Recently a woman called Dennis Prager’s radio show and admitted that she’s unhappy with her choice of career over family, even though she pretends to love working. Part of her testimony is here:
“I want to tell women in their 20s: Do not follow the path that I followed. You are leading yourself to a life of loneliness… You try to do what you can to make your life fulfilling. I have cats and dogs. But it’s lonely when you see your friends having children, going on vacations, planning the lives of their children, and you don’t do anything at night but come home to your cats and dogs. I don’t want other women to do what I have done.”
This woman (who wants to be called “Jennifer”) blames her bitter, divorced, feminist mother for selling her the lie that a career would make her happy.
“…I was brainwashed by my mother into this…
There’s not a good answer for [why I never married] except ‘I was programmed to get into the workforce, compete with men and make money.’ Supposedly, that would be a fulfilling life. But I was taught by a feminist mother who hated her husband…”
I believe Jennifer when she says she was encouraged to climb the corporate ladder by feminists who didn’t want her to be a sad, uneducated doormat of a housewife.
But, I think Conservatives should be careful not to swing too far in the other direction, by suggesting to young women that they will “be happy” if they get married and have babies in their 20’s.
Young ladies: the problem is that you’re searching for something to make you happy when life isn’t all about you.
I don’t mean for this to sound harsh. But, the truth is, you can find testimonies exactly like Jennifer’s, except in reverse.
“Wah, wah! I was brainwashed by my religious parents that a woman’s role is taking care of the home–and now I’m not haaaaaaaaappy! Wah!”
I believe these women bought a lie, just like Jennifer.
But, you see, the Feminist Lie and the Conservative Marriage Lie is really the same one: “Jump through these hoops and check these boxes, and you’ll love everything about your life.”
Unfortunately, neither marriage nor career will satisfy a self-focused young woman.
In fact, I have told many young women (from my best friend to my sisters to my daughters) that they should expect unhappiness, because I don’t want them to be surprised. I’ve said, point blank, “Choose whether you’d like to enter the workforce or build a young family–but YOU WILL BE UNHAPPY EITHER WAY!”
I’m not trying to discourage them. Quite the opposite!
I want young ladies to be encouraged that–just because they’re unhappy sometimes does NOT mean they’ve taken a wrong turn and ruined their lives and now they have to deal with regret until they die.
The biggest reason young women are unhappy, both making money and making babies, is because our culture has lost the art of self-sacrifice.
We’ve forgotten that the happiest people are those who look for opportunities to pour themselves out–to toil and sweat and SERVE others. The happiest people don’t feel sorry for themselves for being completely used up and exhausted at the end of every day.
Happy People are thrilled when they’ve spent every bit of energy they have on whatever project they’ve been assigned, because being an instrument of God has been the goal all along!
Young ladies, decide what is a worthy cause, and then don’t look back as you give every single ounce of yourself to it.
Hold nothing back.
“This life is an altar, where I want to offer, my soul and my mind and my strength…”
If you’re aiming for self-sacrifice, then you won’t be surprised by fatigue. You won’t be disappointed by frustrations. You’ll be proud that you’re meeting your goals!
When you look around at your office space and wonder what it would be like to have a family waiting at home, and you feel the weight of the sacrifice that you’ve made by choosing to serve your coworkers and your company, you can mourn what you’ve lost without regretting it. You can rest in the knowledge that you’re accomplishing your goal of sacrificing wherever you are.
And if the babies are crying and the house is a mess and your ungrateful husband doesn’t understand what it’s like cleaning the same messes and breaking up arguments 24 hours a day–and you feel the weight of the sacrifice that you’ve made by choosing to serve your family–you can mourn what you’ve lost without regretting it.
You will realize, with a mix of sad-happiness, that you’re needed and you’re irreplaceable…
…and you’re accomplishing your goal of sacrificing wherever you are.
If you’re searching for happiness, you’ll rarely find it. But if you learn to love the process of pouring yourself out, you’ll have the privilege of watching God fill you back up, over and over and over again.
It will be painful, no matter what choices you make. You won’t always feel happy.
But, since life isn’t all about you, that’s okay.
Whether in the office or in the home, there are ALWAYS opportunities for joy when a person chooses to sacrifice for others.