly seeks after God?

Fave quotes from A Tale of Two Cities

“What is your magic secret, my darling, of your being everything to all of us, as if there were only one of us, yet never seeming to be hurried, or to have too much to do?”

uttered to Lucie, who weaves the invisible golden thread that holds her husband and child, father and lifelong friends together.

“I look only to sharing your fortunes, sharing your life and home, and being faithful to you to the death.
Not to divide with Lucie her privilege as your child, companion and friend;
but to come in aid of it, and bind her closer to you, if such a thing can be.”

said of Darnay to the father of his bride-to-be.

p/s. Tale of Two Cities just got to my top 2 favorite books.

Here’s why I think purity is important

Genesis 4:1

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.

The Hebrew word for lay is yada. (Quoting Dannah Gresh)

The word used to describe the intimate connection between a husband and a wife is the same word used to describe the intimate relationship we can have with God.

If so, then it makes sense as to why the devil is trying so hard to thwart the idea of purity in our minds. (By changing it’s definition and value, etc.)

Who knew that keeping a holy marriage bed could be so significant? This truth brings new meaning to my ongoing journey towards purity. 🙂 How does it affect yours?

God uses beauty too

Read the book of Esther couple of days ago.

Esther 5:1-3

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom,it will be given you.”

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A little background. Queen Esther was going before the king to plead for the lives of her people. She had spent the past three days fasting and praying, and was prepared for death if things didn’t go well.  After all, King Xerxes did remove his previous queen from the throne before Esther came around. It was a scary time for her, a time that required boldness and strength…

But Queen Esther knew. She knew she could not go into the king’s presence with a sullen face covered with ashes. If he didn’t hand her the scepter, she would die. It did not help that King Xerxes had not called on her for 30 days. (Esther 4:11) For a man who had a whole harem, that couldn’t be a good sign for Esther.

Queen Esther had to go, and she had to go prepared. The bible only mentions that she put on her royal robes, (Esther 5:1) but I would expect that there must have been more preparation than that. She probably did everything she could to be as pleasing as possible to King Xerxes. She knew his liking, the kind of fragrances that would put him in good cheer. She probably looked at her wardrobe, asked her attendants and thought to herself, “What would please Xerxes, my husband?” She had only one chance, and she had to do it right. Things had to turn out right.

And it did. Queen Esther showed a lot of prudence (Read the the story to find out more!) and in the end, she and her people were saved.

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You know what stood out to me as I read this?

That God actually used the beauty He gave Esther for good.

I think we’ve heard a good lot about how outer beauty isn’t everything; it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And I agree with that whole-heartedly. Proverbs 31:30 says “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

But does that mean that outer beauty is a bad thing? I know Christian girls who downplay themselves, and even feel guilty for being beautiful.

God is beautiful, and He uses beauty.The hard part is remembering what beauty reflects and who it is made for.

So for you, my beautiful sisters in Christ, I pray: may the Lord use you mightily, you and all the beauty He has bestowed upon you. And may you keep your eyes on the Prize. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I should create a tag called prayer requests

Let me tell you a story of my life.

I have a lot of girls who’ve made me the object of their hate. And in the many years that I’ve experienced that, I’ve reacted in ways I’ve not been proud of. You’re right, it’s a learning process. And I handled it better when I was 17 compared to when I was 14, but I still didn’t handle it very well at all.

Here’s where I tell you that I hope this time, in college, I will learn to give it up to God.

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And here’s where I tell you the reason for their hate. This is from them telling me after years of strained relationship, where we finally agree to apologize to each other and put the past behind us. This is why:

“I don’t know”.

Maybe you think that this is just because it’s been too long, it’s the kind of thing like when you get into a fight with a sibling, and forget after a while what the fight was about. Let me tell you what some girls have told me before we rose up beyond that situation itself. Here’s their reason for hating:

“I don’t know”.

Is it possible to hate someone for no apparent reason? I’m not trying to say I’m perfect, God forbid that I even imply that. I’m not. I’m not perfect and let me tell you why.

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Because I’ve hated too. I shall give two instances. And the former I shall not name, because I have never talked to this person about it before. It came and it went. She changed. And the jealousy went away.

Oops. So I’ve mentioned the word. Jealousy.

So let me tell you my story:

1) The first girl I was jealous of was very popular. People who didn’t know her wanted to, and they would go about trying to look for her. And because we were in close proximity for certain reasons I will not touch upon, people would mistake me for her. And here is what would go on: those who thought I was her would treat me with a sudden, special, almost superstar treatment. And when they realized I wasn’t her, they would then drop me (the image works in my head) and would start to run after the real thing. And I would be forgotten, a case of mistaken identity.

Note: I never admitted it even to myself that I was jealous of her for many years.

But I started to look for faults in her. Because I didn’t have a reason to dislike her. If I were asked at that point why I hated her, I would have responded the same way: I don’t know. But I did dislike her, and I needed to justify that. It was only years from then that I finally came to terms with it and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

2) The second girl in my story came about during my college years in Malaysia. After asking her for permission to relay this story to you, I shall mention her name here so that you may verify my story if you wish, but its purpose is also for me to be as honest as possible to you without being vague. Her name is Teo Shao Fern. She is wonderful at the violin, and composes beautiful music. She talks about her family all the time; about how she loves her family so, and how her family loves her. She is dedicated and disciplined in her work, and sincerely seeks after God. She’s looked upon with favor by God and men. Authorities in college would look upon her with favor. She’s a wonderful, wonderful individual that everyone should love, and find hard not to.

But I grew to be jealous of her.

The Lord was gracious to me, because we shared the same faith, it was easier for me to share with her my struggle. Imagine how awkward it was for me to confess to her “I’m jealous of you. But I don’t want to be. This is not God’s way. Please pray for me and with me about this.” I’m paraphrasing but that was the gist of  our conversation. We prayed about it. And the Lord restored our friendship. Praise Him.

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So how does everything I’ve said so far tie in with what I said in the beginning about trying to do it right this time in college?

Let me tell you how.

Firstly,

I need to get my perspective right.

And what is that perspective? That it ain’t about me. The times where I was jealous, was it ever about the girls I was jealous of? No, it never was about them. I merely made them my objects of envy because they were easy targets. It was my brokenness, my sinful nature that was showing itself in my thoughts and actions.

So if you’re standing on the receiving end of that envy, know that it ain’t about you. This is not (necessarily) a personal attack against you.

Secondly,

I need to remember where I stand.

I have that sinful nature too. I sinned against God and against those girls! And when I try to help you see that I don’t hate you, and do what God said “to pray for those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44) I need to remember

I am not holier than you.

And I hope it doesn’t look like I’m trying to be.

I am not “better” than you. I am a sinner, saved by grace. I am not any more deserving of that grace than anyone else. I’m still a victim and have the capacity to hate.  But the grace that I received from my Savior, I extend to you. It is only by the grace of God that I love you. And am praying for you.

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Please pray for me as well, pray against the fears that cripple me when I remember my past, pray against any seed of hatred that the devil tries to plant in my head or in my heart, and pray that the Lord be glorified above all.

Amen.