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November 6, 2007

The Dangerous Book for Women



From the moment my husband brought home The Dangerous Book for Boys, he and our son have been doing some serious bonding. The premise of The Dangerous Book for Boys is to resurrect some of the classic boy activities of yesteryear - things our grandfathers did as boys that boys today just don't do (like make their own bows and arrows or catch frogs in the creek). Since getting the book, my husband and son have mapped out the battle of Waterloo with green Army men, played an old-fashioned game of marbles, learned to tie sailor's knots, performed magic tricks, and folded the best paper airplanes in the world.

I think my son sensed my jealousy as I've watched this flurry of daily activity. With a serious look on his face, he said, "Don't feel bad, Mom. Maybe they can make a book for you. Maybe they can make The Dangerous Book for Women."

That got me thinking. What in the world would I include in a "dangerous book for girls" (and grown-up girls like me!)?

I didn't have to brainstorm too long - I soon found out that a companion book for girls has just hit the shelves. So I dropped by my local Barnes and Noble this afternoon to page through the brand-spanking-new Daring Book for Girls where I found read about all sorts of activities to try (like rehearsing cartwheels, creating a lemon-powered clock, putting together a toolbox, and making friendship bracelets) and information to learn (like mathematics tricks, letter-writing etiquette, and Latin roots). And among the inspiring short biographies I found features on notable women like Marie Curie, Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, and Charlotte Badger (a dangerous swashbuckling pirate!).

Sipping my coffee and perusing the book (probably intended for readers at least 20 years my junior), I felt completely inspired - and like a complete dud!

After all, my life often seems rather humdrum. A typical day for me is anything but daring; and the same is probably true for most of you. We who've outgrown the fun and freedom of girlhood now live as women in our safe routine, be it at the office or at home, working, parenting, doing household chores, maybe catching a few favorite TV shows, and doing something "special" occasionally like going out to eat - or something absolutely thrilling like that. We live suspended in a paradox, longing for daring and adventure, but leading lives that are usually tame, safe, and monotonous.

I've realized that my life needs a lot more zest and daring - more Robin-Williams-esque "seize-the-moment" moments. And I need it not just in my everyday life, but also in my spiritual life. The Bible, after all, is the ultimate book of dares! God calls us to live out daring love - love that is passionate, 100 percent forgiving, and chock-full of grace. God calls us to show daring kindness - embracing and serving the outcast, the stranger, and the enemy. Jesus calls us to pray with boldness and daring: Mountain, move it!

And the most notable women in the Bible could populate their own book of daring for girls. Just think of it: Rahab and Esther both risking their lives to save others; Hagar, the tenacious and resilient single-mom who dared to name God; Mary, who dared to carry, give birth to, and mother God himself; the woman in Mark 5 who grabbed hold of Jesus' garment, daring with her action to receive God's healing power.

Yet how is it that our response to the most daring and dangerous calling of all - "Follow me!" - has become so bland and routine? Be it in matters of faith or hobbies or friendships or tasks, we can choose to embody carpe-diem moments.

So I've taken a few cues for The Daring Book for Girls - for one, I'm going to work a bit on my rusty old cartwheel. And I'm also ready to brush up on my knowledge on female pirates.

But even more important, I've gotten a wake-up call about the state of my faith. I'm ready and excited to take action the next time God whispers "I dare you?"

Comments

This has to be one of my favorite articles to date. Thank you Kelli. For those of you looking for adventure: plant a church. Mine starts after the first of the year. You want to talk about a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure! I'm hoping God knows where we're going.

I might have to see if I can still do cartwheels. It's been a few years.

Thanks Kelli,

Great article and I am inspired today as well. Wonderful.

Thanks, Kel. I'm going to go outside and see if I can still skip, too! Another daring move will be to laugh..and I mean reeeeally laugh! It feels so freeing. God revels in our freedom in Him!

I think I just heard God say, "I DARE YOU", through your article.
I find it pretty easy to get ideas. They're even good sometimes. But they fizzle out because of my own fears, fatigue or floundering.
Thanks for the inspiration to get up and go!
Maybe it won't be cartwheels; but there are friendships to pursue, hobbies to finish and Spirit led adventures to leap into!

Hi Kelli!

