Chapter 11 of the book Beautiful Girlhood is titled ‘Ideals‘. I have found much insight from this chapter and I hope to bring it to you in a way that will improve your life and character as you strive to follow God’s calling in your life. (Everything in quotes is from chapter 11 of Beautiful Girlhood unless otherwise indicated.)
The author describes an ideal as “a mental conception of perfection.” She says “Every girl has her ideals and in one way or another is working toward them. No girl can rise higher than her ideals….It is better to aim at the impossible than to be content with the inferior.”
Think about what kind of woman you consider to be ideal. “Consider her dress, her lifework, her manner of speech, her influence upon those about her. Think of her as a housewife and as a mother. Is your ideal woman loud spoken, or is her voice pitched low and sweet? Does she criticize others quickly and sharply, or does she have always a good word for everybody? Is her dress quiet and becoming, or “loud” and bold? Does she wear jewelry and ornaments upon her person, or is her adornment that of a meek and quiet spirit? … Is she a teacher, a housewife, a business woman, or a woman of ease and pleasure? Is she an actress or a movie star? Is she pure and noble, or light and frivolous? Whatever she is, you admire her, and deep in your heart you want to be like her.”
Then the author goes on to tell what the biblically ideal woman looks like.
“First, she must be pure and noble. Our truly ideal woman must not be one who is silly or frivolous, nor shall she be guilty of actions that appear vulgar or unwomanly. She must be sweet-voiced and gentle…She must have always a kind word for all… Her clothing must be modest and becoming…she must be known for the beauty of her character. Her face may be pretty or it may not be, that is of no importance at all. She must be a good housewife and a good mother. She must be loving, tender-hearted, and sympathetic. She must be the kind of woman to whom you would not be afraid to tell your troubles. She must be true-hearted and loyal in friendship, never breaking faith. She must be a Christian, serving God with all her heart. If every girl would set up such a pattern for her ideal, how different many lives would be!”
I know this sounds really old-fashioned but I think this is what we are missing in today’s culture and maybe that’s the reason for America’s moral decline. This list of good character traits sounds a lot like that found in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2:4-5. We are all different but our lives should be based upon these same biblical guidelines.
Miss Hale goes on to say that “If you aspire to be pure and noble, then you must give up all that defiles and leave it out of your life.”
“It is not enough simply to strive for a life morally pure and noble. That is good; but the truly ideal life is one lived for God. A life that does not in word and deed reflect the life and teachings of Christ, fails that much in being ideal.”
This is the most important part. If Christ is the foundation of our lives, He should be the one we strive to imitate. This is something I think Mabel Hale may not have emphasised quite enough. We should live every moment of our lives in reflection of His great mercy and love.
What follows is the story of a young woman who stood by her Christian convictions even when it was very difficult. (You can skip through this part if you don’t have much time. I think you get the point.)
“I never think of one who stands by her Christian ideals but what I remember a girl I knew years ago. She was a happy, blue-eyed girl with high ideals of morality and godliness, and with a purpose to be true to these in all her conduct. She had kept company with a young man for some time and they had become engaged to be married, and she gave him her whole heart’s love. But he was not a Christian, and as their acquaintance became more intimate he saw more and more her determination to be guided in everything by her pattern, Christ. He loved the things of this life and desired that their lives together should be gay and full of worldly pleasure, while he saw plainly that her mind ran to things spiritual. He thought it best for them to understand before marriage that their lives were not to be religious, but should be given to the things he loved. So one evening he told her plainly his position. Her blue eyes opened wide in astonishment that he should set before her such a choice; for he had said that if she was not willing to give up her religion she must give him up. She was disappointed, for she had hoped to win him for the Lord. But her answer came firmly from her heart, “I will not give up my Lord for any man.” This decision cost her his friendship and the fulfilment of all the hopes and plans they had built, but she had in her heart the consciousness of having stood by her convictions.”
In closing Hale urges young women to “Be true, be noble, aim high, and God will give you strength to keep your ideals and bless you with His best.”
If you have gotten some good from this I’d like to hear from you.
Lord willing, I’ll post Part 2 very soon.