by Christie Browning
Something is happening... a phenomenon if you will. It seems as if every conversation I have with women is centered around confusion, lack of direction and feelings of emptiness. Whether they are weighed down by stresses in their marriage or feeling defeated by a past mistake or situation... either way, there's been a lot of heavy hearts and worried minds.
All of this has left me wondering... are we really up for the challenge? The challenge of life, of love, of family, of business... are we prepared, shored up and ready to go?
I recently posted a broadcast in my Facebook community on this very topic. In it I gave four areas where we need to be up for the challenge... You tell me which one hits home!
1) Being a woman who's up for the challenge means we need to develop an intensity to do our specific jobs. Imagine a world where we all operated and acted out of our unique talents, abilities and gifts! How many of you have tried to force yourself into a job or a responsibility ...to avoid saying no, to avoid disappointing someone, to be a part, to start something new... all the while it is not within your God-given gift. As a woman I know we give and we give and we give. Sometimes we pour ourselves into others to the point of being totally depleted. Developing an intensity for our God-given "job" won't mean an easy, breezy way of life. It will be hard. But, the rate of return and rewards that await will fill us up to overflowing. I see women who are drained, empty, and left feeling unfulfilled and I have to ask... "When was the last time you were intense about developing, growing and using the gift God has for you?"
2)Being a woman who's up for the challenge means we need to focus on truth. For decades women have bought into the lies pushed by society, media, magazines, celebrity profiles, the woman next door and so on. We measure, compare and compete with what we now see on social media sites. We feel we aren't smart enough, thin enough, rich enough, blonde enough... whatever it is, we've bought the lie. In fact, these lies really are -- I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy enough, I'm just a big screw up, I am always messing things up, I am unloveable, I am a mess. These are lies sold to us by the one who seeks to destroy us. But we've bought them! We've handed over the very freedom and atonement Jesus died to give us to receive depression, frustration, loneliness, unworthiness.
Romans 8:31 says, "Therefore, if God is for us, who then can be against us?" That means nothing and no one is against us! God is for you.. He is standing in the bleachers yelling your name, shouting for you to keep going! No one is against you.. not your boss, not your ex, not your bossy sister or your judgmental mother-in-law. NO ONE ... that is unless you choose to live in the lie. BUT I AM SAYING NO MORE! We must get focused on truth.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Psalm 107. I've preached on this chapter several times and I just love all that this scripture has to say. Verse 16 says, "for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron." I love that word picture! Who is the "he" in this verse...its the LORD!
He breaks through the heavy, tall gates you've used to close yourself off from the outside world. He can break down the gates that you've locked tight in order to preserve and protect yourself, but that leave you in isolation. He can cut through the iron bars you've hid behind that have left you locked up in depression, guilt, forgiveness and fear.
THIS IS TRUTH! This is what we need to stand on, meditate on and devour!
3) Being a woman who's up for the challenge means we need to be compassionate and empathetic for our sisters. We need to get serious and zealous to encourage, support and cheer on those sisters around us. Yes, our journeys are different, our paths aren't the same, but that doesn't mean we can't applaud, sustain and support one another. Instead of judging, measuring and competing, let's help each other run the race. When we offer compassion and empathy to fellow sisters, it can be like rocket fuel propelling her to cross the finish line, to make it through the day, to keep her going on. And imagine the ripple effects that will create in her life, in her home, in her relationships.
I Corinthians 13:1 says if we do not love we are like noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. We just make a bunch of clattering, loud noises. That to me is the woman who is quick to boast her super mom or wife successes while standing next to her is a sister suffering through a divorce, missing a wayward child, or was just lucky to get all her clothes on that day. Yes we can celebrate our success, but what if we poured out love, compassion and empathy. What if we slowed down enough to notice those that were hurting or struggling.
4) Being a woman who's up for the challenge means learning to be understanding and patient with our husbands. Ladies, if you're married to a good man, meaning he isn't manipulative, cheating or abusive, understand that he isn't perfect and needs your support. As women we tend to take charge and push to get things done. We take over the very responsibilities our husbands should have and we leave him on the sidelines with his hands in his pockets. Then we stand back and wonder why he isn't more involved, isn't more of a leader and doesn't take charge. It's because we have pushed him out of the way! If we would become comfortable with the God-given role we've been tasked with and let go of trying to do for our husbands, we would experience less stress and frustration. I know from experience we will even see our husbands rise to the challenge and step up to the plate.... BUT... he won't do things the way you would do them, he won't respond like you would respond, he won't even make the same choices. That's where patience comes in. You have to let him have a little room to figure it out and let him be him!
I believe with all my heart that women have been given special power and roles from God. There's a reason he didn't make a male friend to be Adam's bro-buddy to watch football with and tinker on engines. He made a female counterpart... which means we fit alongside our husbands. We don't push them out of the way, we don't act in their place.
Regardless of which area hits close to the heart, I know if we resolve to be women who are up to the challenges of life, God will equip us. He is capable of mighty power through us if we are willing to let Him do the work.