Diva-ness

From a young age I would prepare for my career in television.  I don’t remember my original scripts, but I’ll do my best to improvise.

“Now here’s a tip you might not know,” I would say to the mirror when brushing my teeth, “I floss before I brush my teeth.”

It didn’t stop as mere tooth brushing, however.  I would make meals for myself and model for the imaginary TV the finished product, and how good it tasted (or didn’t really).

I wrote songs, and tape-recorded them, singing my way to alleged stardom in my Fisher-Price microphone . . now I hope I never hear those tapes on a radio broadcast!

As a teenager, I pictured myself modeling, but far more “mod” than the real me, for those huge photo ads in malls you walk by.

What is this sense of diva-ness in girls?  I guess not all of us have it, but a lot of us do.  We have this sense of wanting to be paid attention to.  I read the book Love & Respect recently, and the author talks about trying to get his young daughter to go to bed one night.  He lays down beside her, talking to her but not looking at her, since it’s pitch dark.  She tilts his head towards her and says something impatiently like, “Daddy, you’re not looking at me!”  And he wonders, How did she know that?

This wanting of attention can effortlessly become an idol.

The desire for diva-ness.

Many men have struggled with staying alert (or awake) during long, drawled on discussion from their wives.  There are even jokes about it.  But have you ever stopped to wonder why we girls do this?

Why we talk on and on when we really know we have nothing to say, really don’t want to say it, but have this sense of urgency to keep talking anyway?

Diva-ness.

I fear losing the spotlight if I don’t keep talking.  Many times, on the phone with Ben, I have talked soliloquies into my end of the phone for long, long, long, long, loooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg minutes.  I will wonder why on earth I am doing this, think about how boring it must be for Ben . . and keep right on doing it.  I have this fear he will hang up if I don’t.  Or that he’ll lose interest in me.  (As if he would stay interested in me because I talk about nothing for hours!)

I could say something smart-sounding like I talk on and talk to try to sort through life’s problems or to build our relationship or to feel close to Ben or for our emotional health.  I could.  But really, it is a tussle with limelight insecurity.

Diva-ness.

Inside me is a real and ferocious desire to be center stage: amplified, envied, and queened . . a desire that draws us girls to wildly made-up eyes and diamonds like rain showers and the clothing store credit card.  The desire to be the goddess worshiped, the queen on the stage, the rockstar who seduces men.

The word diva, actually, stems from Italian for goddess, with its roots in the Latin word divus (divine)[1].

It can seem innocent, it can even seem winsome . . but it is a woman’s bane: a wild fixation to rule the world.  In some religions the god is a woman, and it is no coincidence that religions with goddesses are attracting a following now as they have since ancient times.

But where does this desire to be a diva come from?

The sinner most able to answer that question is Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5, NIV)

Did you catch that?

The serpent promised,

you will be like God

Eve was the first woman who tried to be a diva.

It wasn’t somehow enough to be made in God’s image.

It wasn’t somehow enough to be created to surprise a man who God had taught to seek her.  (God brought all the animals to Adam to name.  He could have brought Eve out first, but He waited for the suspense to build as Adam realized: girl rhino and boy rhino . . girl dino and boy dino . . girl giraffe and boy giraffe . . girl bear and boy bear . . but no girl human for Adam.)

I have to be very, very careful with my nature, the nature I inherited from Eve, a nature of longing for diva-ness.  This is not about being a strong woman.  There are plenty of strong women in the Bible who did not seek diva-ness, like Ruth, Deborah, Jael, Abigail, Esther, Elizabeth, Joanna, and Lydia.

Diva-ness can seem so beautiful . . so harmless . . so powerful . . and the results can be so tragic–more than we can possibly imagine.  The price Eve paid, in her lifetime, was to see her husband turn away from her . . and one of her sons to be murdered by another.  Eve desires diva-ness, takes the fruit, and fades into anonymity . . we know little of her after.  Her death is not even recorded.

Eve–what woman wants to be like her?  I grew up hating Eve, and I am not the only one.  Her desire to be diva cost her the respect and loyalty of her descendents–both sons and daughters.

Diva-ness is a trick from Satan, and because it is the ultimate goal of diva-ness to strangle a woman’s soul with humiliation and strip her naked of all dignity.

Diva-ness didn’t just make a fool out of Eve.

It has ravaged society ever since–ours, no exception.

In our desire for diamonds, we have lined the pockets of the blood-thirsty, chronicled fictionally in Blood Diamond–but the horror of what has happened in Africa is real.

We brag about closets full of clothes and our precious pricey shoes . . and feel not the slightest pain that almost half the world lives on less than the equivalent of $2.50 a day[2].

We line our jewelry cases instead of lining the food pantries of orphanages and refuge camps.

We spend more time flipping through magazines looking for hair styles than looking at pictures of the emaciating bodies of children around the world waiting for help.

We have even destroyed the own children within us in our struggle for power.  We would reign without burden even if it meant ripping the arms and legs off an unborn child.

We have torn the leadership and motivation to protect us out of mens’ lives.  We have treated as more precious our careers than our children, and it has become more popular to talk about love for things than love for sons and daughters.

But . . did we get the diva-ness we want?  Have we been worshiped?

The blockbuster stars of our time have to fear even stepping out of their mansion without makeup, lest the paparazzi torment them in next week’s cover story.

Husbands many times can’t wait to get away from their diva wives; children leave home without feeling they had a “nest” from which to even leave.  They have no commitment to see us when we are old and locked away in nursing homes.

Many women struggle through long nights of grief over the abortion they had and mourn birthdays that will never be.

So far as our career success, most of us are forgotten within five years of when we leave the workforce . . and those who are famous enough might make the Biography Channel now and then for someone to watch while eating a bag of potato chips.

We are lampooned behind our backs when we are old and trying to look young; all the clothes in our wardrobes don’t buy back the joy of helping one child in poverty; our diamonds are passed along to daughters who resent us; we die and then someone has to figure out what to do with all the outdated clothes in our musty wardrobes.

And sooner or later, sooner or later, a new, more beautiful, and far younger woman replaces us survival-of-the-fittest style as the new “diva”.

In all these things we have held so tightly we find we are clenching none of what we wanted to have.

This is not the life I want.

I do not want to be a diva.  I have no place in being worshiped.  I am not the end-all authority of the world and thank God for this or I would have done more to ruin humanity and humiliate myself than Eve did.

What I have learned, I learn in humility through Christ.  In my submission to Him, I find for myself not the godlessness of goddessness, but the beauty of belonging to GOD.

Eve didn’t have it right when she reached for diva-ness; it was all a trick from Satan to take away from her everything she loved most, everything she desired deepest in her heart . .

But the story does not end there.

Because GOD–not a goddess–stepped in to rescue His humans.

Even Eve.

He even came to rescue Eve.

And He will save the daughters of Eve.

I want to surrender the diva (every moment for the rest of my life) and sit at the feet of the GOD who was pierced to redeem me from wanting to be more important than Him.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. (1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB)

[1] Dictionary.com

[2] Global Issues: Poverty Facts and Stats by Anup Shah

 

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