Your mom forwarded your article to me. Enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed your book. Now, I know I can't do a cartwheel (40 extra pounds may have something to do with that), however, I do enjoy skipping with my kids every chance I get. I'm going to look into some more ideas from the book to "liven life up!"

Take care!

I couldn't agree with Kelli more. My daughters and other amazing women in my life push and inspire me to adventure. Saying "yes" to adventure for me has taken me to Thailand and Morocco as well as living in an urban area of a city and bringing an internationally adopted child into our family. Even when it's scary or hard or emotionally risky or expensive, as daughters of Christ, what do we really have to lose when we say "yes"?
Shawna, I believe you are on a great adventure as you plant a church. All the best to you, sister!

Kelli, you are an inspiration to all women--
young and "mature" seniors alike! Thanks for your insight.

So true!! I really long for adventure, but when it comes, I usually back down to where it is safe, known territory. So, although the adventurous life is available and I even pray that God's adventure will fill my life, it seems that instead of embracing those opportunities, it seems that I choose to stay in the box almost every time! What is up with that?! I do what I don't want to do and I don't do what I want to do...

I like Shawna's response. Now that is adventure. Shawna - does it mean you will plant the church and someone else will pastor it or will you pastor it? I am headed for the adventure of my life too in 2008 as I am planning to start (plant) whatever you want to call it in a desert where women leaders are not taken too kindly. So to say the least, it will be quite an adventure but God is indeed smart. He is sending me off to work (serve) a woman who left a traditional church 23 years ago and planted (started) a church under the same circumstances and she is flourishing! Now on the other subject of having fun and playing, I wrote a book when I turned 50 "MoonPie and a Cold Glass of Milk" which is filled with wonderful things we did as children. Can we start churches and still be children? I think so. After all, children are creative, thing outside of the box, are innocent and pure in their thinking and take chances. Keep us posted Shawna on your efforts.

I like Shawna's response. Now that is adventure. Shawna - does it mean you will plant the church and someone else will pastor it or will you pastor it? I am headed for the adventure of my life too in 2008 as I am planning to start (plant) whatever you want to call it in a desert where women leaders are not taken too kindly. So to say the least, it will be quite an adventure but God is indeed smart. He is sending me off to work (serve) a woman who left a traditional church 23 years ago and planted (started) a church under the same circumstances and she is flourishing! Now on the other subject of having fun and playing, I wrote a book when I turned 50 "MoonPie and a Cold Glass of Milk" which is filled with wonderful things we did as children. Can we start churches and still be children? I think so. After all, children are creative, thing outside of the box, are innocent and pure in their thinking and take chances. Keep us posted Shawna on your efforts.

Kelli -- Thanks for passing along the "dare." You've inspired the theme for my next retreat! Thanks!

Patt:

Your "Moonpie" book sounds fabulous. I'd love to hear what some of the memories and activities are that you included in it.

I've become convinced -- through my own experiences and also from what my parents (who run spiritual retreats for pastors and missionaries) have told me -- that plain old "fun" is an essential spiritual discipline. Activities that don't seem overtly spiritual but are just fun can be some of the most health-giving, revitalizing things we can do to help revive our souls during times of tiredness or burnout! It's amazing how laughter, joy, and smiles can remind us of God's goodness and help us re-focus on the tasks God has for us in life!

I'd love to hear more about your book.

getting involved with any ministry that is on the front lines with unbelievers, even those less ambitious than planting a new church is a great adventure with God. my new adventure this past year has been working with a christian crisis pregnancy center. it has been a great and wild ride! i would encourage you all to be open to our Lord leading you to join in a ministry already in progress or starting a new one of your own... this pregnancy center was a "new plant' a number of years back... and there have been many other ministries grow out of a similar mindset thru our church in our community... ask God to give you your own vision for what He wants to accomplish in and thru and around you...

and long bike rides are what i do for fun!

Hi I liked this article. I think it is needed for boys to be proud of and enjoy being male! Good old fashioned play-minus video games, i-pods, and the computer!

Now here are a few thoughts on Dangerous Things For Girls and Women. Cook some meals from scratch! Ban take-out for a week!
Learn or revive a long-forgotten domestic skill and force your teen-age daughter to join in! Set a pretty table for dinner in the middle of a week! Buy and wear a strand of pearls this Sunday! Force your teen-age daughter to have at least a 30 minute heart to heart talk with you, her mother! Well you see where I'm going with this! Blessings to all, Carmena

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