Rebecca Frech is the author of Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us, co-host of the popular radio show/podcast The Visitation Project, Catholic speaker, and writes the award-winning blog Shoved to Them. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their seven children and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at @shovedtothem.
The house is quiet tonight. My husband is on a business trip, my eldest is off with friends, and the littles are all in bed.
It's just me and a blank computer screen. Dumb computer games lost their allure about an hour ago, and there's nothing to watch on television except the latest installment of The Real Housewives from Somewhere that's not here. I always found that name to be funny. I know housewives, I even know hot housewives, but I've never met any that look like the hot messes on TV. And can they be called housewives when they're not wives? I guess “hot live-in girlfriends” doesn't have the same cache to it.
The whole live-in thing is puzzling to me as I get older. And let me say for the sake of full disclosure that I was a live-in girlfriend before I got married. It's just that the older I get the more I realize the truth about living together—she gets to pretend to play house and he gets someone to clean his bathroom, fold his laundry, and sleep in his bed without the actual commitment of marrying her. I'd like to go back in time and smack myself for being an idiot. I'd like to smack the plastic TV women for the same reason. I hate laundry. And taking care of other people can be really not fun. Any woman whose husband has been sick can tell you that
So what's the payoff for putting up with the un-fun parts of marriage without getting the benefits too? I think it's the loss of self-worth. The more that who we are becomes defined by labels given to us by other people—the more we are defined by a title like “hottest housewife in Orange County”—and not by who we really are, the more willing people become to sell themselves in order to be labeled something better. While wife is better than live-in, live-in is better than friends with benefits or whatever the kids are calling it these days. These women on TV, and a lot of non-televised people besides, are selling themselves for a better title.
It's too bad that no one ever convinced them that they were pretty fabulous just the way they are, and that no title, no matter how grand, will change the essence of their character. Unpleasant people are still un-cool no matter what words they get called, and I'm willing to bet they get called things they'd rather not.
There simply seems to be a lack of focus out there. A lack of focus on what's truly important. What you own doesn't matter. What other people say doesn't matter. What they call you doesn't matter.
What matters is how you treat other people and how you treat yourself. The two great commandments were to love the Lord your God with your whole self, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If you don't love yourself, what does that say about how you're going to treat other people? If yourself is not someone you like, how can you love God with what you don't accept?
There's a problem in this country with a lack of focus. We're so wrapped up in making other people jealous—wanting them to want to be us—and in how they talk about us (and please let them be talking about us because heaven help us is we're forgotten) that we forget that we already have a label—the only one that counts.
“Beloved of God.”
So stop fretting about what other people think and start trying to live in a way that fits with that title. Beloved of God.
How would the way you live your life be different if only you believed that it were true?