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Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God by Lisa Tatlock and Pat Ennis

By Jelinas | Books | January 4, 2010 |

By Jelinas | Books | January 4, 2010 |

Note to Pajibans:

Now, I know that any Pajibans who stumble upon this review of mine will most likely take umbrage at the view of biblical femininity that I hold so dear. I’d like to disclose here and now to all readers of my blog that I am a Christian. I’m not trying to make you one, but I’m not going to let the fact that you are part of my readership deter me from reading and reviewing the books I want to read. You are free to have your opinions and convictions about my opinions and convictions, but I’m free to have mine, too.

And I happen to believe that mankind was created to love God. We are happiest when we love Him and trust in Him. And, as a woman, I was created to love my home and the people in it. I will be happiest when I love it and them and find satisfaction in making it a place that reflects my love for God and for my family.

So I guess it’s safe to say that this review isn’t going to make it to the front page of Pajiba anytime soon (Oh, Jelinas. You know us better than that. — DR). That’s okay with me. I understand that Pajiba attracts a certain kind of reader, and that girls like me are in the minority there (and we respect the minority viewpoints, don’t we Pajibans? — DR). I love Pajiba because it provides funny, intelligent movie and book reviews, and I will continue to frequent its pages.

Yes, I enjoy well-written movie reviews. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I’m stupid (admit it. Some of you think that’s exactly what it means).

But I digress. Back to the book I should be reviewing.

Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God: A Guide to Developing Your Biblical Potential by Lisa Tatlock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Confession: I’m a legalist at heart. Underneath my veneer of laziness and selfishness, there’s a secret part of me that longs to save myself instead of trusting in God to save me. I want to be the hero. I want to be the good guy. I want to stand before God on Judgment Day and hear Him say, “I had a lot of great servants who did a great job, but you — you are something special.”

That’s why a book like this is so dangerous for a legalist like me.

So this book was written to help Christian women to embody the biblical model of a godly woman. And, while I think it contains some great tips and helpful tools for a wife, mother, and even a single lady such as myself to achieve personal goals of discipline and organization, I also think there’s a dangerous, if unintentional, emphasis on the “doing” part of biblical womanhood.

The authors, Lisa Tatlock and Pat Ennis, cover twelve different areas in which we can specifically and uniquely please God as Christian women. The authors offer lots of good practical advice on how to be a better manager of one’s home, finances, children, and personal devotions.

For a book that was supposed to be about Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God, it did a rather lackluster job of explaining the heart and motivation behind the many practical areas it addressed. That, to me, is putting the cart before the horse. In my mind, wanting to become a woman who pleases God cannot start anywhere but the heart. It must begin with theology and the gospel - we have to know why we want to please God if we want to do things that please Him. He does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

The book doesn’t completely neglect the spiritual aspect of discipline. The authors end each chapter with a study guide that delves deeper into the scriptures pertaining to their topic. I tried to do the study guide for each chapter in order to get the full experience of the book. I had to give up after Chapter Seven because I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was exhausting, having to look up so many different passages and then trying to meditate on each of them - at the rate I was going, I was never going to finish. I’m convinced that the only reason I’m even ready to write this review today is because I finally stopped doing the study guides.

And that’s the thing with this book. Does it provide lots of good advice? Yes. Does it encourage women to be excellent workers in the home? I think so. But it also paints a pretty rigid picture of what a godly wife and mother should look like. Not everyone needs charts and spreadsheets and flash cards in order to please the Lord. And those things don’t necessarily help the women who use them, either. Sometimes, those things help. But they can also enslave and lure women into a false sense of rightness with God just because they’re sticking to the program.

You might be super-faithful to the flashcards and spreadsheets and still be shocked wake up one day feeling like you aren’t really walking with the Lord. This is because faithfulness to flashcards doesn’t lead to intimacy with God - faithfulness to God does.

I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, here, so I’ll say again that I think that the authors provide some great tools and tips for those who need help to be more excellent in their home life. But let me warn you before you start that, if you’ve got legalistic tendencies like I do, you’re going to need to be extra-careful to spend good time at the feet of Jesus while you’re reading this book to make sure that you’re serving Him and not the charts.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Jelinas’ reviews, check out the blog, Book Bloggy Blogg

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.