I think it’s safe to say that our industrialized Western society puts an undue amount of pressure on people. But if there’s one side of our society that bears a majority of those undeserved pressures, it is our women. They feel pressured to look a certain way, dress a certain way, keep their house a certain way, raise their children a certain way, perform in the job marketplace a certain way, cook a certain way, the list could go on forever…but can I say something to you today? It’s okay. You don’t have to measure up to any of these standards, because these in no way, shape or form contain your worth. Your worth is not defined by your house. Your worth is not defined by your kids…or even your ability or inability to have them. Your worth is not defined by your income or your ability to balance job and home. Your worth is not defined by your ability to cook or your appearance or anything else that can be quantified by a “women’s” magazine.
There was a recent hashtag trending on Twitter that was pretty discouraging to read: #thingschristianwomenhear. It was mind blowing to go through the 100’s of messages that we as the church deliver to women to make them feel less than or less valued. Fortunately a day or two into this phenomenon a new hashtag appeared: #thingschristianwomenshouldhear. These were messages, predominately from men, that attempted to redeem some of the hurtful and damaging rhetoric that has often been directed to women within the walls of the church or in the name of religion. Because let’s be honest; when it come’s to the reputation of the church and our ability to lift people up, there is always room for improvement.
Often times when it comes around to this time of the year (Mother’s Day) women in the church feel the need to evaluate themselves. Why in the world a Hallmark Card holiday would bring about this type of self-evaluation, I don’t know…but the phenomenon exists all the same. One of the passages of scripture that often gets pulled out for this type of self-inventory is Proverbs 31:10-31. This passage of scripture is known traditionally among the Jewish people as Eshet Chayil or The Woman of Valor. And if we read it at face value it can be intimidating…can a woman really be expected to do all of these things. But historically before every Sabbath, a husband would read this poem to his wife to praise her for all that she is (not all that she has done). It wasn’t a score card…but an embellishment and adoration of all that she was and meant to her husband before they entered into the rest of Sabbath. It reads a lot different now.
So ladies…may you be praised for who you are. May you not find yourself lacking because of what someone else thinks or because of how someone else is living their life or because of what some magazine or social media post says. After all, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30. May you find your worth and full acceptance in God and live out of that love and grace that you seek to embody it to those God has surrounded you with.