My mind and heart have been wrestling as of late. I feel called in different directions, pursuits, passions, talents, and careers. I often pray fervently as I consider the conversations of my heart and the arguments of my mind. I search His word for some purpose, something that can provide a clear arrow one direction or a clear arrow the other. In the end, all I find are the continual callings of the Lord and the passions He has laid upon my heart. However, something seemingly more binding than the Lord has been stepping in to stop my dreams or to hold my passions at bay. It seems that the voices of people echo in my ears more and more these days, the voices of people of radically different opinions. I have people tell me that my beliefs are so liberal and are not God's design, that my actions are destroying my chances of being the woman God called me to be. I also have people tell me that my beliefs are far too conservative and that I am limiting myself from ever becoming who I was meant to be. I have friendships and acquaintances that love me and care for me, but only if I conform to who they want me to be, who they envision me becoming, or who they think they can change me into. While I am a strong and stubborn person at heart, I will be the first to admit that the voices of those people echo through my mind as I wrestle with career and future decisions.
A few days ago, I finally just sat down and said 'enough.' I am done with trying to become a me that people want me to be. My fears of what people think or what they will think or what they are thinking about are doing nothing but holding me back. My allowance of their voices to carry so much weight in my decisions in life are doing nothing but making me an indecisive person. My temptation to go with the people's opinions is doing nothing but drowning out God's opinion. I am God's child and that is who I find my identity in. My heart is being continually shaped by His grace and that is what defines me. My life is a reflection of His power and His love and that is what people are to see. It does not matter where I am called to serve His kingdom or what He has gifted me with as far as talents and passions go; all I need to do is learn to use what He has given me entirely for His glory. And while many people may have good and honest intentions in saying or coaching how they do, their opinions may just lead me away from who I was called to be. I am me. I will always be me. I have always been me. And that me will never be the me you want me to be; it will always and only be the me that God wants me to be.
See, I do not fit in with the stereotypical woman ideal. I do not plan on getting married. If God brings a godly man into my life in the future and He leads me then towards marriage, then I will probably consider getting married. But, I am not and will not plan my life around that. I have never really felt the desire or calling to learn the techniques of providing and running a home. Can I do it? Yes. But do I do it as of now? No. Instead, I desire a fast-paced and challenging career life. I love to learn and work. After many years of prayer, I still feel strongly called to a career that will most likely place me in a leadership position and will require full-time commitment on that level. Can God change my passions for that? Absolutely, but He has not yet. To some, this may seem like I am entering a man's realm rather than staying in the designed household realm for women. But, let me show you the flip side. I certainly do not exhibit the ideals of a worldly woman either. I greatly respect and recognize the leadership of men, as God has given them a role of leadership in family and in the workplace. I do not seek a career simply to prove to the world that I can do it better than a man. I do not look for ways to hold power over men that is just sickening and horrible. Let's put it this way. . . I am neither. I firmly and completely believe the living radically for Christ means not letting stereotypes lead your life, and that is what I stand on.
When I look around me, I see so many people that befriend others simply because they fit a stereotype or some preconceived ideal. I tell you. . . It makes me sick. My heart just sinks when I see someone probing someone to become something they are not. Friends are not people who coach you to become someone else; friends are people who will stand by your side, no matter who you are or who you will become, and probe you to pursue God with every piece of your heart. Each and every one of us, man or woman, will be called somewhere, somewhere different than the person sitting next to you. And it is not our job to stand in the way of that calling (unless of course it is something completely against biblical standards); instead, it is our job to support, encourage, advise, and listen as the person seeks to pursue God with his/her all towards that calling. I don't know about you, but I know that with me, I desire people who love me for me. Yes, God will continue shaping and changing my heart, which will in turn shape and change my future. But, in the end. . . if you can't love me how I am now, you won't love me in who I become.
I am radical. I love my Lord, and I seek to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul. And while I realize that my decisions in life may not sit well with certain people, that is not my concern. My concern is that I use the gifts, the talents, the passions, the directions, and the paths that the Lord has laid before me, and that I use them to further His kingdom with every breath within me. I may not be designed to be a household runner at heart. . . but He can use my drive for a life of stress and career to bless others at His will. I may not be designed to naturally adore and simply seek to be around all children. . . but He can use my passion to lead people and to teach people in ways that will show His love to others uniquely and beautifully. I may not be the type of person some of you envisioned me to be. . . but He will continue to draw me closer to the me He envisioned me to be. My definition of living radically for the Lord is simply to follow Him, in all I do and in all I dream of doing. If your calling is to be a wife and mother, I am so blessed to know you. You ladies bring balance and gentleness to this world that I would sincerely miss otherwise, and I want you to know that so it does not seem like I am undermining that path in any way. I just am simply not called that way, at this point and time in my life.
Basically, the message that I want you all to take from this: when you get to know me, I hope that you get to know the real me; I hope you don't get to know a vision of who I can or will be. When you get to know me, I hope you see the Lord's hand moving in my life much more powerfully than my personality or my position in life. When you get to know me, I hope that you do not try and classify me in some stereotype. When you get to know me, I hope you become inspired and feel completely comfortable to be the real you. When you get to know me, I hope that my life on the inside matches my life on the outside. No matter what I choose to do or where the Lord calls me in this world, I hope beyond anything that my heart will be nothing but that of a godly woman pursuing an intimate and all-encompassing relationship with her Lord and Savior. That, my friends, is who I want to be.