Thursday, February 27, 2014

Real Strong Women

Pinterest is awesome. I'm a frequenter of the "Health & Fitness" boards because, well, I suppose I'm passionate about health and fitness.

I'm noticing more and more that there is an ungodly obsession with being a "strong, independent, and powerful" woman. One Pinterest image I saw related the marathon was "Never underestimate the strength of a woman. Never f*** with one who runs 26.2 miles for fun." I enjoy running 26.2 miles "for fun", but would never want to be included in that quote's generalization. I have more accurate text to go with that Pinterest image I mentioned...

"Never underestimate the stubborness of a woman who runs 26.2 for fun." Running a marathon doesn't necessarily mean you are super strong. In my case, I'm just a stubborn Scandinavian that likes shiny medals, the runner's high, and staying in shape :)
The world's concept of a strong woman is seriously delusional. They don't get it. It's not just Pinterest. This idea is everywhere; in movies, TV shows, magazines. Women with an attitude problem that "don't need a man", they swear, are catty, and don't think before they speak. They are the exact opposite of everything God made a woman to be!

Worldly Perspective

I've been there. Before I had a relationship with Jesus, I was a liberal-minded, near-feminist, aggressive woman-power kind of girl. You know, the kind the world wants you to be? All I can say is thank God for His grace and mercy, that He didn't leave me in that frustrating, bitter, and lonely place.

As a worldly "strong" woman, my life was about ME. My degree, my career, what I wanted, and where I wanted my life to go. I wanted to get married someday, when I was ready to settle down, but I certainly didn't need a man. A husband and kids might cramp my style.

Not exactly the image of a Titus 2 woman, huh?

I despised the idea of being soft and nurturing. Actually, I pretty much despised anything that described the way God made a woman to be. Being submissive truly enraged me (seriously). I thought being a stay-at-home mom was a waste and limited women and their talents. Anything a man can do? I wanted to do it better. My dad said I had a chip on my shoulder. It would be more accurate to say I had an entire chunk missing!

Here and Now

In 2011, Jesus turned my life around and now I'm here. I'm married to an amazing man and we have an energetic, almost-one-year-old boy. I'm enjoying a few quiet moments during E's nap time, working on a daily homemaking schedule, baking bars for my husband, putting away groceries, and cleaning the house. I'm a homemaker, full-time mom and wife.

Being a homemaker doesn't mean I fit the June Cleaver or Betty Crocker mold. I still prefer yoga pants and running shoes to a dress and heels. I would still choose going for a run over curling my hair and doing my nails. And I'm still a strong-willed, driven, type-A style person. God didn't want to completely re-wire my personality. He did redirect my motivation to serving Him instead of myself.

A Real Strong Woman

Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 describe a real strong woman. This is a woman who honors the Lord. She doesn't gossip and overindulge on worldly desires. She teaches what is good and mentors younger women. She loves her husband and children. She takes care of her home and creates a welcoming atmosphere for her family and visitors. She is a woman who embraces who God made her to be, takes honor in that role, and glorifies God in all she does.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. TITUS 2:3-5 (emphasis added by me)
You don't need to go to the weight room or to a marathon to find the "real strong women". Some of the strongest women I know are "just" mothers, wives, and homemakers. They are "just" serving the Lord, denying their sinful desires, and loving on their husband and children.

I tell you what, I find it much harder to deny my sinful nature daily than to run a marathon. Marathons are challenging but you can persevere and push your body and mind through the rather uncomfortable miles. Denying your sinful nature is truly impossible without the Holy Spirit's help. I thank God for the women He has put in my life to mentor me. My mom is definitely one of them.

I'm not trying to downplay the strength of women who are physically fit and strong. It's just a different kind of strength I'm talking about. Staying physically fit is important, but godliness is even more important. Godliness is eternal.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 TIMOTHY 4:8
Running is something I'm really passionate about, but it doesn't define me. (Which is good, because if I did, I would feel horrible about myself every time I saw a picture of Kara Goucher!) I am a woman of God. A wife. A mother. My identity is in Jesus. God just happened to create me with a really odd desire to run long distances. I've sometimes asked why I can't be super passionate about crocheting or crafting or something that's a bit more productive... but then I remember that God knows exactly what He's doing and I need to glorify and serve Him with every gift I have (quirky or not)!

What person or what words come to mind when you think of a strong woman?

Serving God, my family, and taking care of our home is truly the most rewarding (and, at times, the hardest) career I've ever had!

4 comments:

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing! I agree that the popular definition of a "strong" woman is not what I personally want to be. Also, your little guy is so cute!

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  2. Oh my goodness Amy. Seriously thank you for your vulnerability and just passion for life!!! You are an incredibly fierce woman of God and I'm so excited to see what amazing things He is going to do through you in this life!

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    1. Thank you, sister! Thank God for completely turning my life around. Seriously, if He can change me, He can change ANYONE!

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