In a society where it is the unspoken rule that women work full time but have an immaculate home full of food made from scratch and well behaved children, the risk of falling short is inevitable. There comes a point in trying to make the impossible possible where we just burn out, and the lie of not being enough comes to be known as a truth in the depths of our soul. And it stings.
There is also an unspoken rule in some evangelical circles that women are welcome in ministry and dialogue as long as they are not too much. I know that myself and some of my girlfriends who have offered biblical solutions to ministry problems have been shot down simply because the solution was coming from a female. How can a female who is supposed to be submissive to men in leadership be correct? Plus, she may be having “that time of the month” so her perspective will be emotional and irrational. Yep. I have believed those lies of being too much and it has taken a lot of therapy and Holy Spirit to begin to unravel them.
So what do we do? What are our options? How do we dispel these lies? We begin by repentance for our unbelief. When we choose to hear the voice of the accuser over the Voice Of Truth we have slipped into unbelief and unbelief is sin. Let’s flesh that out.
When we think back to the Fall in Genesis, Satan grabs Eve by first posing a question that causes her to doubt God’s heart for her.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
This question implies that God is holding out on her. She then chooses to engage in the dialogue. Sometimes it is most wise to call a spade a spade and walk away. How often do we choose to engage in a dialogue with the accuser that plants the seeds of doubt that grow into unbelief in our lives? Eve acts on the premise that God is holding out on her. She believes the lie that God doesn’t fully love her and know what is best for her. And so she must take matters into her own hands to control her own destiny. She acts on unbelief. And because of her unbelief the world is plunged into sin. Sin that oozes into the cracks of who we are and distorts the core of who we are as image bearers. Unbelief destroys.
I feel like I must make the distinction between questioning and unbelief. To question is to pose a thought we don’t have an answer for and I believe questioning things is totally healthy. Look at Job, David, Isaiah, and other prophets. They question God on many things. God knows that we are finite in our being. And as finite beings why wouldn’t we have questions for an infinite God? After all, we are humans not puppets.
However when we allow the questions to give way to doubts that make us not believe in God being who He says and Him doing what He says He will do, we have let the crippling sin of unbelief take root in our hearts and it will choke us to death. Unbelief makes us bitter and cynical. So if you find yourself in a season of unbelief, critical thoughts and words, anger, bitterness, and/or cynicism, I encourage you, dear sister, to ask yourself what lies am I believing? Where in my life do I have an unbelieving heart? Do I need to ask Jesus to forgive me for choosing to believe, live out of, and act on lies instead of truth?
Now, here is where I would shut down with crippling guilt. So if you are feeling dumped on and guilty, this next word is for you. There is a massive difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction causes us to see how much God loves us and desires for us to be fully His. It helps us call sin for sin. Sin left not dealt with will destroy us. Sin takes what God intended for us to be and twists and bends and distorts until what was meant to be holy is unholy. And what is unholy cannot be with God. So He provides conviction when we sin to get us back on track to spur us on to hope that He is who He says He is and will finish the good works He has made in us before the foundation of the world. Conviction leads to seeing God for who He is and seeing us for who we are and if needed asking God to forgive us and believe His Truth which then gives us hope to act to live out our story in God’s story.
Condemnation is not from God. Condemnation makes us look at our sin and feel hated. Condemnation makes us feel unlovely. It makes us feel beyond the reach of love. It makes us feel shame that makes us want to hide just like Adam and Eve wanted to hide after they sinned in the garden. It talks down to us and tells us there is no hope so why bother. If you feel any of these things that is the voice of Satan the accuser. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
So if you are feeling like you are too much and not enough, know that you are not alone. The only way we can begin to change is to let Christ change us from the inside out. To let Him expose areas of unbelief in our lives. Will you let Him? Will you let Him then love on you? Really love on you. You don’t have to bring anything or be anything or do anything for Him to love you. Just be in Him and let His truth that you are beautiful and intricately made and so loved wash over you today. Live out of his abundant love today. And when you begin to hear the whispers of the accuser I dare you to boldly shut him down. Don’t engage. Instead speak truth to yourself and leave no room for doubt. I know I struggle with this deeply and as we move forward into discussing more about what it means to be submissive, a feminist, and a minister of the gospel to a dying world all from a biblical perspective we must start here. At the beginning where sin entered the world so we can be aware of the pitfalls as we seek to redemptively engage in difficult conversations. That a spirit of nasty criticism and anger and unkind words come from unbelief and sin and if we want to dialogue in love it’s going to take believing in a big and sovereign and good and just and loving God that will stop at nothing to make right the wrongs and heal our wounds from sin and His divine purpose for women in His kingdom alongside His men co-warrioring to spread His light and love throughout the world. I’m ready! Are you?