More than ever, women in the church are privileged with an array of opportunities in life. From single, married, student, mother, professional, or retiree, Christian women are presented with a multitude of options for each season. And, any given path offers various levels of accomplishment.
Consider a woman interested in medicine. Should she be a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, doctor, or surgeon? Which school is most competitive?
The problem emerges when her hope and satisfaction rest on jumping over the next standard she or others have set.
And what about the stay-at-home mom? Does she clean her home or hire a maid? Should her children play sports, study music, learn ballet, or do all three? What schooling option will best equip her children? Blog or no blog?
Such choices provide the church with varied opportunities to live out God's call. Yet, most women are confronted with a battle. They shift from being a faithful servant to a pole vaulter, from valuing Christ-centered loyalty and commitment to jumping over the next high bar in life. One approach is about Jesus, and the other is about self. One nurtures an other-focused heart of contentment; the other feeds an inner-focused spirit of dissatisfaction and competition.
A Pole Vaulter's Focus
In reality the difference between the two can be subtle. A pole vaulter's misguidance is not in the use of goals which help develop her God-given gifts. The problem emerges when her hope and satisfaction rest on jumping over the next standard she or others have set.
Her joy quickly turns feeble, and she values the quality of her abilities, shrinking back from internal embarrassment when she misses the higher bar. Life becomes burdensome trying to "keep up." Soon she believes her cup is half empty because reaching that subsequent level is less achievable over time. She wonders how other women do it, and she gives increasing energy to fight self-pity or bitterness.
A Faithful Servant's Focus
But look at the faithful servant. Just a consideration of the contrast brings relief and liberty! Galatians 5:22 says that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. The faithful servant is driven by the Lord to be loyal to the Lord within her given season of life. The Spirit supernaturally works as she reads the Word, prays, and communes with other Christians moving her to ultimately value hearing her Father one day say "well done!" (Matt. 25:21).
She might set goals to better utilize her gifts, but her hope and satisfaction are not dependent on reaching the goals since her fulfillment is rooted in God's acceptance of her through Jesus. Instead, she finds delight in remaining not perfect, but steadfast and resolute with the tasks before her. She can do this because she lives within the shelter of a love relationship with her Father, confident of His goodness and wisdom toward her (1 Cor. 10:31; Matt. 6:33–34).
Faithfulness is not a product of human effort. It is not another invitation to pole vault. It is a grace produced by God. In our battle to focus on faithfulness, the Father greets His children with His steadfast love, ready to pour it into our hearts by His grace. His faithful love was proven on the cross! And His resurrection life guarantees that His children are being renewed (1 Peter 1:3).
In what ways have you witnessed God molding you into a faithful servant?