What does it mean to be a woman?
A woman is more than the many roles she plays. The roles of being a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, auntie, coworker, administrator, nurse, CEO and waitress do not define what it means to be a woman.
Our culture produces empty shells of what a woman is supposed to look like but, our culture cannot produce a woman. We are bombarded with images of preserved, mummified, dressed up and painted role models. We see through cultural glasses, the feminine image that longs to stay forever young and girlish.
Embracing your roles and duties in society and looking good at it, does not define you as a woman. To become a woman is more than getting your first period, making love your first time and having your first baby. As significant as all these experiences are, they do not make you a woman.
Our society today is sadly lacking role models of what a woman should look like. Very few will experience or pursue this sacred passage into womanhood.
Our cultural images today portray women who are young and girlish. Some, not fitting into this image have become bitter. They are bitter that life has forced them into the realization that the world does not evolve around them or their desires. Some, after facing enough disappointments, declare through bitter tears and clenched teeth, "It is time to grow up". Most end up with a twisted perception of what being a woman is all about.
That is not God's plan for you. To grow old and bitter about your life and situations you had no control over. That is not God's plan for you, Woman of God! God is not through with you and your life is not over!
Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house". The image of the wise woman who built her house is an image of a woman who does not mourn the passing of her youth. This woman embraces whatever the next season of her life brings. This woman has a sureness in her steps though they may be slower. This woman has grace painted on her face, not hardness. This woman has strength in her eyes that no workout routine can give her. Though her voice may be shaky, it is sweet as honey to those who receive wisdom from her lips. Age cannot rob her for she is more than smooth skin and fine bones. This woman is timeless and she does not fade away as she gets older. She puts on a full display of everything inside of her.
To become a woman is a sacred endeavor. The sacred passage into womanhood is God-breathed!
EXCAVATING FOR THE REAL JESUS IN THE REAL YOU
In our Western Christian Culture, we are drowning in a sea of Christian paraphernalia. We see scriptures written on magnets, pictures, postcards, key chains, breath mints, T-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, plaques, door rugs, wall rugs, throws, pillows, wind chimes, candles, coffee mugs, necklaces, pins, watches, bracelets, earrings, socks, picture frames, stickers, toothpick holders, gum, posters, soap and more.
We have surrounded ourselves with Christian symbolism, which has become a weight to us and we don't even realize it. Our Christian culture promotes and makes money off of these trinkets that we buy and give as gifts. These trinkets have very little meaning in our lives unless given to us by a special person on a special occasion.
Our homes, churches, places of business and our cubicles at work are cluttered with such objects. We hope that they witness to or encourage those who may come into contact with them. In realty, they have very little power to impact and produce any lasting change in those who see them. Even though the words written on these objects may be from the Bible, without the Spirit they have no life. (2 Corinthians 3:6). These objects with scriptures written on them have no power to witness. In reality they are just religious icons.
If individuals cannot see those scriptures and words in your life, then you my Dear Sister are promoting a religious faith that has no power to save, heal, change and bring hope to an individual's life.
To rise above our Christian Culture, we need to do some drastic changing. To begin to build a life, that is authentic and to have an authentic walk with the Spirit, you need to get rid of the things that clutter your life. The real you can not breathe while drowning under this sea of Christian paraphernalia
The Word tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:2 that we are to be "epistles known and read by all men, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts". It is when your husband, your children, you neighbor or your coworker sees Christ in you, then they have seen the power to change, to be healed, to be saved and to be free. When they see Jesus in you then they have seen His Word in action.
It is a new year and it is time to de-clutter and begin the process of excavating. Jesus said "everyone who hears My words and acts on them, he is like a wise man who dug deep and laid a foundation on the Rock". (Luke 6: 47) To build your house on that Rock, which is Christ, and not your Christian culture you must excavate for the real Jesus in the real you.
In this New Year, I challenge you to go through your home, your workplace and de-clutter these things that are weighing you down. You may be surprised at how much you have and how good you will feel in letting go of these objects.
