A Woman’s Only Sin – Lack of Self-Esteem

One of the things I’ve wanted to do is offer some commentary on what Christian women are being taught. Having been exposed to Wild At Heart, I found it natural to investigate the book written by John Eldredge and his wife Stasi as a counterpart to that book: Captivating.

eldredge_captivating

The book fits with an adjective that I find more proper to women today, and especially Christian women: Repulsive. In almost every woman, we have their feral natures running the show. Books like this do nothing to stem the tide of women rebelling against God. This book has nothing about the fallen state women are under. This book has nothing about the sin they exhibit or the typical pride of Eve, proving it very feminist. It addresses nothing about women being more the wife of Job than the Proverbs 31 wife. This book especially has nothing about the distinctive masculine walk that Jesus calls each of us to – the one of discipleship. This book, rather, fills unregenerate female hearts to Satan’s delight. There are so many passages that I could use in this book, but I will focus on just a few.

The whole theme of the book stems on the concept of self-esteem. It creates a certain pride and arrogance in women. The whole book is planted in feminist doctrine, as the notes I took regarding modern feminism in the church illustrates:

She also sought to redefine the principal sins of men and women. She asserted that to men, the principal sin is pride and grace is sacrificial love. In women, she asserted the exact opposite, that a woman’s principal sin is too much sacrificial love and not enough pride in themselves (or lack of self-esteem). (10)

The whole goal is setting up women in their pride – in their lost state. She does too much, she’s all about service, her true nature is being forced into hiding by the actual requirements of God. The one that requires her to walk in true discipleship to the Lord. The one that requires her to put her self aside in service. The one that actually requires her to honor her familial authority figures – her father and her husband. All of this keeps her from being “captivating”.

How do we recover essential femininity without falling into stereotypes, or worse, ushering in more pressure and shame upon our readers? That is the last thing a woman needs. And yet, there is an essence that God has given to every woman. We share something deep and true, down in our hearts. So we venture into this exploration of femininity by way of the heart.
. . .
God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating. (1)

Of course, given the literal feral state of the modern woman, shame and pressure are the exact things they need. But focusing on self-esteem, lifting up the self instead of lifting up God keeps women everywhere from being what they were called to be before God. Instead, Satan whispers in their ears that they’re missing out – look at all of what God is keeping from them because their hearts desires aren’t fulfilled. That the flesh can’t rule them when they’re ruled by the Spirit. Even the Spirit peeks out though:

I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I’ve ever met feels it–something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame, the universal companion of women. It haunts us, nipping at our heels, feeding on your deepest fear that we will end up abandoned and alone. (2)

Shame, when it comes from conviction is a good thing. Instead of seeking why this is, for example kowtowing to the world and the opinions of others instead of seeking to please the Lord’s will, shame itself becomes the bad thing. Instead of recognizing the brokenness that a woman should have where the Lord should reign, she does everything to build herself up and ignore her sin. She makes herself valuable in her identity as woman.

Think about it: God created you as a woman. “God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Whatever it means to bear God’s image, you do so as a woman. Female. That’s how and where you bear his image. Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities–as a reflection of God’s own heart. You are a woman to your soul, to the very core of your being. And so the journey to discover what God meant when he created woman in his image–when he created you as his woman–that journey begins with your heart. Another way of saying this is that the journey begins with desire. The desires that God has placed into our hearts are clues as to who we really are and the role that we are meant to play. Many of us have come to despise our desires or at least try to bury them. They have become a source of pain or shame. We are embarrassed of them. But we don’t need to be. The desires of our heart bear a great glory because, as we will detail further in the next chapter, they are precisely where we bear the image of God. We long for certain things because he does! (3)

Instead of it becoming about what God desires in her life, it becomes about her desires.

Her desires are made into what God desires.

In other words, her desire becomes entitlement, because in her view those desires are wrapped up into her entire identity as woman. She is Queen. She is the Princess. She is Beauty. She is God (dess). There is nothing new about this, so the only thing teachers are doing is accentuating the fleshly motives that are already there in woman.

We are reminded of Pascal’s metaphor, that our unmet longings and unrequited desires are in fact “the miseries of a dethroned monarch.” Mankind is like a king or queen in exile, and we cannot be happy until we have recovered our true state. What would you expect the Queen of a kingdom and the Beauty of the realm to feel when she wakes to find herself a laundress in a foreign land? A woman’s struggle with her sense of worth points to something glorious she was designed to be. The great emptiness we feel points the great place we were created for. It’s true. All those legends and fairy tales of the undiscovered Princess and the Beauty hidden as a maid are more accurate than we thought. There’s a reason little girls resonate with them so. (4)

In this way, the narratives of traditional feminism rear their ugly head. Instead of that “great emptiness” pointing to the need to submit to God in humility, it becomes a need to affirm her delusions, and become what it is she feels in her heart. Not to be a captivating woman of God, but to be a repulsive despicable despot over all that is around her. Not to be a humble inviting woman, but to be a prideful arrogant beast. But she is justified. She is Woman. She is the crown of creation.

Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? . . . Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, his piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole vast world was incomplete without me. Creation reached its finishing touch in me.” (5)

She’s the best thing of all on earth, above the earth, and under the earth. She is Woman. She is Beauty. She is Queen. Hear her roar, as Satan cackles with delight.

“You are a Princess, you are called to rule, you are called to reign, and you are commanded to operate in it!”
– Nicole Crank

Image Source: Amazon.com

(1) Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge p X. (2) ibid p 6-7 (3) ibid p 8. (4) ibid p 22-23. (5) ibid p 26.

27 thoughts on “A Woman’s Only Sin – Lack of Self-Esteem”

  1. In other words, her desire becomes entitlement, because in her view those desires are wrapped up into her entire identity as woman. She is Queen. She is the Princess. She is Beauty. She is God (dess). There is nothing new about this, so the only thing teachers are doing is accentuating the fleshly motives that are already there in woman.

    This is also where women take the notion that they are the head of marriages, as the link I put there illustrates. If her heart’s desires are God’s desires, then she becomes the Holy Spirit in the life of her husband, and his only path given to him by Churchianity is to submit to her.

    This “her heart is God’s will stuff” explains a lot of what Dalrock wrote on his blog such as this: Women’s sacred path to marriageFeral Love

    Reading Amazon reviews yields some more interesting stuff:

    This book was among the influential reads that led my sister-in-law to be captivated away from her 26 year marriage and 4 children because she couldn’t wear the tiara this prescribes AND love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. “Herself” got in the way, and “Captivating” helped her succeed in bringing about a flesh-ripping divorce. Ladies, please find something better to read.

    I would go onto say that not getting her “heart’s desire” is what drives most wives to divorcing because they’re bored and unhaaaaaapy…seems to be that. A good one to drill into for next time.

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  2. Wow – that’s really bad. And it has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

    I read Wild at Heart and thought it was pretty good, though obviously in retrospect the part about rescuing the damsel in distress is completely blue pill. But what you are describing about this one is ridiculous. It fits with my general observation that men are called by the church to genuine repentance fused to a blue-pill feminine service obligation, while women are pretty much called to nothing except maybe, as you note, feeling good about themselves. It reminds of how Father’s Day sermons are often about the importance of fathers and the duties of fathers (with the obligatory mention of how much pain missing fathers have caused), while Mother’s Day sermons tend to be celebrations of motherhood with much less negative focus or call to arms (though in fairness I have heard some).

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  3. @Neguy
    I find most of the Amazon reviews to be pretty heavily gamed to the high end. Either people not thinking much about what they read, people paid to give good reviews, or people simple minded enough to accept anything they see. Reading the 1-3 star reviews usually are more honest reviews, and most of those for Captivating actually nail the same things I saw. I really didn’t get into the depths of what I found in the book even in that little brief review at the top. A lot of it was either pretty vapid or had a way of leading myself towards the whip as Jesus did. The passages I’m going to comment on don’t even hit the fullness of how bad that book is (it’d score a 1 out of 10 if I did review it, as I did note maybe 5 pages of interesting/good passages).

    As for Wild At Heart, it’s been a little while since I read it. I definitely was more blue-pill then, so I’m thinking about reading it again just to see how differently I see it. I will note that they brought up some of it in Captivating that was very blue-pill to the point of offensiveness.

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  4. Wow, thank you for posting this. I wish you could write more on this. I read this book about a decade ago, and I was DEEPLY disturbed by it. I am glad you included the quote about women being “the crown of creation,” because that was probably the most weird, irritating, and downright wrong passage I still remember reading to this day. I was even remembering the quote the other night about feeling like we are “too much and not enough at the same time.”

    This book is so damaging on so many levels and just about every single person I know, even guys, have embraced its message. One of my good friends who is a pastor once joked amongst come college students he ministers too about the “laughable theology” in the Eldrege’s books, and I was like, “Ah, a breath of fresh air. Thank you.” Thank you again for exposing the false message in this book. It definitely epitomizes what the Church definies as “womanhood” these days. Pretty disgusting.

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  5. Allow me to correct the imbecile author’s statement in his book: Wild at Heart:

    “How do we recover essential [masculinity] without falling into stereotypes, or worse, ushering in more pressure and shame upon our readers? That is the last thing a man needs. And yet, there is an essence that God has given to every man. We share something deep and true, down in our hearts. So we venture into this exploration of masculinity by way of the heart.
    . . .
    God has set within you a masculinity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating. (1)”

    Now that is a correct and true statement that adheres to God’s Word and to scientific reality. Those who are prone to believe lies and follow them do not have the heart or mind mature enough to seek real Truth. For the Truth is painful, ugly, and brings us to the very pit of self-deprecation because that is exactly how horrid we are in the sight of an absolute Perfect King. This book does nothing of the sort, and therefore is a total fraud. Ironically, this book will find itself, if it hasn’t already done so, in millions of “Bible” study groups…the irony being that this book is as anti-biblical as you can go when it comes to the poison of modern femininity.

