I'll offer one example, but it's merely an example... an example of a "good thing" that can be elevated to a "necessary thing" if you look at the form, rather than the heart of the matter:
THE 5AM "QUIET TIME"
For example- the 5am quiet time. Is this necessary? Some bloggers and books seem to communicate that waking before your children is the "right" thing to do. That if you're godly enough, if you prepare enough, if you are diligent enough (see how all this depends so stringently on *you* being good enough?), then you'll make a way for this to happen. "Because if God's Word is important to you," their 'wisdom' goes, "you'll make Scripture the first priority in your life."
Well, I would argue with that line of thinking for many reasons--
- Your priorities in life do not always/necessarily line up with the chronology of your day. Sometimes you do something first because it makes sense to do it first, not because it's necessarily the most important, or because it's the most valuable to you. Sometimes you put off something that is extremely valuable to you because you want to be able to give it your best attention or focus. The timing is not always the key factor in whether something is a priority to you.
- This way of thinking completely dismisses the idea of seasons in a woman's life. God Himself, in Isaiah 40:11 among other places, indicates that expectations differ based on the stage a "sheep" is in. One who has only young children, a nursing baby, a child with special needs, or other unique demands, is simply in a different stage than someone with teenagers, a college student, or an empty nester.
- It smacks of pharasaical thinking. One description that sticks out for me (of the Pharisees) is this one (Matthew 23:4) :
They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Christian woman, don't get caught up in thinking that because someone else does something a certain way that you must emulate her form!
Focus on the heart... if you find someone you look up to, imitate what is godly about her heart... her motivations... her character. But eschew ways of thinking that would convince you that you need to follow and subscribe to the specific details of someone else's life (the curriculum she uses, the time or method of her Bible study, the cleaning schedule she follows, her convictions about intimacy/ food/ birth control/ etc.).