Lessons in Young Womanhood
So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Being a woman is hard. There are so many expectations and rules put on us that try to tell us what being a woman is all about. Be smart, but not too smart. Be pretty, but not too pretty. Be emotionally intelligent, but not overly emotional. Speak up, but don’t disagree. Be modest and cover up, but have freedom to bare any part you want.
Most of us women, consciously or not, have experienced and absorbed many of these messages. We struggle with the constant see-saw of feeling like we are consistently not enough in some cases and too much in others. A see-saw that creates confusion and anxiety about who we are supposed to be.
Expectations are placed on us by the secular culture that we live in; we are bombarded by unrealistic standards of beauty and told that our value as women lies in how much beauty we possess. But, the Christian culture has it’s own special set of expectations of women; a list of ever-changing rules to follow in order to be considered a“Godly woman”.
What if we could get off of this ridiculous see-saw? What if we could learn to walk uprightly with confidence and courage in who we are and who God created us to be? What if the Truth could actually set us free from the world and the church that places all of these messages and places all of these expectations on us?
I have great news for you- you can get off of the see-saw! You can be set free to walk in confidence and courage, because the Truth does indeed set you free, and I will tell you how.
Go back and read the verse up at the top. Genesis 1:27. This is the creation story of the first man and the first woman. Adam and Eve. It clearly states that man and woman were both created in the image of God. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman- if you are a human, you bear the image of God, just by being a human. There is no qualification of anything you need to do- you don’t even need to be a Christian or believe in God in order for this to be true. You are an image bearer and that alone gives you value, worth and dignity and means that you are worthy of honor and respect.
There are many examples and ways that God affirms the value and dignity of women throughout the Bible. Here are just a few ways and examples:
- The Bible was written during a very patriarchal culture where women were not typically affirmed for being created in the image of God, but were instead treated more like property. We’ve come a long way, but still have so far to go. Despite this though, God affirms the dignity of women. We especially see this in the life of Jesus. Against the grain of the culture, we see Jesus submit to women (John 2:3-8), see him have friends who are women (John 11:5), teach women (John 10:39), travel with women (Luke 8:1-2), allow them to express emotions freely (Luke 7:36-50), and give opportunities for women to preach (John 20:16-17). Jesus is the best example in the Bible of how a woman should be treated and affirmed. And since, you know, He’s GOD, I think we can safely say that God is not offended by our woman-ness.
- Our American culture tells us that we have this standard of beauty that we need to measure up to in order to be considered valuable to society. As if beauty is the sum total of our value as women. While the Bible does talk about beauty as an attribute of some of the women in the Old Testament, a woman’s beauty is rarely mentioned in the New Testament. We do however see women serving Jesus and the early church in ways that have nothing to do with their outer beauty. Women contributed by producing the Messiah (Luke 1:30-31), praying and prophesying in public (Acts 21:9), ministering to Paul (Romans 16), leading with Paul (Romans 16:7), leading house churches (Acts 16:40), and correcting the theology of male leaders (Acts 18:26). The Bible (and God) affirm that women have value that is above and beyond just our physical beauty.
- The Christian church for years has communicated that in order to be a Godly woman, that marriage and children must be the highest priority in her life. Additionally, they have also communicated that a woman’s roles within marriage and the life of a church are limited to ones that are submitted in some way to a male authority. The Bible however tells a drastically different story. We see women who are single, prophetic leaders (Exodus 15:20-21), ruling over all Israel (Judges chapters 4-5), being spiritual advisors (2 Chron 34:19-33;), praised by David for disobeying a foolish husband (1 Samuel 25:32-34), giving her son prophetic wisdom (Proverbs 31), raising up strong leaders (2 Timothy 1:5), and the list goes on. One or two out of context verses should not be used to hinder women from using their God-given gifts and talents to serve God inside or outside the church. I feel confident that I am in agreement with God on this one, based on the many biblical examples we are given.
Young women- You are valuable, worthy and essential image bearers of God. You were created for a reason, for a purpose given to you by the God who made you and loves you more than you will ever know. You are free to get up off of the see-saw of too much and not enough, and walk the path that God has set before you. It is for freedom that He has set you free.
Go. Do. And be free.