07 Jun Real Women
Godly women, wife, mother, friend series
Are you a single woman, married woman, married with kids, single mom, working mom, grandma? What gives you identity and acceptance as a woman? What gifts (serving, organizing, encouraging, teaching, etc.) do you have that people notice or you enjoy using? What things do you see others doing and wish you could do? All these questions get to the heart of where we place our identity.
We live in a culture that tells us we need to “find ourselves.” Magazines, tv, advertisements, books, and people all try to define us and tell us how to be strong, successful women. Over the years, I’ve put my identity in being a pastor’s daughter, married, college graduate, pastor’s wife, mother of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 kids, cooking healthy, using natural medicine, and many other categories that are insignificant when compared to my identity of “child of God.” Being a child of God not only refers to being created in His image (Gen. 5:1-2), but also to the Holy Spirit giving us the power to live out the identity God gives us (John 14:26). Our strength comes from God through Jesus’ death on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s help. Any “success” we experience is not our own because God enables and guides our steps.
In Eph. 4:22, Paul tells Christians to put on the identity of Christ, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” [italics mine] Just as we go to our closets to pick an outfit, we literally need to ask God to clothe us in a new outfit of Jesus’ righteousness and holiness each day. This means repenting of sin and old habits and letting the Holy Spirit lead us toward new habits that reflect Christ in us. This also keeps us from trying to put on someone else’s identity that wasn’t intended for us personally. Comparison brings shame and condemnation. When I start comparing myself to other women, it usually leads to coveting their gifts or beauty or material stuff. “I wish I was organized, pretty, smaller, taller, smarter, able to decorate my house, had better hair, a creative mom”…the list doesn’t stop. Instead, we need to ask God who he created each of us to be, and then do that well.
When I was young, I thought I was stupid. I thought I had to be smart to understand the Bible, so I didn’t really try. That lie and bad habit kept me from learning God’s Word even though I grew up in a Christian home. I made choices to let the enemy continue to lie to me about needing to prove I could be smart in other ways on my own, which kept me from knowing God’s truth and plan for my life. I lived in shame but tried to act strong. I was constantly insecure but had God’s security in identity right in front of me. God told me one day (and continues to reassure me) that He loves me and didn’t want me to keep hurting myself by living independent from Him… but I needed to trust Him. . He wanted to help me but I wasn’t letting Him lead me.
I prayed against the lies, asked the Holy Spirit to help me understand the Bible (which will be a process of discovery until eternity), and started new habits of learning to walk with Jesus in healing. The journey has been windy at times, but God hasn’t wavered in His love for me or His guidance of me.
How do we ensure that we view our identity in God and not ourselves? How do we get strength each day to live how God asks each of us? Here are some methods that continually challenge me and bring peace:
- Pray daily (and throughout the day) for dependence rather than independence. Let’s not deceive ourselves that we can go about our day without God. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” Submission of our hearts to God and His Word leads to submission of our actions.
- Pray daily for wisdom. Any right decision we make is because the Holy Spirit prompts us to make it. God wants us to ask Him for guidance in everything and He promises to give it in James 1:5 when He says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…”
- Pray daily for strength. The Proverbs 31 woman “dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong” and is even able to “laugh at the time to come” (v. 17 and 25). Strength is so evident that it is like an outfit to her; one that she adorns as she enjoys the roles God has given her. Stress and anxiety make us weary, so we need new strength every day to face responsibilities and trials. Our mindset needs to be that dependence on Him results in emotional, physical, and spiritual strength in our life.
- Pray daily for a repentant heart. We need to pause and examine the ways we sin, especially habitual sin. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mt. 3:8) or else we stay in bondage and blindness to our sin. There is always something to repent of, and when we do it allows us to walk in the light and have a clearer picture of how to live. Talk to God as your Father who loves and forgives you perfectly. He wants to hear from you!
These methods can help get us in the habit of listening to the Holy Spirit as we are praying. When we hear and obey, our faith continues to mature. I want to encourage you to clothe yourself in the unique identity Christ has for YOU, not comparing yourself to others, by staying in prayerful communication with Him.
God has a plan for your life and the enemy has a counterfeit plan. Let’s stand together as REAL women to seek what God has for each of us! Resist the lies, pursue Jesus, seek biblical wisdom, spend time with God in prayer, and I promise your life will be changed.