Many of you stay-at-home daughters well know the awkwardness of that moment when a relative or new acquaintance asks that inevitable question, becoming known as “The Question” – “So, what do you do?”
Some of us are tempted to feel nervous or even terrified at being put on the spot like this, by those we assume will despise our reply. We all realize that for unmarried girls to live and work from the home rather than outside it “simply isn’t done” anymore, and brace ourselves for insolent responses.
The worst thing you can do is respond to this question with a look of confusion, hesitation, timidity or shame. And looking down at our nervously shuffling feet and mumbling, “Well, I’m just kind of at home right now. I help with the housecleaning and dishes and stuff,” is a very poor response, for at least three reasons.
Number one, it’s a bad testimony to act ashamed of God’s precepts. It’s shameful to act un-excited about His ordained role for women. And it’s sinful to dread man’s disdain and shrink back from giving a bold answer.
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. … But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:35,38,39, emphasis added)
“Now, gird up your loins, and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, lest I dismay you before them.” (Jeremiah 1:17, emphasis added)
Number 2, saying “I’m just at home” is actually misleading. The word “home” doesn’t mean what it used to. In a time when people have a distorted idea of what a home is, this translates as, “I spend all day in a center of leisure, entertainment and retreat.” Or possibly, “I’m basically an un-paid maid.” This is not “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
What does it mean to be at home? What is the heart of the real answer to The Question, for most of us? :
“I believe I have discovered the best place for me to use my gifts to the fullest, to be the most productive and the best educated. It is that same sphere that God established to be the incubator of Christendom, the engine for cultural renewal and reformation, the center of dominion and warfare, a powerhouse of discipleship, ministry and evangelism, a refinery of Christian character, a conservatory of the true arts and sciences, a hub for industry and entrepreneurialism, a bastion of Christian culture and godly aesthetics, and a greenhouse for budding Christian leaders. It is what Spurgeon called, “the grandest of all institutions.” It consequently is the same sphere in which God created women to be, in the first place. Would you like to know more?”
And this doesn’t even cover what we actually do at home; it’s just the foundation our hearers need so that our answer can make sense.
The different levels of understanding of each person who asks us “The Question,” and the circumstances, will require a slightly different answer for each; sometimes brief, sometimes very detailed. But we can’t miss an opportunity to proclaim the glories and “grandness” of the sphere God has called us to co-rule, or to remind hearers of forgotten biblical concepts.
Reason number three – it’s really pretty silly to assume that our answer will always get a negative response. Though there is nothing wrong with being despised for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10), why do we think people could have only scorn for God’s magnificently superior blue-print for society?
We should remember that what is now the less-walked path was once the norm, in earlier, more civilized, Christian societies. When the church held strong in defending hearth and home, the rest of the West looked on and even followed our example.
When we accurately display the beauties of godly womanhood and Christian family life, the Bible tells us that “the nations” (sometimes rendered “the Gentiles”) will be jealous of the superior wisdom and success of God’s model. See what Moses told the Israelites as they prepared to enter Canaan in Deuteronomy 4:5-8:
“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”
Genevieve Smith Answering “The Question”
Those of you who regularly read VisionaryDaughters.com and are familiar with Genevieve Smith should know that she puts out an email newsletter of encouragement entitled “Issacharian Daughters” (more information here and here). In a recent issue she gives some sample answers to these frequently asked questions, and we have quoted an excerpt below. Be sure to read the whole thing here!
What is my response when I encounter questions and wondering looks and disdain and doubt and persecution for my stance in these areas? How can we all respond? Even to people in our own family?
Let us think about something: We know we are different and we know we are going to be persecuted for being different. So let us not just be different, let us positively thrive on it. Let us count it all joy to fall into various trials (James 1:23). Let us remember that we have a higher calling. Let us remember that we have an opportunity to be a part of the remnant, and let us desire to be a faithful remnant. Let us remember that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). Let us remember that our calling has a higher purpose. It is the noble call of virtuous womanhood and visionary daughterhood. We are trailblazing. We are pioneering. It is a heavy responsibility, but a joyous one.
So let us study what answer to give to those who ask us, “What are you going to do with your life?”
“ I’m studying cultural warfare. Shall I tell you about my findings?”
“Today’s family has Dad working here, Mum working there and Sally and Jo off here and there with Grandparents playing golf in Florida. It is a totally fractured model for a sick society. My family has discovered the Biblical model for family rejuvenation. We have our vision and mission and are working together to see it fulfilled. Can I tell you more about it?” (Psalm 96:7)
“My father is the wisest man I know, and I am truly blessed to be able to spend my days walking alongside him, seeking to make him successful and learning all I can from him.”
“I desire to be married one day, and I understand from Scripture that the best place to prepare for that blessed estate and for the awesome responsibility of wife, mother and homemaker is at home learning alongside my own mother. She is teaching me how I can be doing good to my husband and not evil all the days of my life including right now.”
“I’m studying domestic engineering.”
“I’m wary of being another man’s helpmeet and desire first and foremost to work to make my father or my husband successful rather than putting my efforts into making some other man successful.”
“The pattern through history and the Bible is that God puts the solitary in families and works in and through families. I want to be part of His work in my family.” (Psalm 68:6)
“Let me tell you something exciting. I have found many highly educated men and women in the field of my interest (in books, through online learning, via night classes or however) who are mentoring and discipling me. They insist that I not only learn the material but apply it to my life and live it. This means that my schedule includes much time devoted to serving my family and my church.”
“The frequent reports I hear about university’s defiling campus environment and coarse material has caused me to search for a way to learn and extend myself while still being able to walk a path of purity. I found the answer. What I’m doing is this…”
“I’m autodidactic. I’m teaching myself or putting together my own course of study on subjects such as…”
“My dad has this great vision for my family. He wants each of us in my family to extend ourselves and learn as much as possible in order to join together on various projects all aimed at spreading the gospel and furthering the Kingdom of God.”
“I’m caring for my [mother, grandmother, etc] who is sick. [She] has poured so much into my life that I’m thrilled to be able to use my time now in serving [her]. I have been learning so much about selfless service, gentleness, kindness and patience and the like. I’m really thankful to the Lord to be available to do this right now.”
Of course we always want to be respectful and answer with grace. But we also want to communicate truth and our convictions and the biblical standard. (2 Timothy 2:24-26) When people ask questions, it can be a great opportunity to witness to our convictions. So it is a great idea to study and to discuss with parents the responses we can give to people as they ask questions about our lives. And people will invariably ask questions when we live in way different from the norm.