"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ambitious?

Last summer, I was sitting in on a conversation that really upset me.  Two acquaintances of mine were discussing the fact that a young mother they knew had just obtained her college degree.  She had worked hard, even putting her little ones (one a newborn) in daycare, to achieve her goal, so that she finally could have the career that she wanted.  One of the ladies was quite amazed and said, "wow, Leah is really ambitious, isn't she?"  It was clearly a huge compliment.  You ladies know what often happens to us women who have chosen to stay home, when we hear something like that: we start feeling self-concious and like we're not doing anything important.  Or, at least that the person we're talking with must surely see it that way (well, I feel that way at least!).

I've stewed over that conversation off and on for months, pondering the idea of being "ambitious".  The word ambitious is considered a compliment.  It sounds like this extremely important character quality.  I kept thinking on it...thinking that I myself am surely ambitious....and why couldn't people see that???  I am ambitious in how I care for my home and family, of course!  Then, this morning, as I prepared to type up this post, I looked up the definition of ambitious.  I was floored by the meaning.  I guess the word actually has a slightly different meaning than I was thinking.

Dictionary.com:

am·bi·tious

 
1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.
2. showing or caused by ambition
3. strongly desirous; eager
4. requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc


Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. Desirous of power, honor, office, superiority or excellence; aspiring; eager for fame
2. Showy; adapted to command notice or praise.
 
 
Hold on a second here!  I thought being ambitious was something to be desired!  But is it?  I think there is a form of amibition, which I have, that is seeking excellence in everything I do.  That is good, and it's what God wants.  But in general, looking at these definitions, is ambitious something that I want to be?  I don't think so.


Wanting success, power, wealth, honor, superiority, fame???  Being showy, commanding praise or notice???


This is not what God wants us to be pursuing.  And yet, isn't that what career women are doing?  My acquaintance was right--Leah is ambitious.  But not in the way that I want to be!


What do you think?

9 comments:

  1. Amen! Ambition, particularly for women, is generally selfishness, pure and simple. When we strive to do our very best for our Lord, for our husbands for our children and in our home, it really cannot be defined as ambition. It's something completely different when done for self, or for the glory of God and others.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! I had never thought about this before. Thank you for the insight....you always seem to keep me thinking!
    Alyssa

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow! what a difference! thanks so much for sharing- now i'm armed with a response next time i encounter such a conversation. (and you know that does happen!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing this. I had not not even thought that the meaning of the word may have changed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, never really thought of the word ambitious like that. If it makes you feel any better, I would have stewed over that conversation for months too. I get so frustrated by what society has told women we should be. In fact, I think if more women would return home and leave those jobs open for men, we just might improve our economy...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amen, Alana--I totally agree!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just found your blog today and I really liked this post. Thanks for sharing. I too, feel like people look at me as "just a housewife" or a "weird homeschooler". Maybe not ambitious, but we're certainly hard-working! ha, ha!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I work full time and have a University degree, I am a little ambitious at work but certainly not selfish or showy or wanting to be noticed, or after power – it just means I have been able to climb the employment ladder at work and now hold a senior position. I do it with the blessing of my husband (who is thrilled and proud of me) however I make sure my family do not get neglected (my sons are grown up). I know that some SAHM/W don’t agree with this, but we are all entitled to make choices – these are family choices.

    I think it is important that we respect other women’s choices and not put a woman down because she is at home or at work – we don’t know other families situations and how things work in their homes. I have had some SAHM/W make assumptions about me because I work, how wrong they have been . . . I wonder what the woman in question would have said, as these were the views of others and not the lady herself I assume.

    SAHM/W do not want to be “put down”, please don’t do the same with mothers and wives that work as that isn’t fair at all.

    PS If more women left the workforce the economy wouldn’t necessarily improve at all – sadly, it is more likely to nose drive – with an increase in single income families with less money to spend the economy would suffer. Women, whether liked or not, are necessary to the economy both in the USA and in my own country of Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Jolouise, thank you for your comment. I am sorry you felt put down, but the truth of God's word can be hard.

    I was specifically speaking of women who have young children at home. I don't under any circumstances believe that it ever benefits children for the mother to work (unless she's a single mom, as I previously stated.) Your kids are all grown, so that is different. While I believe there is a need for the older women to stay home also, mostly because we need older women teaching the youner women, that is something for you and your husband to decide. You would just need to be submitting to his authority.

    God bless, and thank you for reading!

    ReplyDelete