Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 ESV
I’ll freely admit it, I am exhausted. Just in the span of one day I have completed somewhere around ten college assignments, edited five or six articles for a student newspaper, drove my family around town, and am now sitting here on my living room floor writing this out to you. And because I aim to write as if I am speaking to my individual sisters rather than an impersonal, digitalized body of readers, I want to keep things especially real.
I think in many ways I have placed unreasonable expectations on myself in nearly every aspect of my life, and it doesn’t help that other people have their own expectations that I am supposed to meet on top of that. This is especially true for Christian women. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, what with the infamous Women’s March that occurred over the weekend – everywhere we turn, even in atmospheres that are meant to promote liberation, we are being shackled to more and more of these ideals and mandates for a well-used womanhood that have more to do with our rights and our success and our sexuality than with the condition of our hearts. And it’s wrong.
Whether you believe in feminism or humanitarianism or liberalism or conservatism or any other –ism that promises to give you the world and satisfy your inherent need for identity fulfillment, what really matters at the end of the day when we take off the mask and remove the talons is that we are striving toward the biggest goal of all. What matters is that we are being made not into the likeness of Michelle Obama or Emma Watson, or even one of the Duggar women, but into the likeness of Christ.
Because He will always be our ultimate prize.
Father, show me and help me to be the kind of woman that You want me to be. Give me the conviction, discernment, and courage to let go of unnecessary identities and expectations that are placed on me and that distract me from the number one priority—to glorify and enjoy You forever. May every earthly priority in my life pale in comparison to that, especially in times such as this. Keep me focused and steady and intent on being molded into Your likeness above all else.
What are some expectations, identities, or priorities in your life that need to be shifted? How have some or all of them, if any, been influenced by messages from our culture—even a well—intentioned Christian culture? Spend some time studying about biblical womanhood in Scripture this week (if you’re lost, start with Proverbs 31 and 11:22, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 2:9-12, and Galatians 3:28). Jot down any specific qualities that keep popping up.