What Jesus taught me about becoming a Lady Again
In the last year or so, I have become a part of a church community that heavily promotes Bible reading and prayer. This is significant, because I have been to many churches that do not intentionally encourage it’s members to engage in these fundamental practices of Christianity.
Similarly noteworthy is the fact that the church consists of a predominant (and immediately observable) young adult population. I mean, you walk into this church and you think “am I on a college campus?!” These are all young professional men and women, reading Bibles and committing to “The Lord’s work”.
Since I started to attend this church I have seen more women become engaged, or begin committed romantic relationships on the path to marriage, than I have experienced in any other circle of friends I have had in my life (except on facebook, but in those cases the word “friends” is loosely defined and I have over 1000 of them). That being said, many of these relationships seem quite happy and fulfilled.
Additionally, I have attended several sermons and/or workshops where the focus is “commitment” or “love”, or some other important factor of effectual relationships. I realized quickly from observing the women (and men) at this church, that I (and most of us) are doing things wrong, and that’s why we’re so unhappy with our lives.
Many Christian values promoted in the church, are things I have thought about or was told, but never implemented into the way I do things. I think the difference is that these are “old school” values that many people have rejected as irrelevant or oppressive, but which promote the effective application of many of the creature comforts our society most cherishes including:
- committed relationships
- financial stability
- peace of mind
It’s interesting that these are things that we all want out of life, and in fact they are things that history has demonstrated determines our very survival, but we continue to try to create new rules to achieve these things. Then, when our new rules fail us, we decide that it’s our human nature that’s got it wrong and we try to fix ourselves (which leads to more problems).
What I have learned is that there are core values that the Bible teaches that help us to achieve those things that give us (and for the sake of this blog, I’m talking about ladies), the creature comforts most of us claim to desire in life. These values are:
- Commitment: The Bible encourages commitment, and I have heard many leaders at this church preach commitment many times. The idea behind commitment is that “life is hard”, period. When you commit to things (in work, romance, faith, etc.) and persevere through trials, you will find fulfillment and often times peace.
- Humility: This church is big on the passage in Philippians 2 that praises how Jesus “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but humbled himself as a servant…” I have come to believe that there is absolutely no way a woman can have peace in a committed relationship without humility. (Men as well, but we’re talking about women here).
- Service: It talked about Jesus being a servant. The Bible also uses words like “submit” and “obey” which a lot of people today feel are “dirty words”. But Jesus said that he came “not to be served, but to serve”.
- Selflessness: The opposite of this is selfishness, which makes people do things to benefit themselves with no concern for the welfare of others. I do not see how one can live in community (peacefully) without this value.
- Forgiveness: Recognizing that nobody is perfect, and that we all need to lovingly be encouraging to one another seems, to me, to be so important for those things that promote “good living”.
I could go on and on with values like patience and perseverance that are also taught in the Bible, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll leave it here.
Not saying that people outside of the church do not esteem these same values, but the difference between those in the church and those outside of the church is that those in the church (specifically those who fully embrace the idea of “Christ-likeness” in these ways) attach their very identities to these core values. Many non-Christians or uncommitted Christians may see the appropriateness of these values, but either:
- don’t identify with them
- don’t find these values realistic to embrace
- are unsure about the benefits of these values
- or have any of a number of limiting beliefs that make it hard to embrace and/or apply these values.
That is unfortunate, because I feel that embracing these values, along with prayer and Bible study has changed my life (and health) in ways that are so far reaching that it’s difficult to describe. However, I will do my best to discuss some of these in future articles.
Question of the Day: Do you think the world can do better without Christian values? Why or why not?
Read Next: A Letter to Haters
Author: African Femininity
African Femininity is a first generation American-born Nigerian. That basically means, her parents were immigrants and raised her with a mix of selective cultural values from both traditions. Needless to say, this left her with a very dissonant understanding of what being a “lady” meant. Now, as an un-married 30 year old woman, she is on a mission to delve to the root of being a woman in a world where conflicting cultural values and traditions are leaving many confused and disillusioned. She use the power of the pen to defend a woman’s right to choose her own lifestyle: be it housewife, social climber or being conventionally employed. Check out her Amazon author page for books written by her at http://amazon.com/author/shadowjackson