The term "Stepford wife" refers to a docile woman who cooks, cleans, organizes her home, obeys her husband, and dresses nicely. She has it all together. But she doesn't have personality.
Unfortunately this caricature can be attributed to any woman who appears to have it all together. We cry out against the woman who cooks a nice meal or talks kindly about her kids. Surely she is putting on a mask, we might assume. Yet have we ever stepped back to consider that some woman have been especially gifted by God as cheerful, thankful homemakers?
We are all given the same Spirit but different gifts. Paul teaches us about this variety of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. This is important for us to remember when we walk into a friend's clean and organized home or enjoy her tasty cooking and cheerful spirit. God made us all in his image, but we are unique. He variously gifts us to serve for the benefit of others.
Yet we're tempted to judge (we assume these women must be hypocrites) or become jealous and compare (we do not have so we covet). If this is your temptation, know that you are not alone. In fact, God's Word addresses temptation as common to man. But we don't have to give in to this temptation. What if instead we rejoiced? Perhaps if we see women who excel in areas we do not, it is an opportunity to thank God for his creative design.
All Good Gifts
It's difficult to rejoice when you are struggling. I know. But if God calls us to "rejoice with those who rejoice," he will give us the grace to do it. During those tough times of comparing and judging we must run fast to the throne of grace to receive help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can also run far away from temptation. We can avoid Instagram and Facebook, but we can't always flee our cheerful friends. In other words, we need to ask God for help to change our hearts. I want to look at the log in our own eyes rather than focusing on the speck in our sisters. I believe we can, by the power of the Spirit, rejoice with those who rejoice. We can be excited for others and see God's good work.
Ultimately we must all fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the only cure for our temptations. When you are looking at your friend and think Why can't I do this? Why don't I have her capacity? you can thank God that he never required you to have her capacity. You only need to be working in the strength God has supplied you. He is the source. He is the giver of all good things.
God may not have gifted you the same way as your neighbor or the woman online who decorates elaborate cakes every night or the mom who has young kids and a clean home (seems like an oxymoron, I know). Remember the source of her gifts and yours. This remembering will cause us to rejoice—not in the gift, but the Giver. God has truly made us all equal in value and worth but with varying gifts. And like salvation, none may boast, because all good gifts come from God.
Trillia Newbell is a wife, mom, and writer who loves Jesus. She is the author of United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (Moody, 2014). You can follow her on Twitter.