Hello you, welcome to the second post in the Empowerment Series. In the first post, we talked about the importance of being an empowered woman. We also briefly considered our genealogy as Christians women; from the fall of mankind to Jesus’ interactions with women.
It showed that the Lord wants us to live whole and fulfilled lives, to remember that we matter to him and that we have been redeemed.
It was also a reminder that we are different from men but not loved or cherished any less.
So, how do you feel about living an empowered life?
Are you still burdened by the world’s expectations and definition of what it means to be a woman or are you holding fast to what God has said about you?
I do hope it’s the latter. If so, then we have to live our lives knowing that he loves us and made us in his image.
This requires doing certain things differently including the sort of decisions we make, our interactions with others and the projects we undertake.
Four Defining Qualities of an Empowered Woman
There are a few central tenets of living an empowered life and I would love for us to consider four of these. These qualities of an empowered woman are blueprints we need to live a happier and fulfilled life.
- Know your principles and life commandments
You can’t consider doing things differently without knowing and loving who you are. It is one thing to know, but do we believe these things and act on them? I know I am the daughter of the most-high, that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly, more than I could ever ask or imagine.
But I also know my actions and principles don’t always support this. It is one thing for us know what is right but always another to live it.
Dear Sis, you need to know who you are, believe it is who you are and live it. You can do this by writing out your values and principles.
If you haven’t already done so, you could start by finding out the things that matter to you. This should be the very things you want to practice and grow in your life. It could be about being a person of integrity, focusing on solutions rather than problems or treating people with courtesy even when it’s hard.
Our life principles or ‘Personal Commandments’ (as Gretchen Rubin calls it) may differ but as Christians, they should be guided by the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, longsuffering and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.
Please take as much time as you need to craft your life commandments, you will be glad you did.
While I have always known the kind of person I wanted to be, for a long time, I didn’t have it written out. Recently, I got a chance to lay it all out and it now serves as my compass. I can refer to it from time to time and can tweak it in tune with my life. To give you an idea of the sort of things I mean, here are a few of mine:
- I want to be honest and to be a person of integrity
- I want to do the right thing even when it’s hard
- I never want to stop learning
- I realize that life is what I make of it
- I will not react to people’s words and actions but consider the best course of action, while holding on to love.
Keep your priorities straight
Now that you hopefully know your core values and principles, it is time to set the right priorities. Life is evolutionary, which means that different things may be important at different points in our lives. This also means we should be able to determine what matters and pursue these things.
As an empowered woman, you know you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). This a popular verse but I think a lot of times it is taken out of context. All things here are still limited to the right things. God is not going to strengthen us to do the wrong things.
I’m not saying this as a judge or jury but reminding us that many of the verses we love and often memorize were written in a particular context. If we all agree that we are children of God and his ambassadors on earth, then it makes sense for us to be mindful of his needs in whatever we do.
Remember when Jesus told the people that he was about his father’s business? That was so brave (Jesus was really cool, he just had the perfect response for everything) and also the truth.
So, our top priority should be going about our father’s business. What I believe this means is that in whatever we do, it should be to the glory of God. See Colossians 3:17
This doesn’t mean we should all start churches or Christian blogs but that we focus on the things that matter.
If God has laid it on your heart to write a book, you know that the book becomes an important aspect of what you’re doing and you will need to make time for it.
What are those things you have been led to do? Are you setting out time to do them?
Take responsibility for your actions as it relates to your interactions, your finances, your work and other aspects of your life.
A big part of our empowerment is in knowing that we have been given freedom in Christ and have the power to choose.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
This also means that we take responsibility for our actions and decisions.
As empowered woman, we don’t push the bulk. We take charge of our lives and steer it in the right direction.
Including taking control of our health, our career and our finances. I narrowed it down to these three areas because I think most of us struggle in these areas.
We generally take our health for granted, avoiding checkups, not exercising or eating right and somehow hoping for the best.
In my twenties, there were two places I avoided at all costs: the gym and the hospital :).
Now, I still avoid these places but for different reasons. I try to eat better and exercise in a different way (walking).
But here’s the thing; I had to make a difficult decision. I couldn’t simply avoid gyms and hospitals without an alternative. I had to accept that I needed to take better care of my health and life. I am not where I want to be, especially with exercising but now I’m making a conscious effort to be more intentional about things concerning my health.
Do you remember those days when we could eat almost anything without suffering the consequences?
