Getting On With The Life God Has For You

Susan Narjala   |   October 18, 2022 

Our first year of marriage wasn’t all rainbows and roses.

I loved my man to bits. And I knew he loved me.

But, like many marriages, year one wasn’t a walk in the park. It was more like a roller-coaster ride in an amusement park. Back then, I hadn’t the faintest clue that marriage can go from idyllic to irritating in a snap. Or even if I did, I thought we were the “special” couple who would never fight, only whisper lovey-dovey sweet-nothings to each other, enjoy picnic lunches by a lake every Saturday afternoon and hold hands as we walked into church every Sunday.

But the truth is we were two regular 20-somethings figuring out how to live and grow together.

After our wedding, I moved from Bangalore to Portland, Oregon, (where my husband lived). From living life on my schedule and my terms, I made the discovery that all my friends were his friends, the apartment I moved to was his apartment, the car I was learning to drive on was his car, and the money I spent was what he earned at his job (Although to be fair, the hubs never ever made me feel like I helping myself “his” earnings).

Insecurity reared its ugly head. And I devolved into Ms. Always Needy.

I gave in to complaining and whining and having completely arbitrary emotional outbursts.

I gave in to being selfishly demanding of my husband’s time and attention.

I gave in to getting my way and throwing elaborate pity parties for myself when I didn’t.

I gave in to acting like a child.

That’s when I came across the book, Big Girls Don’t Whine by Jan Silvious. I don’t believe the book is famous or the author is extremely well-known. But as I flipped through its pages, I realised that I knew the “Little Girl” described by the author. In fact, I knew her pretty darn well. Yup, she was none other than yours truly.

The characteristics of the “Little Girl” resonated with me so much that it made me squirm like a three-year-old caught with her hand in the candy jar.

A Little Girl tends to be self-absorbed. 

A Little Girl makes others responsible for her happiness.

A Little Girl has a hard time being a wife.

A Little Girl avoids getting close to God.

The author gently unpacked the time-warp that I found myself in—but the truth was a punch to my gut. I was a 27-year-old “Little Girl.” I had made life about three things: me, I, and myself. If I was tired, I wanted my husband to offer me oodles of sympathy. If I was overworked, I wanted 100% credit for my hard work. If my fairly clueless husband had upset me for some reason, I wanted to pout and give him the silent treatment (and I expected him to figure out the problem through telepathy.) Essentially, I wanted my husband to be my god and fulfil my deepest needs.

Thankfully, the author offered a perspective on “Big Girl” characteristics too.

A Big Girl cares more about others than herself.

A Big Girl understands that she is responsible for her own happiness.

A Big Girl embraces her role as a wife.

A Big Girl accepts God's invitation to be part of all He does.

The author goes on to say, “Making a choice to pursue maturity can fix a lot of what is broken in your life…”

As a young wife, I decided quietly to pursue maturity. I was done with my childish ways of getting what I wanted. I needed God to change me from the inside out.

And He did. By the grace of God, seventeen years later, I can say that I’ve grown into a (relatively) wiser woman who (mostly) seeks her satisfaction and purpose in the Lord.

Are there still challenges in the way I relate to m'man?

Without a doubt.

Is there room for growth and change?

Absolutely. I am a work in progress.

But nearly two decades ago, this book gave this young wife a new perspective and helped put our marriage on the right track, because it put me on a path toward maturity in God. I started to uncover my identity and my significance in Christ and didn’t need the world’s vote of approval or my husband’s validation.

Maybe, like me, you suffer from Little Girl Syndrome too. Maybe it comes up in your friendships where you constantly rehearse and rehash old hurts. Maybe it comes up in your parenting where you hover over your kids and keep them dependent on you so you can feel like you’re always needed. Maybe it comes up in your journey as a single woman who tells herself that she needs a man to complete her. Maybe, like the young wife that I was, it comes up in your marriage where you whine to get your way or you put your husband on a pedestal and expect him to create your happiness.

Thankfully, our God is in the business of redeeming our stories. If He brings us to a place of brokenness over immature thinking and acting, may we welcome it. He convicts us and He gives us the power to change. He even conforms us to the likeness of His Son.

It’s a hard thing to admit—even to ourselves, childish, self-centred patterns of thinking. But may we not get comfortable in our immaturity but press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us.

Big girls don’t whine. Big girls serve a great, big, wonderful God and know that He is always enough.

 

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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