I’ll start by introducing the word “nag” instead of “contentious.” It’s easier to type.
So, why am I contentions, er, a nag (see a definition in The Vexing and Contentious Woman )?
I nag to control my circumstances.
And so do you.
(If you don’t nag, you can probably identify other ways that you control people and situations).
Why am I a nag? I nag so that other people will act in such a way that life works for me. I nag to gain control (as if it worked). I MUST be in control. My very life depends on it!
It started with the fall and it was sealed with the curse.
(By the way, that’s good news! We are not meant to be controlling nags. It’s the opposite of how we were created as women… but it’s what we’re saddled with as sinners.)
It started with the fall.
Adam and Eve had this tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. They didn’t know what good and evil were. They knew they would die if they ate from the tree, but they didn’t know what that meant either. They may have thought that if they could eat that fruit, they’d no longer fear the unknown. Then they’d know for sure what good and evil were and maybe they’d be able to protect themselves from this death, whatever it was. And, besides, the serpent said they wouldn’t die anyway…
On top of it all, the fruit looked good.
Maybe God was holding back. Maybe He wasn’t so good after all: no fruit; no information about good or evil or death. Maybe they thought:
Hey, we better TAKE CONTROL of our destinies and take care of ourselves. We can’t trust this God. We need to know what He knows. We need to be in control like God is. Our lives depend on it.
So they ate.
And they were cursed.
My destiny to nag was sealed with the curse.
Here’s part of Eve’s curse:
“You will have desire for your husband. But he will rule over you.” Genesis 3: 16b
Many scholars define desire in this passage by comparing it to a parallel passage in Genesis 4: 7 which also uses the Hebrew word translated desire. Here’s the best explanation I found of the that definition:
When we apply the word picture that we see in [the parallel passage of] Genesis 4:7 [about sin "desiring" Cain], the meaning of Genesis 3:16 becomes clear. The wife’s “desire” to overpower and control her husband is a curse of sin on the marriage relationship. However, in this conflict the “prey” (husband) fights back and gets the upper hand, and the “predator” (wife) loses. (The cure for this curse is in Ephesians 5:21-33.)
A more complete explanation can be found at http://www.christdeaf.org/bible/TheHunt.pdf. It was published by Christ
Therefore, while God’s original (and restored) plan includes mutual submission of husband and wife, the fall lead to a fight for dominance and control between men and women. Because of the man’s superior strength, he often ends up in the ruling position.
We fell by not trusting God and taking control. And we are doomed to continue wanting control.
But a desire for control was NOT God’s original plan for women. It’s not how females were designed.
I contrast the fleshly, sinful place where we often find ourselves:
Don’t trust God with situations in life -> anger, fear, and frustration at circumstances (and people and sometimes God) – > being contentious towards others (either quietly or through nagging, as a way to control circumstances and others in order to protect ourselves)
With the place God wants us to be:
Trust God with every situation in life -> inwardly gently rest in His loving plan -> have an attitude of peace and tranquility (quiet) that doesn’t disturb, but instead soothes others (see A Phrase That Makes Me Gag: Gentle and Quiet Spirit for a definition of that phrase)
So, how do I move from distrust to trust? From fear and anger to gentle rest? From controlling contentiousness to peaceful quiet?
Before I go there, I want to take a detour and post about how all women, even the most verbally quiet women, find ways to control their circumstances and their people (with input from my husband, who has had vast experience in this arena!).
Next Post: Controlling? Not Me!