Powerful Women Are God’s Plan Too

If you are a mild-mannered woman who delights in sewing baby clothes and reading to your children, rarely disagrees with her husband or others, and doesn’t carry ambitious goals, this post may not connect with you, but if you find your drive competing with your passions, regularly speak out against injustice and sin, and people often find you intense or zealous, then maybe I can encourage you today.

Sisters, if you grew up in traditional evangelical circles like I did (Southern Baptist not Charismatic, mind you), you’ll feel the pressure to adapt your personality to a certain ideal picture of godly womanhood. The image appears like this: calm and gentle, delights in being with children, always willing to cook a meal or visit a shut-in, never desiring anything outside the home, never outspoken or confrontational, but patiently content and subtle. Let’s see if that standard ideal fits all biblical models?

Any time someone tried to encourage that mold, the sides pinched and pulled. I can force myself to fit, for awhile, but then I feel smashed and insecure, and very misunderstood. Why did God make me different if this over here is the quintessential godly woman? Recently a friend told me I have good-girl syndrome  so I had to research that concept. Obviously, her insight targeted the heart of my guilt. My wiring hardly matches my expectations (or those of others).

The Personality of the Powerful Female

Since a female 8 (Enneagram) remains one of the most misunderstood personality types, I start to understand the gap between who I am and who others think I am (or should be). Because in our “security” we often exhibit qualities of a 2 (The Helper), until hard truths need to be shared.  If we are overly responsible and shame-prone, we will squelch the dynamics of our passion to be more acceptable. Later in my adult years when I started seeing myself for who I really was (let’s face it, I’m in the throws of it still), the test results validated what I was experiencing, but I remained afraid. For years I felt like I was “too much” for people. Too passionate. Too emotive. Too outspoken. Too intense. Too quick to action. Recently, I listened to a podcast with Ian Cron, author of The Road Back to You, and his female guest (an 8), Melissa Greene. His opening statements went something like this, “If you feel like you are just ‘too much’ for people, don’t meet the ideal housewife, and have to swim upstream…” you could be a “velvet hammer.” I nearly cried.

I never wanted to be “that kind of woman”. In fact, I always thought I was a 3 (The Achiever) and took multiple tests at various times, but to no avail: 8 I was. Reading my profile affirmed the me few saw, and the optimal CEO of a Fortune 500 (NOT a WAHM who homeschools). Sigh.  In contrast, the ideal stay-at-home evangelical wife and mother is a 2 (Helper) or a 6 (Loyalist). I am neither, and although I  attempt to pretend, the effort gets exhausting after a while.

Lately, I’ve been asking God, “Why make some women this way if we aren’t appreciated or understood or have to be something altogether different?’ “What in the world did you plan for me to do with all this 8-ness?” My husband reminded me this week, “You aren’t a mistake. God designed you this way for a reason.” Although my peaceful 9 husband’s wiring contrasts strongly with my circuit board, he understands me and even delights in who I am. And I recognize the effort it takes to live with a such an intense person.

Spiritual Gifts contrasting or supporting Personality?

This week I took two different spiritual gifts tests to see if they’d illuminate my situation. After all, godly women should all possess the spiritual gifts of service, encouragement, and mercy, right? Service ranked high, but it wasn’t the highest. Prophesy, Shepherding and Administrative Gifts hit the top. Great! Who likes a prophet? No one. Who should have the gift of shepherding (which is just a spiritual word for mentoring)? Pastors, that’s who. Men.

Okay, God, here we are again. Why give me these gifts if they aren’t valued in women? What am I supposed to do with this revelation?

Perhaps we need to steer away from this misconception that femininity (especially within the church) must be associated with being a shadow, always forbearing but never forewarning or foretelling.

In an attempt to get some grounding for myself, I started researching strong women of the Bible: after all, everyone can’t be Mary.

  • Deborah came to mind. As the zealous prophetess of justice, she lead Israel out in victory over the Canaanites–something that wouldn’t have happened without her leadership (Judges 4:8).

  • Esther saved the Jews because of her brave encounter with the king. She boldly confronted the king’s right-hand man and the Lord rescued his people through her actions.

  • Mary Magdalene, delivered from demonic possession, followed Jesus, breaking conventional standards and became one of the first to announce that He was risen.

  • 4 Daughters of Philip stepped out in faith and boldly proclaimed the truth of Christ.

  • Not to mention Anna, Hannah, Miriam and more.

These women reassure my arduous dedication to boldly proclaim truth. Still, some may protest: these women were all fallible (naturally, who isn’t). So, if you want to know who you really should model, assess the Proverbs 31 woman.

  • She is a go-getter, working diligently both within the home and out of it.

  • Her husband entrusts duties to her and sees her as fully capable on her own (vs. 11).

  • She makes decisions and leads out in entrepreneurial endeavors (vs. 17).

  • Her voice proclaims what is wise and she challenges others to walk in the truth as well (vs. 26).

  • She is never idle, but meets her family’s needs (as well as those outside her door) (vs. 20, 27).

  • Because of what she does, her family calls her blessed (vs. 28, 31).

Questions to Ask Yourself (and the LORD) if You are a Dynamic Woman:

  1. Who did you make me to be and what do you want to accomplish with these traits/gifts?

  2. How can I become the best version of myself (not some other person)?

  3. Help me to hear your Holy Spirit’s prompting and respond with obedience, regardless of who understands or how people respond.

This message from Matt Brown has been the most exhorting thing I’ve heard regarding the Enneagram 8 (The Powerful person or The Challenger).

 

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