So for most of my life I have been the strong-willed child of the family. Not afraid to be myself and be a little different. However, I was also the more shy and timid daughter who kept to herself a lot and played in her room completely content on her own. Yes, I'm an introvert through and through. But heck I am independent and strong-willed. I've always been a little feisty when I'm passionate about something and I'm extremely stubborn at times. In large groups I was definitely not the life of the party, but man around my close friends I could bust out of my shell and be the weirdest one of the group. My poor mom, she could never put me in dresses. I was that kid who wore knee high toe socks and flip flops. I was a tomboy and had NO shame in it. I lived in overalls and pig tails. I played in the mud and loved animals and bugs. I'm sure my parents just laughed and slap their heads at times. There was nothing they could do about it. I loved being different and I felt funny being anything else.
But as I grew my introvertedness became more my identity. I was always reminded as shy and quiet. (I was that kid who did not like school-mainly because I was bored, but also, I got very fed up with people's nonsense, I was still passionate and feisty at times). I started spending more time in large group settings where I shut down and started pulling away. My insecurities got the best of me and I started hiding. My confidence dropped. But the more I tried to "fit in" the more I shut down. Because I was trying to be something I wasn't. I took me a couple of years in college to find a group of girls to hang out with that made me feel "normal." Don't get me wrong, there were tons of amazing women on my campus, but I felt like such an odd ball. I would rather wear shorts and a t-shirt everyday with no makeup. I didn't really care about how I looked, but I started feeling really insecure because it seemed almost everyone else did. It's funny, I usually found it much easier to get along with the boys, they were much more lighthearted and they didn't wear makeup haha. But they did not fill the need of female friendships (which I believe are much more important for a woman). Don't worry I found friends of a lifetime there, godly women that changed my life forever and taught me the importance of female friendships and how strong women really are. But it took me finding the confidence to just be me. Still it was hard and for much of my adult life I felt weak and timid.
But let's be real, I think a lot of that insecurity came from being so involved in church and a denomination that often belittled women. I accepted all of the "opinions" as truth. Women cannot preach, women are not as holy as men, women don't have any authority to teach men. I sat in meetings where the leaders of our church cracked jokes about women in leadership right in front of our faces. And yes, I love to laugh, but we all know jokes come with a bit of truth and they shouldn't be degrading. I remember thinking I was nothing. I felt desire to be in leadership could only go so far. It was hard to accept the truth of the handful of men that did believe in me because the overwhelming consensus was a woman could only teach women. Now I've never had a deep drive to preach and teach to men, but I've realized that God has used women as movers and shakers throughout history for his Kingdom and even leading men. Now I have to give my parents some HUGE props and especially my dad, because he was a man in my life that never belittled me or let my womanhood make me any other than amazing. And my mom was always strong and independent. My parents encouraged me to be who I was and do whatever I dreamed. There are so many times in my life I look back and remember my dad saying "You go girl!" "You get those boys!" "Girl power!" Haha it's funny writing it down, but man I really believe his encouragement and my mom's kept me from sinking deeper in doubt even more. My dad took great pride when I showed up the boys academically or physically. And that always inspired me.
It's taken me years of counseling and healing to move on and as I sit here today struggling with doubts and insecurities, I'm reminded of God's truth in my life. Today I'm reminded of the strong women in my life and how God has made me a Strong Woman. Men, you don't see the pressure we are faced with on a day to day basis. You don't see how men objectify us constantly. When I go out for a run and the men that comment on my body or when we look at photos and the comparisons or comments that are said to women whether positive or negative. The world so often looks at us as objects or people who are just here to serve men. How often men don't give us as much authority because of our gender, even men of the bible. There are so many men I stand in front of who just make me feel like nothing. But I'm here to tell you something. I'm here to speak truth from God's word. I'm here to inspire women to stand up and be fighters for what's right. When doubt creeps in and you feel worthless or timid or weak, we have a powerful God who has made us STRONG and CAPABLE. We are victorious.
We are strong women.
We are fighters. We are overcomers. We are beautiful. We are smart. We are steadfast. We are compassionate. We are leaders. We are God's creation, made in his image. We are loved. We are worthy.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
God did not make us timid or shy. He made us in his image. So when I doubt, when fear creeps in, I am resting in the truth of God. I am STRONG.
My emotions shall be victorious, because God did not condemn us or belittle us, but he gave his life for us! That is worth my friends.
I will chase my dreams, not for my own publicity, but because God gave me them and has reminded me not to let them go. The world may try to tear me down or cause me to doubt, but my God has called me to something much greater. So women. Stand tall today. Hold your head high. Do not let this world tell you, you are not enough. Christ said you are. He called us to confidence and boldness. Be bold today. Be strong. Because you already are.