I aspire to be a strong woman. I want to be someone who is capable and confident, poised and proud, tough and resilient, physically and mentally able to fight through any difficult task put in front of her.
Most days, I feel like this woman—powerful and determined, loving and stubborn. But sometimes I put too much faith in my own two feet instead of my God.
I battle this idea in my head all too often: independent vs. dependent on God. When I think about the things I’ve gone through, the way I’ve fought to become the woman I’ve become, I am proud. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and how I found strength in my body and voice.
But then I think about my faith. I think about my God. I think about all the ways He’s strengthened me, given me confidence and the ability to fight. I think about how, because of Him, I have been able to stand after falling down, been able to rise after slipping, been able to push forward after taking so many steps backwards.
It’s hard, sometimes, to want to be a strong woman who loves the Lord because there’s such conflict between your own strength and the strength of your Father.
I’m stubborn. I want to take pride in who I am. I want to fend for myself and fight my demons alone. But even if I was the strongest woman in the world, I can’t. I still need my God to help me fight through.
And sometimes that’s hard for me.
Sometimes I feel like there’s something I need to prove, and if I just do everything on my own, I’ll prove to whoever it is that I’m capable.
So often I forget that I’m already capable in His eyes; I don’t have anything to prove.
I read Bible verses about women who submit to their husbands. I hear words from some Christians about how women today have strayed from the traditional gender roles. I listen to ideas about feminism that supposedly go against what God wants for my sex.
But I just can’t agree.
I know that if I were to get married, my faith would encourage me to serve my husband, and I’m okay with that. A marriage, to me, is give-and-take. Two people submitting to one another in love—that doesn’t make me any less strong. That’s love and vulnerability, and I completely agree.
And I understand what some Christians are saying about women today, as we fight against men rather than coming together in unity, or use our bodies in ways that might demean our purity. I can see this argument. And I think that there are, in some ways, areas where feminism and faith rest on two different ends of the spectrum.
But then I think about the Bible verses that encourage women to be strong and bold in their faith.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity. She laughs without fear of the future.”
— Proverbs 31: 25
I think about the way God has built me and other strong women—stubborn and flawed and resilient and passionate.
And I don’t think He made a mistake.
See, there has to be a balance. As women, there has to be independence and strength within our own feet and hands and brains and bodies. But there has to be a dependence on God.
Depending on God doesn’t make you any less strong, but being confident in who you are and what you’re capable of doesn’t make you any less of a Christian woman.
Yes, you can be a strong woman who loves the Lord. You can be a woman who is dignified, who is faithful, who honors her spouse/boyfriend/authority/superior but also lets her own voice be heard.
You can be a woman who respects others, but also respects and puts herself first sometimes. You can be a woman who is powerful, who is bold, who stands up for her rights and the rights of her sex, but with a soul that shines with Christ’s love.
You don’t have to compromise your faith to be a strong woman; you don’t have to lessen your strength to be a woman of faith.
I think that God made strong women the way we are—a mix, a mess, bodies in conflict—but as He wanted us to be. Sure, sometimes we’re going to test Him. Sometimes we’re going to make the wrong decisions. Sometimes we’ll start to rely on ourselves more than Him.
But our strength is a part of His creation, and I don’t think us strong women need to deny ourselves of that.
You can be strong and love God. You can fight to be who you are and for what you believe in, while still honoring Him as your savior. You can be sometimes stubborn and sassy and too much and a little fierce, but someone who is all those things for God and for others, not just for herself.
Sometimes the world puts a damper on faith, makes it seem like being a Christian means you’re this perfect, meek, quiet, mild-mannered woman. But that’s not the reality. Some women are strong, some are feisty, some are filled with emotion and heart and if you’re one of those people, you can’t pretend you’re not.
You can’t hide or hold back the woman God intended you to be.
Yes, you can be a strong woman.
Yes, you can love the Lord.
And no, you don’t have to dull your shine because the world thinks you’re a little too bold to be a good Christian.
The strongest, most passionate people make the biggest impact. So keep shining your light and raising your voice with God’s blessing. You have nothing to be ashamed about.
And you are loved, just as you are.