“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
How would you describe yourself? Grab a pen and take a moment to write down a few adjectives. Your list may include words such as:
Loving Adventurous Giving Resilient
While these are beautiful qualities, have you ever described yourself as weak? WEAK?!
I can see you cringing. Most women do not want to be called weak. It is an insult. We want to be seen as strong individuals, who are confident and capable of handling whatever comes our way. Our culture affirms the strong woman stereotype and we are led to believe that we should always exude strength.
Thankfully, the standards of this world are not God’s. As His daughters, it is okay for us to be weak. No one is purely strong. There are areas of our lives where God has blessed us with the ability to thrive. Similarly, there are also areas where God has purposely allowed us to struggle. God does this to build our dependence on Him and prevent us from making idols of ourselves.
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12 (NASB)
“I just want this to be over!”
I am sure we have all expressed this sentiment during tough times. Unemployment, grief, illness, heartbreak, and other seasons of hardship are uncomfortable and painful. We would love for them to be over with the snap of a finger. The reality is that the only way out of hardship is to go through it.
God’s timing is not our own, so we cannot place a time limit on a season of hardship. The end of one week, month, or even year does not guarantee the start of a new and better season of life. We may very well remain in the same season or enter a more difficult one.
Being a Christian does not exempt us from life’s hardships. In fact, God intentionally uses hardship to discipline us. This form of discipline is not meant for harm. Rather, God uses it to reveal His character and build ours.
You will no longer anticipate the end of a season of hardship when you embrace God’s purpose for it in your life. How can you accomplish this? Ask yourself these four questions:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45, NIV
Pressures of the past year have triggered society’s best and worst behaviors. During the evening news, reporters share ways communities have united to make a positive impact. Yet, in a moment’s notice they switch stories to describe heinous crimes committed by mankind. How can one person exude beautiful qualities and another wickedness? The answer comes when we realize that people do not develop their behaviors overnight. Our behaviors are birthed from desires that are stored within the heart.
A number of desires lie within our hearts – righteous and unrighteous, some active, others dormant. To better understand our desires, let’s read Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT) together:
“But what does Scripture say? ‘Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.'” – Galatians 4:30, NIV
God has blessed women with the gift of creativity. We create everything from breathtaking art and life changing engineering technologies to beautiful children and nurturing environments. Society may favor certain gifts over others, but God has a plan for them all. It is our responsibility to use what we create to glorify God.
We are also blessed with the freedom to create. Jesus’ sacrifice on cavalry allows us to live in God’s purpose for our lives. When we walk in freedom, there is literally nothing that can stop us from fulfilling our calling – no trial of life or attack from the enemy. It is only when we seek to satisfy our own desires or please others that we create in bondage.