The Modern-Day Frontier Woman
By amy byrd
June 30, 2010
Attention: All women who are part of a misunderstood generation, listen up. Times have changed and a new generation exists. Today’s single-ready-to-mingle-career-oriented-self-sufficient-likes-to-email female embarks on a new frontier. Ready to explore uncharted territory our mothers know nothing of?
Let me begin with my common, but-by-no-means-universal story. Raised in a loving, middle-class, suburban home, after attending high school, college naturally came next. My parents granted me the freedom to choose where I wanted to go and pick anything I wanted to do, simply encouraging me to do my best. I ventured off to conquer the collegiate world of communications and international studies. On a 1–10 scale, my dating life in high school rested on a 0, so I really expected to meet my man in college. Bright-eyed and teased-pony-tailed, I chose what some would deem the “Christian-college path.” I joined a local Bible church, got involved with an inner-city youth ministry, attended class, chose to participate in prank wars and road trips over studying, and had fun (but not too much of course)!
As college wrapped up, numerous close girlfriends found themselves involved in serious relationships that led to round one of engagements. Nothing to cry about at this point. It seemed obvious that Mr. Right, the next item to check off the list, would come after college, because I headed off to the big city and graduate school. Now, OK, don’t get me wrong. I loved school and went to achieve my B.A. over an MRS. Maybe not the type of career my family thought I could achieve, but a working life nonetheless. About two years after college, round two of engagements occurred.
I knew what this meant. More wedding showers with women asking: “Darlin’, are you seeing anyone? Oh, well you’re still young.”
Never mind the fact that I went to graduate school, happily lived outside the home, and established a life of my own regardless of the desire to marry and follow the social norm. My relationship with Bridget Jones blossomed at this point. And how sad that I took comfort in this world’s version of single-career life rather than the church’s.
Presently, I find myself 25 years old, educated, socialized, traveled and single. Would a woman of 1925 have this on her resume and not hear about it from all the influential ones in her life? Well, neither would this 2010 Dallas Theological Seminary, likes-to-shop-at-Anthropologie single lady. This new frontier baffled me then and it baffles me today. Just like our mothers’ excitement escalates because we can attain career-women status out from under males' control. Yet, if we remain unmarried and fail to perform previous generational norms, a dis-ease surrounds us. I find myself confused and on an uncharted path.
As we pioneer women head down this uncharted path, there lie obstacles of varying degrees. Get your maps out, girls; these need to be noted.
Expectations. Call a spade a spade and admit expectations rest on today’s young women. No matter what socioeconomic status, religion, race or country, women’s roles play such a crucial part that no society will let them forget it. In generations past, the norm looked like this: a young girl helped around the home, grew in stature and in skills, married and then taught the same to her children. Praise the Lord, a revolution took place.
The expectations of a woman changed from working only in a home as a wife and mother to holding a career and supporting herself. Well, which one seems right? Society changes its mind more than a teenage girl changes her nail color.
In the midst of confusion, Scripture proclaims God’s expectation of us. Deuteronomy 6:5 states, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are daughters of the most high God first and foremost. If we place anything above His glory and praise, idolatry undermines our foundational expectation. Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” To put it in this context, “Whatever you young women do, career or marriage or both, do for the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks!” Shun the expectation of society and let us pursue the Lord’s expectation of us.
Amy Byrd attends Dallas Theological Seminary and is a modern-day frontier woman herself. This article is the first of two.