Monday, July 25, 2011

Hip To Be a Square

Circle of friends. Posse. Social circles. Cliques.  Whatever you call them, positive or negative, we as a society have a tendency to congregate into "groups" based on common interest, personalities, or other relationships.  But I've often felt like I'm a square peg trying to fit into the round/circle are 3 serious examples (and one silly one) of how this analogy fits my life.

Matt and I are a young married couple, and our friends are either still single or are starting to have babies.  It's hard to give dating advice to single friends when I've already found my dream man.  It's hard to relate to "mommy" friends who's lives revolve around their baby and they only talk about breastfeeding or potty training or homeschooling.

A lot of Christian women I know are called to be housewives and mothers, whereas I feel like I am called to be a mom, but to work and have a successful career.  The infamous "wives submit to your husbands" verse always pops up, and while I do believe the husband is the "head of the home", I also believe that the wife deserves equal respect and has just as much right to make decisions.  We went to a marriage conference a few months after we got married.  It was a great time to get away for a weekend together.  It was also great to hear encouraging stories about how to strengthen our new marriage bond.  But I felt like there was still this underlying tone of gender stereotyping that didn't sit well with me.  Matt likes to cook and clean, I hate it.  I want to have a career, while Matt would be happy doing odd jobs or composing music at home. I don't have anything against the stereotypes, but we don't live in the 1950's anymore, and sometimes it feels like people still think that the "Leave it to Beaver" family roles are the only way for a Christian home.

I love biology and scientific reasoning, but while most scientists are atheists, I believe that God is the Creator.  My love for biology comes from my desire to learn more about God through his creation.  I believe that God wants us to use science to glorify His kingdom.  But most scientists believe only in reason, and because of sin in this world, science will be used against God's will by being a god of it's own.

I like to wear skirts and dresses and think I have a pretty "classic" fashion sense.  I also like to rock geeky T-shirts and want to someday go to Comic-Con and cosplay some of my favorite sci-fi characters.

So, you see?! I often feel uncomfortable in social situations (I hate small talk or being in big groups), and feel like I can't relate to anyone.  I feel left out because I deviate from the "norm" in my circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc.  But lately, I've been feeling more at peace about it.  I don't feel as awkward when in the aforementioned "circles" anymore (even though I'm still awkward...).  God keeps telling me "you are fearfully and wonderfully made".  It doesn't matter that I'm a square trying to fit into the round holes.  God had a unique design for my life, and I am to use it to honor Him.  

I can embrace the early years of marriage spent ONLY with my spouse before having kids.  

I can be a hardworking mother AND career-woman, and can raise my daughters to be strong, independent women who love and serve the Lord. 

I can be a science lover who uses her study to grow closer to God instead of using it to become a god

I can be the first person to start the fashion trend of wearing high heels, skirts, and Star Wars shirts (not's already been done...)

I am proud of who God made me to be.  He think's I'm hip!  He thinks you are cool!  And no matter how we fit (or don't fit) into social norms, we should give Him all the praise and glory for His awesome and mighty work in our lives.


  1. Such a great post Mariel! I can really really relate to this! We have been married 3 years and I can't tell you how many people have said, "Oh it's your turn to have kids."
    I've definitely felt the pressure but know that we just aren't ready yet. It's so hard to sit around and listen to ladies talk about breastfeeding when I just don't relate!

  2. amen amen amen!

    i had an unexpected-but-wonderful conversation on this bent with a girl i worked with last summer. she's the daughter of a pastor, a christian herself, and was headed to law school the same time i was starting med school. we talked about the frustration of working toward lofty goals like those -- especially when doing so for kingdom glory, not our own -- and being met with friends and family who say "yay! good job! aim high!'re willing to stop, right, when your duty to your husband and family kicks in, aren't you?" (and conversely, my parents wanted us to wait until after i'd finished medical school to get married. ?!?!? how would i be getting through this, without the support of my husband?!?)

    i think it's hard for people to separate the social/emotional/spiritual relationships and leader/partner nuances from the ways that they're visibly manifest. it's really irritating -- it's none of your business who does what in our marriage! aren't we a healthy, loving and stable partnership? alright then. just because it's not the expected formula for success doesn't mean it's not perfect for us -- in fact, this is most certainly the unexpected-but-clearly-chosen-by-god-for-us path, and those who know our story don't question that.

    your last "serious" point reminded me of this: from *my* point of view -- the more science i learn, the more i am in awe of the creator, as i recognize how deep and true the patterns run.

