“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, a woman, I put childish ways behind me.” -1 Corinthians 13:11
Perhaps this is a way of describing what’s going on this week here at Link Year. Manhood and Proverbs 31 week. I couldn’t tell you what the guys are learning, but I can give you a breakdown of what the girls are focusing on. Womanhood.
Here’s what I think. If I were to ask a majority of you, you could fill out these blanks with flying colors; good is to bad as true is to _____, right is to wrong as left is to_____, woman is to _____ as man is to _____.
I read an article once on this very topic. Manhood, womanhood. It all seems a tad bit old news, right? I’m sure some of you filled in the blanks with the obvious answer. The opposite of a woman is a man, and the opposite of a man is a woman. But wait, can we consider, maybe for a second that this is not the case. That biblically speaking, (the only way to speak on such matters) we have a misconception of what being a man and being a woman is.
The reason I bring this up, if I’m being honest, is because for me, for where I am in life, the things I’m walking through, make it crucial that I understand this entire concept. Womanhood, manhood, and how both pieces of the puzzle fit together. Why the two were made for each other. What defines both pieces of the puzzle. And so on, and so forth. I need to know, I have to know, I am desperate for answers that are true and trustworthy. In my mind I need to stand firm and in my heart I need to be reassured. So I have sought, and sought, and sought.
I don’t claim to have it all figured out. Far from it. I want to share with you though, a theme throughout this entire journey that seems to have woven it’s way into everything I’ve learned thus far. The opposite of a woman is not a man, it is a girl. The opposite of a man is not a woman, it is a boy. The opposite of both, is a child.
A child. What is a child like? From what I’ve observed about children based on multiple years of nannying, childcare and late night babysitting is slightly humorous when sized up to 1 Corinthians 13:11. Although precious in God’s sight and treasured close to His heart there is a reason that He calls us to grow up. They don’t know any better and eventually most of them learn, (although there are always some stragglers) and they mature into functional adults. Before that though, a child reasons like a child, talks like a child, thinks like a child. They think of themselves, they have a hard time sharing, they are undisciplined and are constantly seeking attention. A child is timid and unreasonable. Children will do anything to get what they want, because after all, it is all about them. You see, it holds true. From the womb we are sinful, we are born sinners and by the age of two we are experts at being just so.
Praise God for ever so patient, and God fearing parents.
A woman, a man? Biblically, do their characteristics look much different? Don’t mishear me, please don’t jump to conclusions in your mind. I’m not a feminist and I’m not saying that we have equal roles. We don’t. What I’m saying is we both are called to reflect Jesus Christ, men and women alike are commanded to live lives worthy of the calling of the Lord. Characteristics of a woman and a man are not so different than we think. Should not both men and women be gentle, patient and humble? Should we not both fight the good fight as soldiers for Christ, warriors that are called to slay sin? Should we not both be bold and courageous declaring the gospel that we are in chains for? Should we not both love above all things?
This week has been a whirlwind of lessons, teachable moments, incredible speakers (praise God for these godly women) and heart breaking, soul enriching truths. Above all this was my take away. Regardless of what stage of life one is in, becoming a godly woman is first, a process, and second a willingness, an angst, a relentless determination to become less in order for our Jesus to become more. A godly woman’s life is all about Jesus, she reflects Jesus, she suffers for Jesus, she fights in Jesus’ name, she walks with Jesus, she worships and serves Jesus, she sits at Jesus’ feet, she stores up Jesus as the only treasure in her heart. And she gives up all things, all passions, all wants, all desires for a better passion, a better want, a better desire. This is the mark of a godly woman.
John Stonestreet came a couple of months back and I had the privilege of speaking with him. He said to me after our conversation, “I have some advice for you, Leah. Be fully woman and be fully the person that God has called you to be.”
Jesus, that this may become true is my prayer.