Women are taking more of a leadership role in business and communities. In almost every aspect of society, ladies are taking more leadership. From Hollywood to the corporate board room, women are starting to receive opportunities that once used to be available only to men.
Women have always carried much of the leadership inside the home. Arguably, the responsibility of a mother never ends. Some would say that the mother’s influence will leave the greatest impression on her children. Many working wives spend all day long making complex decisions at the office, only to come home and have to do all the housework and make all of the big decisions for the family. Some women choose to invest most of their time and leadership influence in the home. Some don’t have any other option but to be forced to carry all of the leadership inside the home because of a husband or father who has abandoned the family or abused them.
There are a lot of opportunities for women in American society today, maybe more than ever before. However, that also means women are being pulled in many directions as a result of these opportunities. It’s going to take a very strong woman to meet all of the complex challenges placed on her today. So, the question that I want to focus on for a few moments is, what really makes a strong woman?
Strength begins on the inside
If you’re the kind of woman who gets up early one morning and goes to the gym before she heads off to the office, good for you. If you work out diligently on the exercise bike in order to maintain your fitness and your weight, you should be commended. Even the Bible commands physical exercise in 1 Timothy 4:8. The problem is that strength training or cardio can’t strengthen you on the inside.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against going to the gym. In fact, I think most Americans can benefit from a few hours of exercise every day. I have no difficulty with doing cardio in a spin class. However, real strength comes in the form of character. A woman’s true strength is not seen by the way she looks in the mirror; it’s found when the challenges of life are difficult. Therefore, strength training in the gym is valuable, but it cannot prepare you for the crises of your life. You’re going to need a different kind of strength in order to handle life’s biggest problems.
You can’t create strength when it’s needed most
Just like it takes a lot of practice to prepare for any big event, it takes practice to care for the big problems in life. That practice can’t be neglected. The only way to be ready to confront the great challenges of your life is to prepare yourself today for those challenges. You can’t show up in the middle of a family crisis or a personal disaster hoping that you will have enough strength on the inside to deal with it. That kind of intestinal fortitude is developed over time. A strong personal will and character is the result of many months or years of preparation.
A strong character must be cultivated. The woman’s will must be developed over time. This is not something a mother can do for her daughter. It takes time and deliberate attention to be prepared before the big challenges of life happen. The truth is, many men and women can’t handle the big crises of their lot because they’ve never prepared for them. Therefore, if you really want to be a strong woman on the inside and outside, you’re going to spend as much time and energy focusing on your spirit and your character as you do your body and your looks.
Church is the gym for the soul
Every strong woman has someone to help her shoulder a heavy load. Maybe it’s the spouse who’s coming alongside to take some of the burden when dealing with difficulties. Maybe it is a friend who’s got your back no matter how bad the circumstance becomes. Just like a heavy load gets lighter when another person helps you lift it, so the difficulties of life are easier to bear when somebody’s walking through them with you.
I believe this is what the Bible is suggesting in Isaiah 40:31. The people who have the strength to overcome crises have learned how to patiently trust God to handle their difficulties. If a heavy load is easier to bear when a person comes alongside to carry part of the load, imagine how much the Lord can help a woman handle the difficulties of life.
Abigail, in 1 Samuel 25:14-19 is a vivid example of a woman who learned to trust in God and found strength to handle a family crisis. When the great test of her strength came, Abigail was ready to step in and save her family. I believe Abigail had prepared herself before this event by cultivating a rock-solid faith. That’s why I believe going to church does more to strengthen a woman for the times of crisis than going to the gym. I’m convinced that developing a solid faith in Jesus Christ today is essential for handling the crisis of tomorrow.