By Brie Gowen
In this day and age there’s a lot of conversations going on out there about women being strong and independent, and this got me to thinking about my daughters. As a professional working woman, educated and confident, naturally I want my daughters to exhibit these same characteristics. But I also desire for them to be grounded in Biblical truth. For that reason there’s a few things I want them to know that may seem contrary to what society tries to tell them. In fact, it might be unpopular, yet I believe these hard truths to be keys to successful living in a harsh world.
A lot of what women are told is how strong they are, so my opinion that they are weak may seem ludicrous, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The world wishes to empower women, but I don’t think you can reach your full potential until you admit your weakness.
As a follower of Christ I admit my weaknesses because I know I am not perfect, and there’s great freedom in the fact that I don’t have to be. What I can do is submit myself to Jesus, surrender my life to Him, and celebrate in the truth that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
The world would tell my daughters that the power lies within them, but I would remind them that their power resides in Christ who dwells within their hearts. It’s okay to admit weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2. You are not your own.
Women today are told frequently that your body is your own. Your life, your body, your decision. To relinquish control of your body or life out of your own hands is actually frowned upon, but I would like my daughters to know the truth.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
I want my girls to always carry themselves in the knowledge that they are creations of God, set apart, and Holy. Their life is worthy, precious, and was worth dying for. Therefore they’re not who any human being states they are, but they’re not even who their self esteem whispers they are. They are beautiful creations worth dying for, and as such I would hope they walk in that confidence. But while walking in that confidence they need to walk humbly knowing they are children of God, His beloved, and should carry themselves in a manner that represents God’s kingdom well. It’s not anything they do, but because of Christ within them that makes them more than conquerors in this life.
Of note, every decision they make with “their body” should be made with their Heavenly Father in mind.
3. You are nothing.
I have no problem with confidence, I think it’s great. But when we begin to think so highly of ourselves that we elevate ourselves above God, or think we can lead a productive life without Him, that is when problems arise. Arrogance and pride will never bring true fruit in your life, and that’s something I want my daughters to know. So while it’s fine to love yourself, it’s important to remember that a life without Jesus is actually no life at all.
John 15:5 (NIV)
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
In Christ we can live courageously, free, and triumphantly. Apart from Him life is void.
In a world that tells women to be independent, rely on their own strength, and make their own decisions, I still choose to raise my daughters to know where their true strength lies. They can still be successful in this life, but it will be a sturdy foundation on which they stand. When it comes down to it perhaps independence is overrated, and maybe weakness is simply the raw, honest part of this life. In a world of women striving to prove themselves this may not be a popular opinion, but as an intelligent woman who was strong enough to admit her own fallibility, I believe these truths are the key.