We talk in our small group about how to be a woman that pleases God– often hesitantly, all too aware of how we might not measure up, comparing ourselves to others as women tend to do, and the unspoken worry running underneath…what if the way I am made can never be good enough? And I look around the circle at these women, so different but for their desire to do well for their families and please their Creator, and I wish I could speak straight into their hearts that they are made the way they are by God’s design.
We all get that ideal woman in our heads sometimes (probably an amalgamation of every woman we ever admired, real or fictional, and believe me, I know how exhausting it is to try to live up to that). But let me say it straight out that God has no such illusions, and He knows perfectly well who you are and what you can do. There is actually no perfect wife or mother out there to compare yourself to, and there are no absolute standards for personality or abilities. There is just each one of us…with our own strengths and weaknesses…put in a particular place at a specific time…and created to do the certain things God has for us to do here. Each one completely known and treasured by Him. Jesus said it this way: “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
The person you are was hand-made by a God who saw you and loved you before anyone else did. He wired us all with endless diversity of expression. More importantly, the genetic traits that shape our bodies and minds, and the family influences that mold our thoughts are only the beginning. Like Paul says, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) What freedom and abundance we are gifted with, at our second birth!
When we choose to follow after Him, He gives us so much more to work with: principles of beauty, guidelines of wisdom, boundaries of living well…. and then He says “Go and be yourself, fully alive in the power of my Spirit, the way I intended you to be.”
So the speak-before-you think one learns to listen. And the people-pleaser learns to set healthy boundaries. And the take-charge one learns to follow another’s lead. Each of us learning to serve and to surrender. Each of us choosing to put to death our own selfish bent. Each of us practicing obedience to God– whatever that may look like, moment by moment. No question that each of us will wrestle with our own private fears and our own personal griefs…no two alike, so no comparing of skill or blessing or gain. Better to focus instead on the wonderful truth that God sees and hears all of us. “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.” (Psalm 139:1-2)
And I can look around the room and see how there is a beauty that grows in a woman as she grows closer to Jesus. It’s a light in her eyes and a softness in her manner that shows she has been in the presence of Grace. It has nothing to do with whether she tends to be talkative or reserved, organized or flighty. It is not a matter of personality but a matter of spirit. It is all about the company we keep and how we are growing. Again Paul writes, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I wish I could tell them all how they shine in His light.
For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.Psalm 139:14-15
My heart and my soul,From The Inside Out, Hillsong
I give you control;
Consume me from the inside out, Lord.
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace,
To love you from the inside out….
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out,
Lord, my soul cries out.