There are many different kinds of people. One characteristic some have is the tendency to be highly opinionated. I definitely fall into that category. 😉 I do try to consider issues from every angle (though I’m not perfect, of course), and I tend to have strong thoughts about almost everything. That gives me plenty to write about. Yet sometimes along with having well-formulated thoughts on important issues can come the trait of being almost apologetic about thinking in a divergent manner. I know that often when I have an opinion, I am concerned what others would think if I speak my mind. Would it lead to labeling? To people holding lesser views of me? How would it change people’s perceptions if I speak up and out? It is odd that as human beings we can be so vulnerable to the thoughts of others. Does the estimation of others really hold so high a place in our souls?
It is true that many times we place too high a value on what others think, and less of an emphasis on what God thinks. I also think it’s possible to be considerate of others and to share one’s views without being rude, and that you can be a woman who is feminine and has spunk. I’m not sure when lame versions of femininity first began becoming popular- I can only describe this as unrealistic womanhood without liveliness of soul- but it is not something that I aspire to.
In the Bible, many of the accounts of womanhood that I have read include women with spunk. Some of my favorite women in the Bible include Esther, Mary, Hannah, Vashti and Ruth. Each of these women were unconventional in at least some respects. Hannah was comfortable praying her heart out, even when someone mistakenly thought she was drunk. Esther was brave enough to value her people over her life. Vashti refused to place the demands of man over the value of modesty. Mary must have had to endure many persecutions when she appeared to have become pregnant by another man while she was betrothed to Joseph, even though this was not the case. Ruth stuck by her mother-in-law’s side, and chose to work hard instead of chasing after young men when she became widowed. These and other women in the Bible give a realistic and attainable idea of womanhood: how to be feminine, courageous and bold, without being fearful or unkind.
These and other women in the Bible had to be willing to risk not being popular to pursue living righteously. They often were concerned with justice and the eternal significance of doing right, not just living in the here-and-now. In fact, you might be surprised to learn as I was that in many instances in the New Testament of the Bible that the word righteousness not only means righteousness, but justice as well (dikaiosune). The book Rumors of God and this article point out the significance of inserting the full meaning of the word in key Bible passages. I suggest that you read the link for the full impact of just what this means for Christians. (For more on Biblical Justice: visit here, here, and read Rumors of God, p.123-124).
In light of this, consider the opportunities that abound for those with godly opinions. Those thoughts weren’t meant to be sequestered! Of course, that doesn’t mean that the highly opinionated should be aggressive, but it does give an idea of a few of the ways that all that God-given spunk might be channeled. Spreading God’s justice. Speaking up about important issues. Presenting the truth in a way that is considerate and conversation-provoking. Not giving up in the face of challenges. Not being afraid to stand out when the going gets tough.
There will always be some difficulties in living as a woman of God, and it is important not to confuse the thoughts and opinions that God approves of with those that are not entirely God-honoring. But it’s okay to be a real woman. A spunky woman. A woman with many thoughts. Christianity needs that passion, that verve. God gives us enthusiasm and liveliness for a reason. It’s not to cut people with sassy words, but to live in confidence, in lieu of fear. It’s also okay not to be a spunky, Maid-Marian type. Not everyone is as passionate or well-spoken. But for those with lots to say- speak up! Live in a way that is genuine and approachable, and someone will want to share a piece of the truths you have to tell.
Art Credit: Pushing Daisies