The Answer to Over-Correction

f19f0-steering2bwheelWe’re halfway there. Two of our four children have a driver’s license. I’m bolstering myself for when we have to start lessons with the next two.

Very few things are more nerve-wracking than teaching someone how to drive.

The worst part is when new drivers “over correct”. Our car starts to drift into the wrong lane, and I’ll say, calmly, “You’re drifting a bit, sweetie,” (my blog, my version) but just as my words start to register, an angry honk startles the driver.

Inevitably, the steering wheel gets jerked a bit too suddenly, we swerve into oncoming traffic, then back into the honker’s lane, and my life flashes before my eyes.

It’s scary. They realize that they’re headed in the wrong direction, panic, and turn too far the other way. It’s instinct, I guess.

And girlfriends, isn’t it a perfect picture of how we react as women?

But the answer to being too far right is not in going too far left.

It’s like in Grease when Sandra Dee traded her cloned, goodie-goodie poodle-skirt for skin-tight 5a6f7-sandra2bdeeleather pants and a cigarette. The former was to fit in, the latter was for attention. I like to imagine that Sandy eventually landed somewhere in the middle, where she could be her best self without selling herself short.

The answer to a lack of attention is not in getting the wrong kind of attention.

As women, we tend to correct one dangerous extreme by heading toward another. Either place rarely offers stability or peace.

Let me give you a couple of examples from my own timeline: In college, another girl called me “fat-ass”. So I stopped eating enough, started exercising too much, and began a habit of criticizing what that I saw in the mirror. Both voices, audible and silent, were mean.

The answer to one abuse is not another.

And as a young bride, I was convicted that I was in the habit of nagging my husband. I made a vow to stop, and took a giant turn towards silent brooding for a season. Or a decade. Neither was effective or respectful.

The answer to nagging is not silence.

See what I mean? In both cases, I rightly identified a wrong, but reacted impulsively and foolishly. And when I look back over the history of our complicated gender, I see that I’m not alone…

In one era, women felt trapped and restricted, and responded with a pursuit to “have it all”.  Shortly after, we suffered a generation of women who had everything, but were doing nothing well.

The answer to not having enough is not in having everything.

The women’s movement gave us the the courage to respond to the horn’s blare of inequality.Our long silence turned into a demanding roar, but most of us are still trying to figure out how to be heard.The answer to oppression is not aggression.

Our grandmothers raised their children in homes of high-truth. There were no excuses, no hand-outs, and little supervision. Generally, those kids grew to be hard-working and highly resourceful, but lacked compassion and open-mindedness.

Now, years later, the wheel has turned.Today’s kids are full of entitlement, dependent on accommodations, and over-scheduled. To compensate for the shortcomings of generations past, we’ve mothered a bunch of very empathetic and solicitous, but fragile and unprincipled people.

The answer to high truth/low grace is not low truth/high grace.

When culture devalued the roles of wife and mother, we agreed and abandoned most of what makes us women. Then, we expected men to fill the void and bashed them when they fell short. Now, no one is sure how to be a woman or a man, much less a wife or a husband, and we’ve gotten no closer to  where both are simultaneously and individually esteemed.

The answer to gender depreciation is not gender resignation.

Even in church, we’ve over-corrected.For generations, we’ve fallen prey to distorted definitions of submission and we’ve discounted God’s value of women. In response, we shut the Book, banned the word “obey”, and turned to Oprah for guidance. It’s no wonder we’re lost.

The answer to legalism is not the absence of law.

f5924-rear-view-mirror

Our historical highway has the skid-marks to prove our swerving story, and it’s jolting to recount.

But when I look closely, I must admit that I’m over-correcting even today, on the smaller roads of my life…

I’m offended by a friend, so I pull away and hit “delete” on our relationship.

I feel overcommitted, so I quit everything.

I meet someone cool, so I abandon myself and try to become her.

When will I learn? When will we?

Ladies, let’s be honest. For years, we’ve been paying the price for panicky responses and trading one danger for another. We can’t redo those lost years, but we can get back on track.

It will take effort, focus, and the support of one another, but mostly it will take humility.

The answer to over-correction is humility.

Humility to listen to Someone else’s voice and to distrust, for once, our instincts.

Humility to slow down and learn from our mistakes.

Humility to resist the extremes and respect our boundaries.

Humility to learn the way in which we were uniquely designed to communicate, make changes, and do our part.

If we stay in the correct lane, we’ll get to where high-truth and high-grace cohabitate: where we can be our best selves.

It’s at the intersection of womanhood and the gospel… right between the lines that He painted with His own blood.

It’s the center of the cross, in the midst of “you are worse than you’ve ever feared” and “you are loved more than you’ve ever hoped”.

And the trick is not to jerk away from either.

It’s where you were meant to live. Not as a slave. Not as a queen.  As a woman. As His daughter.

Sisters, it’s where we will find everything that we’ve wanted all along. It’s where we’ll find our rightful place in this world. It’s where we’ll have peace.

I w2d80d-girl2bon2broadant my daughters to live there someday. Don’t you? Let’s teach them the way.

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”Genesis 3:13

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17 thoughts on “The Answer to Over-Correction

  1. Barbara London November 1, 2014 / 2:07 pm

    Beautiful words!! Thank you for “steering” us in the right direction!!

    Like

  2. lsgmusic5267 November 1, 2014 / 11:47 pm

    Thank you for your wise words, Karen! It was such an honor to be part of Girls' Night Out!

    Like

  3. Sonya McCllough November 5, 2014 / 1:18 pm

    I am so in agreement with you and let's be sure we teach our children the dangers of auto-correction as well.

    Like

  4. jviola79 November 5, 2014 / 2:34 pm

    Karen, this post is filled with wisdom. May we find balance in this life. So glad I stopped here this morning!

    Like

  5. Dawn November 5, 2014 / 2:42 pm

    Wow! So full of wisdom and grace. I love this, 'When culture devalued the roles of wife and mother, we agreed and abandoned most of what makes us women. Then, we expected men to fill the void and bashed them when they fell short. Now, no one is sure how to be a woman or a man, much less a wife or a husband, and we've gotten no closer to where both are simultaneously and individually esteemed.' (actually love it all but I didn't think I should put it in the comment section)
    We re in drivers ed right now with our middle child and I get the over correcting metaphor.

    Like

  6. blestbutstrest November 5, 2014 / 3:31 pm

    You've nailed it, Friend! And I was so proud of my driving skills…and my life skills…but I can clearly see some areas where I need to stop jerking the wheel. Thank you!

    Like

  7. Karen Brown November 5, 2014 / 8:08 pm

    I'm a jerk, too! 🙂 We're all in this together, friend. Thanks for stopping by!

    Like

  8. Karen Brown November 5, 2014 / 8:09 pm

    Dawn- Prayers to you as driver's ed continues. 🙂 Thanks for your encouraging words and for stopping by.

    Like

  9. strainme November 5, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    Ugh why do we do this to ourselves? The times someone told me I was talking too much so I would stop talking altogether. Yes, I need to stop over correcting!

    Like

  10. Simply Beth November 6, 2014 / 9:37 pm

    This is fabulous wisdom, Karen. You really shared this well. Blessings.

    Like

  11. Beth Willis Miller November 7, 2014 / 1:51 am

    Karen, I love this great analogy, it really resonates with those of us who have survived our children's driving lessons…such great advice about moderation. Thank you!

    Like

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