One evening I was invited to watch the 2001 movie “Serendipity” with a group of ladies at my church. It was close to Valentine’s Day and the ladies, mostly single, wanted to indulge in desserts and snacks and cinematic romance.
Reportedly there would be chocolate involved, so I went.
Little did I know that in addition to chocolate we would be feasting on a boatload of cheese. This movie is seriously so cheesy you could pour it on your nachos. Thing is though, I detest romance movies. I can stomach a romantic comedy here and there but would much rather watch a regular comedy (though clean ones are hard to find these days), a sci-fi adventure, a blow-’em-up suspense thriller, a “what’s making us fat now” documentary, or even just a good old-fashioned drama. Sitcoms are usually my go-to; my attention span can usually handle thirty minutes before I get up to do something else.
As this fondue party of a romantic movie played I spat out a series of criticisms and insults aimed at the characters, plot, writers, etc. Naturally the other girls were telling me to shut up and throwing pillows and popcorn at my face (no chocolate, though; I had that bowl). However my reserve was strong, and I did not–could not–remain silent. I was channeling Sophia Petrillo from “Golden Girls” with a pinch of “Everybody Loves Raymond’s” Frank Barone…
In this season of my life I feel as though God is quieting Frank and Sophia.
While spending some time with a friend this week the subject of what a strong Godly woman looks like came up. We discussed how there is a perceived strength when a woman seems to need no one–how lacking vulnerability or exuding brashness can give the appearance of strength. Yet when you boil those things down you most often find that there’s a lack underneath. Maybe independence is celebrated in our churches because it requires so much less intimacy, which can be scary and taxing. Truly heart-to-heart connections take risk and time, and those are two things many women especially fear.
I like to take risks. I also deal with copious amounts of insecurity and fear when I do. However gut wrenching the process is to step out and jump it doesn’t compare to the heaviness felt when settling for less.
Choose not to settle.
Recently I’ve been learning so much from my friendships. Observing the power of kindness and nurturing is seriously impacting my heart. Finding time for others, giving them that expensive face-to-face time, being approachable, these being the rocks that make up the foundation they stand on… That is strength. That is a powerful woman. That is the true Godly feminine beauty that I want to carry out in my life. It’s a true reflection of Christ.
Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I reserve the right to keep my disdain of romantic movies. Nevertheless, I’m trying to climb down from the peanut gallery. I would like these hard places to soften and for my strength to come from a compassionate heart.
(As long as no one makes me watch “Serendipity” again.)
Liz Flaherty lives in South Carolina with her husband Andy. They’ve been married since 2005, and have spent the majority of their marriage ministering to and mentoring people in areas of sexual wholeness and identity. In her book, The God of My Parents, Liz shares her powerful testimony in which she faced immense grief, rejection, drug abuse, pornography, and homosexuality. Her heart is to inspire the Christian community to address these issues with love, respect and honesty.
Liz and Andy have two cats, named Paddie and Ginger.