If you are part of a church culture that glorifies one version of womanhood, that of the stay at home mother/daughter, then your aspirations outside that sphere are often tainted. It feels like we must choose between being either godly or driven.The guilt and judgment of resisting what is marketed as “biblical womanhood” are crushing. As a result, we end up feeling as though we are only half-women and not the whole women God intended us to be.
To paraphrase Emma Watson, feminism is not a stick to beat other women with. There is no right way to be a Christian woman. Chances are, your life is more a mixture of home and work because NEWSFLASH we don’t live in a “Leave It To Beaver” alternate timeline. Instead, let’s point the finger at the guilt put on those who don’t fit into the box. This is for my women in pantsuits, my girls on student council, and my ladies with hustle. The echo of shame heard around the sanctuary can be brutal. But it doesn’t have to hold you back.
The Myth of the Tightrope
We straddle two different worlds: one where we must work twice as hard for half the recognition, and one that praises a meeker, milder type of life. These competing ideals can be hard to reconcile. It feels like our lives are laid before us and the only choices are a Proverbs 31 housewife or a one-way ticket to hell in a Hillary pantsuit. But the beautiful thing about God’s grace is that by faith our paths are made straight (Isaiah 45:2).
The myth of these irreconcilable realities leaves us in the lurch. Between going to work/school, completing assignments, or cooking dinner and changing diapers, where is a woman supposed to find the time to feed not only her ambition but also her soul? All the while, keeping at bay the guilt that she is doing it all wrong. If you hold tight to the tightrope, you may be stuck in the endless loop of trying to have it all. It’s only in letting go that we separate the myth from the reality.When the church feeds the false narrative of one-size-fits-all womanhood it is insulting the good work God has put into us. Click To Tweet
The Beauty of the Multi-Faceted Woman
God gives us gifts and desires to complete the good works ahead of us. Notice the pluralization of those words. We are created in the image of God and that image is multifaceted. The idea that we must look one certain way is in opposition to the way we are created. When the church feeds the false narrative of one-size-fits-all womanhood it is insulting the good work God has put into giving us all varied skills and desires. Instead of forcing us into a small space, the Lord meets us where we are and brings us to a place of wholeness. We are covered in grace and encouraged to no longer struggle through life by ourselves but with God (Ephesians 4:7).
What Achieving Balance Looks Like
Instead of meticulously trying to achieve balance in your life, let God be the fulcrum. Ask the Lord to show you how to merge your paths. When we keep God at the center of our lives, we have a direction to follow. Let the word be the lamp unto your feet (Psalm 119:105) and don’t allow the false narratives of limitation to steer you away. The Lord places longings and talents on our hearts for a reason – to bring glory to the kingdom, to be the salt of the earth and a city on a hill (Matthew 5:13-16). So why do we feel we must limit ourselves?
Maybe you’re a talented artist or accountant, or you have a way of loving others so that they see Jesus through you – those all bring glory and honor in equal measure. We are not one thing or another, but many, beautiful things that all come together for an even more beautiful purpose – glorifying God.
Let’s Get Intentional
As we go throughout our days, we must keep God at the forefront, intentionally serving through loving our neighbors and becoming the servant leaders we are called to be. Additionally, we must make a priority of seeking God’s path for us. Just because we are empowered doesn’t mean we are safe from ourselves. This isn’t about glorifying yourself. Balance doesn’t come from our inner power but from the Lord’s goodness. Through seeking the Lord’s will, we are whole women – instead of the half women we are forced to be by church patriarchy (Jeremiah 29:11).
What That Looks Like For Me (But Maybe Not You)
I believe we must intentionally set aside time for the Lord, be that either waking earlier in the morning, replacing a weekly TV show with quiet time, or committing to a bible study with others who will hold me accountable. But that’s just me. Your life in Christ will not, and does not have to, look identical to other Christians. You are an individual, beautiful in the many aspects of your heart, and the Lord longs for you to see that.
Though we often feel like we must have it all together, the Lord shows us that narrative is simply not true. Find what works for you by seeking God’s heart and lean into that. This week, you might try waking up just 20 minutes earlier or staying up 20 minutes later for a dedicated time of prayer. But who knows. Only you and God can plan these times. This is up to you and not something that can be scripted by a nice lady on a blog.
We Already Have It All
I do know one thing that’s universal for all God’s children. The more time you spend with the Lord, the more your life reflects righteousness. When you start to discover the source of your balance, you can forget about the scramble of having it all or the guilt of being more than what fits in the box. Find what produces good fruit, not what pleases others.
How can you find time to intentionally seek God in your own life?
When we make the time, God shows up (Psalm 145:18). We become free from the lie that we must do it on our own and instead are embraced in the truth that we already have it all through the love of God. The balance between fulfilling those things that feed our souls and those that feed our ambitions is a challenge, but we don’t have to figure it out by ourselves.
Start today by deciding on one way you can spend more time with the Lord this week. Ask for the Lord’s presence to be with you and your holy purpose to be revealed. You do not have to choose which gifts to use and which to hide away. When you are seeking God’s heart and living in the light of straight paths, the fear of falling from the tightrope is no more.