Superwoman complex: A woman’s desire to be excellent at all her roles (leader, professional, mother, wife, etc.), that often leads to psychological stress or an expectation of being a Superwoman that can and should do everything.
If you look this term up in the dictionary, you’ll find my picture next to it. I didn’t realize I fit into this category until a few months ago. I was new to marriage, taking summer school, cooking dinner 3-4 times a week, working out every day, involved in church ministry, working 40 hours a week, reading 200 pages a day for class, trying to be a friend, daughter, and the perfect wife. I was exhausted and didn’t even have kids yet! But after working 10 hours one Saturday afternoon, I finally broke down.
Why was I so upset, so exhausted? My husband was well fed, the house was clean, I was making good grades, and church ministry was going well. It seemed like I was doing what the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to do, so why was I breaking down? What’s wrong with being Superwoman?
1. Superwoman is Too Busy for God.
At the end of every day being “Superwoman,” I was exhausted and needed a good night’s sleep to be able to save the day again. I told God, “I’m too busy for you. I have to do everything tomorrow and need my sleep so I can’t read your Word.” The way God was going to speak to me and bring me peace, contentment, and joy was what I was rejecting. Scripture breathes life into our souls and I was becoming spiritually and physically exhausted without it.
The Proverbs 31 woman is refreshed daily, speaks with wisdom, and is exemplary because she seeks the source of all wisdom and faithful instruction….God. (Prov. 31:24). I was doomed for failure as Superwoman because I didn’t have the one thing that would revive my soul everyday (Ps. 19:7). Rather than trying to be Superwoman, I needed to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman, seeking the Lord and His Word, which brings light to the eyes and joy to the heart (Ps.19:8).
2. Superwoman Thinks She Can Save the Day.
When you try to be a superhero, there’s no room for God to save the day. I thought I could do it all on my own and, foolishly, I thought I didn’t need God’s help. I was the controller of my life, not God. When He is not your center, when He is not in control, your life will not be peaceful or successful (Prov. 3:5-6).
If you’re trying to be Superwoman, you will eventually fail and break down (Prov. 14:12), but when God is in control, there is peace and rest. I was putting my trust in myself which seems pretty stupid when I think about it, because I’m a sinful, simpleton of a woman. Why was I trusting in that kind of person when I have a Savior who is perfect (Ps. 18:30), loving, strong, in control of the entire world and wants to do good for me (Deut. 30:16, Ps. 37:4-5)? That’s who I want to save the day!
3. Superwoman Tries to Be Perfect.
A lot of Christian women think of the Proverbs 31 woman as a type of Superwoman. She’s Susie-homemaker, smart, good with money, can sew, and her husband and children think she’s the best. She’s perfect!
God requires His daughters to be like that, right? Aren’t all those things in Scripture? They are and God does want them from us but there’s a big difference between Superwoman and the Proverbs 31 woman. The difference is: God.
You can do all the actions of the Proverbs 31 woman but if your heart isn’t God-centered then you’re just a Superwoman destined to fail. God knows that only He and His Son, Jesus Christ are perfect, so why are we trying to be perfect in every area? Is it so you’ll appear to be the most talented girl in the dorm, the best wife in your small group, or the most desirable single woman? Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of all these “Me”-driven motives. The Superwoman complex is centered on: Self.
God does not value outward perfection, awards, or praises from man like we do. The only thing God requires is that we seek Him and fear Him, like the Proverbs 31 woman (Prov. 31:30). God doesn’t call us to be Superwomen; he calls us to be godly women.
When you put your long to-do lists and full schedules on His shoulders the burden is much lighter because He’s carrying it for you (Matt. 11:28). He knows you can’t handle the weight of being Superwoman. You’ll collapse under it, like I did.
If you have been like the Proverbs 31 woman, putting everything in God’s hands, thank you! You’ve been an example to your sisters and we need more women like you. I pray I become more like you and less like Superwoman.
So let’s all take off the cape and let God save the day!