I dare you to breathe this New Year. I dare you to search for the real Jesus, in the real you.
Let's go excavating!
ARE YOU LIVING A PREFAB LIFE IN A PREFAB WORLD?
Most Christian women I meet and talk with express a longing to live a prefab life. They want a prefab marriage and prefab children. They desire to socialize with prefab friends and worship in prefab churches and serve a prefab God.
What do I mean by that? Anything that is prefab is produced artificially, quickly assembled, and constructed in sections at a factory for the least cost possible so as to pass the minimal standard test. Outwardly, it meets the livable test but it does not meet the enduring test of time.
I see women, Christian women, who assemble their prefab lives from parts taken from other peoples lives. Buying the books and magazines and copying what others say and do, trying to meet the standard of approval by those who are only looking at the outside. All the while, waiting for God to show up in their prefab world and do something great.
Show me the Christian Woman who is living an authentic Christian life. Where is she? They are few and far between because, to live an authentic Christian life requires sacrifice, it requires work, it requires change and it costs. You can't buy it, you must live it. You can't assemble it, you must build it.
Living your Christian life has got to become more than getting your needs meet and when you die you go to heaven and not hell. It must become more than God is in my life to make me a better me.
God is not in your life to make you a better you and give you pointers on how you can do something better. The Bible is not a magazine with tips on how to make living your life easier and more efficient.
God is in your life to CHANGE YOU!!!
Romans 12:2- "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
To be transformed is to be changed. To be transformed is to change in appearance, condition, nature and character.
I don't need anymore validation or self-esteem. I don't need anymore tips, pointers or suggestions on how to live a better life. I NEED TO BE CHANGED!
I pray as you start this year that you will not set goals on how to be a better you or how to live a better life but that your goal and heart's cry would be "Lord change me".
I want to live an extraordinary life and build a house that has not been copied and assembled by the culture in which I live. But I want to be changed into His image, building my house according to His blueprint and leaving a legacy for those who will come after me.
My prayer for you is that you will allow the Lord to change you and that the Word of Christ would richly dwell within you … Col 3:16
IN SEARCH OF SIGNIFICANCE
I think one of the saddest things I see today in Christianity is that we, as individual Christians, have simply become a product of our Christian Environment. Our values, our goals and our dreams have only risen to the level of our Christian Culture and it is in our Christian culture where the problem lies.
We have not exceeded what our culture tells us is normal Christian living. By not exceeding, we have developed "cookie cutter" Christians who have no authenticity.
Our Christian culture has produced leaders who all sound alike, look alike and have the same message. Those who make it to the magazine covers, book stores and/or Christian TV are chosen based upon what is acceptable by the world's standard of message and appearance. Our Christian leaders have been chosen by image makers and business advertisers. Those who did have an authentic call on their lives were encouraged to water down the message and to prostitute the gifts for the sake of the image, for the sake of money.
Thousands sit in the pews on Sunday morning and are bored to tears with no sense of adventure in their lives and they ask, "is this all there is?"
Still others, in search of significance, have begun to seek after the new thing, the new pop/fade gospel. They seek after spiritual experiences or look for something that separates them out from others in order to feel authentic and special.
Some have turned from the ancient path and instead have turned to spiritual experiences such as gold dust, gem stones and soaking/contemplated prayer. Some, longing to feel special have given up their identity with the cross to go looking for their Jewish roots.
In wanting to feel authentic and special we have sought after titles, giftings, anointings and positions. We have neglected the very thing that gives us authenticity and specialty which is, the Cross and the Sacrifice that hung there. We have lost the sense of "being special" because of His blood alone. It is Christ in you the hope of glory!
Jeremiah 6:16 says: "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls."
NOTE: A sincere word of "THANK YOU !!" is offered to the "Wise Women Build" web site, and a writer named Constance Kuhlke, from whence these articles were taken.