  3. Great post. I fully understand the square peg analogy. I've lived it my whole life. I am not

  4. thanks, amy! we really are at an awkward time in our lives, aren't we? first, all our friends start getting married, then we get married. Then all our friends start having babies, and we have to start having babies. then what? our friends start having mid-life crises and we start having them?!?!?! :-D

  5. my parents wanted us to wait until we were all done with school, too! but i agree, if God brings a couple together, He will work to strengthen that marriage in whatever capacity is right for the couple's situation.

    thanks for linking that post! i completely agree, whenever i learn about some complex biological system or mechanism, i can't NOT see God in it. for me, faith and science definitely go hand in hand. (also, those lovely photos make me thing of how hubby and I always laugh when the song "Indescribable" or "God of Wonders" is played - because those worship songs are forever linked with space

  6. thanks for stepping up onto the soapbox!! :-D i completely agree. most people skim through that passage and see the word "submit" and immediately connect it with a lord/servant scenario. matt and i both agree that the bible is clear that it goes both ways. that was the thing that kind of bothered me about the marriage conference we went to. the focus was that wives are to "respect" their husbands, while husbands are to "love" their wives. But isn't it the same? We label them as wife vs. husband roles, but rather BOTH should love and respect one another. I don't see those words as separate, I see them as synonymous in a Christ-centered marriage relationship.

    oh, and don't get me wrong, I love hearing stories about my friends children. they crack me up! but it's just hard not to feel isolated sometimes :)

  7. I completely understand & agree with everything you just said!

    I joke that I'm just your average 30-something, but I really am far from average. I've always been geeky & nerdy, which until recently wasn't the cool thing to be. I've loved to craft since I can remember, doing some crafts that were considered "grandma activities"...but now they are cool.

    I often feel like I don't belong in the one town I've always lived, because it seems like no one gets me. Instead of changing who I've always been, I'm finally embracing it & not giving a darn what others think works.

    Luckily I've found some great online friends (like you) that make up for it all.

  8. I feel the same way: when we were married, all our friends were a little older with older kids and now they are all younger with young kids while ours are all grown and gone.

    I think the 50's tried to paint a pretty picture of submission, but it was twisted and distorted like we (humans) always do to something pure. I probably would have had more of a career, but with growing up with women's lib they twisted things to make it that women had to be men. I have seen women Dr's now a days do things the right way-- they take off when they know that their family life is going to be super busy (Christmas, spring break, etc). I was raised (from society's view) to take a career ahead of your family (or instead of). I chose family and part time jobs, but if I did it over, I would do it different. I don't think the Bible says a women should just stay home, because there were midwives and such and the whole Proverbs 31 woman sounds like a pretty smart business woman that works AND takes care of her family, but she has the right balance and her family is top priority.

    Hope I didn't repeat anything that someone said already, I tried to scan the replies. Good stuff! Thanks

  9. isn't it funny how things that were nerdy or lame are now cool? we can just channel our inner-hipster and say "i liked that/did that before it was cool..." :-D

    i agree, if you stay true to yourself, it's possible to connect with tons of people who have the same geeky/nerdy/crafty interests as you! hoorah for internet friends!!

  10. it's so true that we like to distort things. i definitely want to make my marriage and family a priority - but i also want to use my God given talents in the workforce. i love your vision of the Proverbs 31 as a savvy businesswoman AND mother...never thought of it that way! she sure has set the standard high!! :)

  11. Good for you! I think it's crucial to embrace who you are. Also, I agree that the Christian ideal of a family is outdated. Not all aspects, but the whole housewife thing does not have to be true for all families.

  12. Thanks, Laura! I've always been proud of who I am, but lately, God has really been putting it on my heart that he designed me (quirks and all) for His purpose. And that's pretty awesome!

    Also, for some reason, your blog wasn't showing up in my google reader, even though i KNOW i had been following you before. but i fixed it now, i think!!

  13. I think this is beautiful. I'm not overt about my faith, because I've struggled with it for years. But the way you've characterized faithful marriages as truly equal is simply beautiful. I deeply believe in equality in my marriage but never thought to connect that to my faith.

  14. Thanks, Renee! I hope you were encouraged by this post! A husband and wife submit to one another, just as together they submit themselves to God. If Christ is the center of a marriage, then a husband and wife can truly understand what love and submission really means. And I'm not saying that makes marriage perfect, but it does help bring a deeper understanding when we face tough times!