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  6. @Obliterated There will be more posts coming on different topics from the book (2 or 3 at my guess). Indeed, it’s very disturbing. Since it’s addressed to women, it’s a good picture of what they are being taught in their women’s studies groups. It seems a good illustration of 1 Timothy 2:12-14 where Eve is mentioned as the deceived one in the prohibition on women to teach or assume authority over a man. I read through the whole thing wondering how anyone can buy it, but women are that gullible and my guess is that not too many men have looked at these kinds of things.

    @crimsonviceroy Very correct (though this is Captivating I’m quoting from). The scary part is how many have bought into this kind of garbage from the Eldredges and others.

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  7. Indeed, women feel the desire to feel “captivating”, and this is natural.

    However, in prior eras this reflected her desire to “captivate” the best man possible, an Alpha who was “captivated” enough with her to stick around and actually care for the children. The solipsism had a higher purpose.

    Now that we’ve almost entirely divorced femininity from motherhood, the solipsism remains devoid of its original purpose. Before it seemed to be about *her* but it ultimately served the well-being of her children. Today, it’s just about *her* and only about her. The selfishness that was meant to manifest itself as a subjective advocate for her own kids now grows into pure narcissism.

    I’m curious what the book has to say about motherhood (I’ve got to assume there’s something).

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  8. @Martel

    Before it seemed to be about *her* but it ultimately served the well-being of her children. Today, it’s just about *her* and only about her.

    I’m curious what the book has to say about motherhood (I’ve got to assume there’s something).

    Chapter 10 is the bulk of what addresses motherhood. It chiefly reflects the story of Stasi and her own mother. As you write, it’s always been about *her* and her solipsistic interests as much as she can make it, as they see their children in the same way as the dolls she played with in childhood. I’ll lift a few things from that chapter.

    Many a good woman makes the desperate mistake of believing that her daughter is a reflection of herself, an extension of herself, and therefore the verdict on her as a mother and as a woman. She is dumbfounded, disappointed, sometimes wounded deeply when her “little girl” makes choices wholly foreign to what she would have chosen. The result of entangling the verdict on yourself as a woman with your daughter’s life is deep wounding and a further twisting of the relationship. The mother will try and set things right; the daughter will pull away even further to establish her own identity. – Captivating p 171

    This tendency of women who are mothers to make children into reflections of themselves is the chief reason that young boys need to be taken away from them by their fathers. A mother’s pressure in this respect coupled with the multiple generations (about 200 years now) of absence of fathers is what has feminized most all men. Male mother need, coupled with the lack of masculine socialization has produced most of what you see today.

    Girls’ hearts flourish in homes where they are seen and invited to become ever more themselves. Parents who enjoy their daughters are giving them and the world a great gift. Mothers in particular have the opportunity to offer encouragement to their daughters by inviting them into their feminine world and by treasuring their daughters’ unique beauty. – Captivating p 172

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  9. . . . And yet there is one more finishing touch. There is Eve. Creation comes to its high point, its climax with her. She is God’s finishing touch. As Paul later writes, man “is the image and glory of God but woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7). And all Adam can say is, “Wow.” Eve embodies the beauty and the mystery and the tender vulnerability of God.

    The reason a woman wants a beauty to unveil, the reason she asks, Do you delight in me? is simply that God does as well. God is captivating beauty. As David prays, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may . . .gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” (Ps. 27:4) Can there be any doubt that God wants to be worshiped? That he wants to be seen and for us to be captivated by what we see? – Wild At Heart p 38

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  10. She’s the best thing of all on earth, above the earth, and under the earth. She is Woman. She is Beauty. She is Queen. Hear her roar.

    “You are a Princess, you are called to rule, you are called to reign, and you are commanded to operate in it!”
    – Nicole Crank

    This is a common teaching in churchianity these days. It’s all about the oppressed female. Called to reign? give me a break were is that in scripture. Jesus told us we are to be servants. You are a Princess? Where is that in scripture? Hear her roar? I have no need of a modern churchianity Hamster driven womyn for a wife.

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  11. Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? . . . Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, his piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole vast world was incomplete without me. Creation reached its finishing touch in me.”

    I have never read this book, but my sister loved it. This quote above sickens me. What a pile of narcissistic vomit.

    Reminds me of this:

    12“How you are fallen from heaven,
    O Day Star, son of Dawn!
    How you are cut down to the ground,
    you who laid the nations low!
    13
    You said in your heart,
    ‘I will ascend to heaven;
    above the stars of God
    I will set my throne on high;
    I will sit on the mount of assembly
    in the far reaches of the north;[a]
    14
    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.’
    15
    But you are brought down to Sheol,
    to the far reaches of the pit.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2014:12-15

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