“a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”, seems to be our present predicament. For our sisters that are moms, you know all too well how hard it can sometimes be.
But we can do this.
It may mean saying no to second helpings, not eating past a certain time, incorporating more fruits and veggies in our diet and exercising a few times a week. It could also mean limiting intake of caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.
So, if you’re not already doing these things, now is the time to start. Remember you’re an empowered woman and have been given the power to make better decisions concerning your health.
This includes believing what God says about healing. He has told us that “…by his stripes we were healed.” Isaiah 53.5
I’ve heard people say that if we believe this is true then we shouldn’t use drugs or go to the hospital. I don’t agree and hope to address this in more detail, in the future. I believe that God is able and willing to heal us and he may choose to heal us in different ways, including through medicine. He may also choose not to heal us.
Remember the story of the blind man in John 9? The people asked Jesus if the man’s blindness was because of his sin or those of his parents, and Jesus told them that it happened “…so that the works of God can be displayed through him”. How wonderful!
There are countless jokes out there about women and money. You’ve probably heard the one about all women know about money is how to spend it. But this is not really the case. According to Muhammad Yunus, in Bangladesh, women repay more loans than men and families are more likely to benefit where a woman is in control of the money.
Though there is another segment of women. Age Wave calls them “The Supportive Traditionalist”, these are women who are comfortable with others making the major financial decisions for them. They usually leave these decisions to their husbands.
If this is you, I want to implore you to learn the basics of managing money, even if your spouse makes the decisions. It will be great for you to know the status of your family’s finances.
More women need to be comfortable about learning and discussing their finances. A study by Fidelity Investments showed that 75% of the women in the group wanted to learn more about money and investing. That’s great news and I hope that number increases.
I believe there are four components of understanding money:
Start with the first, we need to earn an income to be able to save it, invest it or bless others with it.
If you’re having difficulties saving or investing, you could start with creating a budget or money plan listing all your income and expenses. Review these to see if there are any expenses you can reduce, and save the difference.
No matter how much income you earn, try to save a portion of this. Saving a little bit today can go a long way tomorrow.
One of the qualities of an empowered woman is in pursuing her passions and doing work she believes in.
We are definitely living in a new age with a record number of women working outside the home and some deciding to become stay at home moms. It’s a great thing but it doesn’t end there, it’s one thing to work (whether in or outside the home) but it’s another to be doing the work we are meant to do.
For a happier and more fulfilled life, work in the area of your purpose or gifts.
Living beyond yourself
“to be revolutionary you have to be a human being. You have to care about those who do not have a voice.”
I know I have said it here that we all matter and we do but we are not that great. Yes, we are amazing, even great but just not that great. We each matter but together, we matter more.
I’m really not trying to confuse you, just my way of highlighting the importance of community, of living beyond ourselves and pursuing a more inclusive lifestyle.
You probably believe in giving back, in helping the less privileged and supporting your community. This is, of course, admirable but let’s be honest, when was the last time you did any of those things?
It’s probably been awhile.
I think we have to move away from these high sounding and “virtuous desires”:
These seemingly noble things we hope to do some day but never do.
“I want world peace”
“I want to help stop hunger”
“I’m going to help the children in Africa” (I’ve heard this one often, it’s funny that when I do, the first thing that comes to mind is that Africa is not a COUNTRY)
Let’s be real and honest with each other, I think it’s a great idea to want to do these things but the problem is that we probably never do. I think it’s better and more effective to focus on the things in front of us, first.
Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan? See Luke 10: 25-37. If that story were to happen in this present day, who would you be, the Priest or the Samaritan?
I know that I have acted like the Priest on occasion. These were times when I overlooked opportunities to help others. Including my siblings, people I work with and even those around me.
How many times have you taken these people for granted? Let us remember that love, begins at home.
Make the most of your life
These four qualities of an empowered woman point to one thing: making the most of our lives, today not tomorrow or next year. We have just one life on earth, wouldn’t it be amazing to leave this world knowing that we have done all that we were purposed to do?
My friend’s email signature reads: “living to die empty”. I remember the first time I read this, I was impressed, it was a powerful message, simple yet deep.
So, dear sis, are you living an intentional life? Pouring out all God has put in your heart to die fully spent for the kingdom?
I know I want to. Just remember that you do have the power to live a life worthy of Him and one you are proud of.
You can start today by determining your values and principles. By setting the right priorities while also taking responsibility for your actions.
And finally, you need to live beyond yourself.