The first time I met my friend Theresa was when she interviewed at our church some years back. In the first five minutes of the interview I already had a girl crush on her. About 20 minutes in – much to the horror of my male colleagues I could no longer contain myself. I began to gush (in an Anne Shirley/Diana Berry-kind-of-way) that I felt certain that if she moved to Austin we would be best friends.
It was a unique interviewing experience for me. Because from the minute Theresa sat down she was just different. She wasn’t trying to win our approval. She wasn’t veiling her gifts in false humility, or trying to make her weakness sound like strengths. After she left the room we all turned to one another and remarked on how different she seemed from most of the women we encounter, and one of the guys commented that she was a ‘secure’ woman; a rare breed.
He was right. Theresa is secure. She’s secure in her strengths and she’s’ secure in her failures.
Over the past year, Theresa and I have become co-laborers in ministry. I’ve never really experienced the kind of unity and joy that I’m experiencing working alongside her. I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who is as disarming to my defensiveness or so easily able to slip around my external appearance and address the darkness in my heart while making me feel encouraged and excited about being changed.
Through Theresa, the Lord has changed the way I view women. She has a ridiculously unique perspective. She believes that every woman can be content, secure and emotionally stable.
I’ve met people before who denied that women were crazy, but their perspective was rooted in naivety. They wanted me to think better of women. Theresa is different. She’s not naive. She sees the very real hold that emotions can have on women. She sees all of our sin and she doesn’t think more highly of women than I do – she thinks more highly of God than I do. She doesn’t ask me to think better of women – she asks me to think better of God. She challenges me to believe that His Spirit is stronger than hormones.
Theresa believes I can be different. She doesn’t think I’m supposed to just resign myself to the emotional meltdowns that I can sometimes fall victim to, and not because she thinks I’m better than I am, but because she believes Christ is better. She believes Him when He says He offers freedom, renewal and restoration.
While the rest of us sit around and laugh about our emotional craziness, Theresa is the one who will pull me aside and challenge the perspective that emotional sin is funny. Theresa is the one who will ask me hard questions that reveal that I believe that women are destined to be needy and irrational; that’s just how they are. She forces me to defend my cynical resignation with Scripture and, even with my incredible ability to manipulate the Word of God – I can’t find any evidence that God wants us to concede that women are just made crazy.
She has used her influence in my life to shift my entire worldview. Now, when I look around my heart and the Church I am amazed.
Because I don’t understand how it happened. I don’t understand how Satan convinced our churches that men should fight lust like it’s dragging them to hell, and women should laugh about their sinful emotional outbursts. It seems like somehow in the beautiful movement to challenge men to lead more, we accidentally began to avoid the insecurity in women in the name of ‘grace’. We began to blame men for women’s craziness. We began tiptoeing around truth out of fear of creating drama.
I wonder to myself what would look different in the Church today if women fought insecurity the way they expect others to fight pornography or adultery. I wonder what would be different if women would stop laughing at the way they get irrationally angry or sad and instead acknowledge that there are some emotions that are an offense against a Holy God.
God made women beautifully and fearfully. And one of the best things about them is that they experience deep emotions. The call to fight emotional sin is a call not to remove emotions, but to redeem them. God designed us to have emotions that reflect His worth. An emotionless life is just as sinful as a life filled with ungodly emotions.
And it’s okay to acknowledge that our insecurity is deep and dreadful in the sight of God, because our worth is not defined by our success or failure. It’s not discouraging or devastating because we are not destined to be slaves to our weaknesses. All of our sins – from adultery to anxiety are remnants of another life; but they no longer define us. They linger, like scars left from chains that were wrapped around our skin for too many years.
I think for so long, we’ve all, myself included, just believed the lie that this is who we are. Sure, I’m crazy – but all women are. It’s just how we are.
I’ve been studying 1st Peter and I just love the reminder that springs up from the pages that we are made to live differently. We may still have scars, but our lives should reflect that we are no longer in chains.
It’s not that we act differently so that we can be saved, it’s that we can act differently because we have been saved. We have been purchased out of “the futile ways” by nothing less than the blood of Jesus. Peter says that we should behave differently because we can. Our new behavior testifies to the power of Christ. When we don’t believe we can be changed we testify that His blood is not precious enough to purchase us out of slavery.
I want to be different for a lot of messed up motives. I want to be different so that I can be proud that I am a ‘secure’ woman like Theresa; so that people admire me or respect me. I want to be different so that my co-workers enjoy working with me or so that people want to marry me.
But I hope that somewhere in my heart are more glorifying and less selfish motives.
I hope that I want to be different so that people will see in my life the power of God to change people. I hope that I want to be different so that all of the world and all the angels and demons will see the great worth of Christ’s blood. His life and death are gloriously sufficient to purchase a sinful slave like me, break my chains and renew my flesh till there are no scars left. Let the angels worship because they see evidence in me that our God is mighty to save, restore and renew. I want to fight my emotional outbursts because I want my life to display that I believe the Spirit is stronger than the flesh, and this same Spirit lives in me.
Over the next couple of blogs I’m going to walk through what this fight is beginning to look like in my life. I’ll walk through the practical ‘steps’ of identifying the symptoms, addressing the issues and trusting the truth. Let me know if any of it is helpful!