It’s never been easy to be a woman. Ever since the Garden of Eden the serpent has come against Eve with a special violent hatred. But underneath everything you may hear from both culture and the church about what you “should” do and “should” be, your heart as a woman often gets overlooked. What is the heart of a Christian woman really all about? (Last time we talked about the heart of a Christian man.)
Cultural messages to women seem rather confusing. There’s the “voice” that says you’ve been marginalized too long and you’re now “owed” something without any real personal responsibility. You’re entitled to “reproductive rights,” “a safe space,” and “a seat at the table.” Much of that may sound good, but if you get a free pass just because of your chromosomes, isn’t that actually devaluing what you truly have to offer?
And the confusion about women continues when it comes to church. Various “brands” of Christianity promote egalitarianism or complementarianism as if the other view were evil. And of course, a “good” Christian woman isn’t a particularly sexual creature. “Submission” is her proper stance. You often get the message that you should just ignore or put up with all the harm you experience as a result.
Then there are so many things to do! Look around in the average church, and the “good” Christian woman seems rather – tired.
So, where’s your heart in the middle of all this? Do you even know where your heart is? Let’s explore that.
Messages You Hear as a Christian Woman
In Christian circles, as a woman, you might hear unspoken messages such as, “Don’t want something too much; your desires aren’t really important. .. Ambition is troublesome, especially for a woman. Just don’t go there. .. Your feelings are too much. They don’t really matter anyway. .. Try as hard as you wish, but as a woman you’ll never really be good enough. .. Go ahead and do your little ministry if you want; it won’t make much difference anyway.”
And when it comes to sex it gets downright messy. You hear, “Turn off your sexuality until your wedding night. If you’re single, you’re just not a sexual creature. Your body is dangerous to men, so cover it up. But the moment you get married you’ve got to “bring it” for your husband’s benefit. Your own sexual thoughts or feelings – well, “real” Christian women just don’t go there.”
You somehow know those messages aren’t quite true. But they have just enough Biblical flavor to let you buy into them, at least somewhat. And if you don’t, well, in some circles you’re just not a “good” Christian woman.
Again, where’s your heart in all this? Does it even matter?
Tending to Your Heart
You know the Scripture; “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Too often that’s been spoken as if your heart were something dangerous. “You better watch out for that heart of yours; it’s going to get you in trouble.”
But that’s not the message at all. It’s by ignoring the deeper issues of the heart that so many of us actually do get into trouble. We use food, shopping, busyness, sex (oh, perish the thought!), or even church work to anesthetize the nagging angst going on under the surface. Feel unhappy? Pray more. Study your Bible more. Volunteer more. And somehow it just doesn’t work.
God created your heart. That inner part of you is the most valuable thing about you. Jesus talked about the heart often. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart.” (Matthew 22:37) “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
What’s going on in your heart matters.
And it matters to Jesus.
How Jesus Deals with the Heart of a Woman
Your heart as a woman is unique and precious. When He was here on earth, Jesus over and over again dealt with women around the deepest matters of the heart.
Look at the woman at the well in Samaria. Jesus sees what’s going on at the deepest level of her heart. “Go, call your husband.” “I don’t have a husband.” “You’re right; you’ve had five, and the one you’re with now is not your husband.” (John 4:16-18) Jesus wasn’t condemning her; He was saying, “I see you. Here, let’s deal with your heart.”
The woman who came to anoint Jesus’ feet with the precious ointment in her alabaster box. He sees and understands her tears, her overwhelming gratitude for what Jesus had done for her. He welcomes her gift and recognizes the love she is lavishing on Him from her heart. (Luke 7:37-38, 48-50)
After His resurrection, Jesus appears first to Mary. All He has to say is her name; “Mary.” And she becomes the first evangelist to spread the news that He is alive. (John 20:16-18)
And Jesus sees you. He sees you being misunderstood, feeling unseen, trying harder to “make it.” He understands your hunger to be connected, to be known, to be loved, to be beautiful, to be part of something grand and important. He put those things in your heart; that’s why they’re there.
Inviting Jesus Close
Others may, knowingly or unknowingly, dismiss or traumatize or marginalize your feminine soul. Jesus never will. You need never be afraid that He will try to make you someone you’re not, push you into a box that doesn’t fit, or ignore the deepest parts of your heart.
So invite Him to be close. Intentionally bring Him to those hidden places – your deepest longings, hurts, dreams.
He needs you to be who you are. He created you for something unique and special. Everything you’ve experienced and the unique makeup of your heart are indispensable aspects of the person He needs you to be. No one else can experience Him exactly as you can. And no one else can fulfill the unique and vital role He needs you to fill.
Tending to your feminine heart and bringing it to Jesus makes that possible.
Your Turn: Have you tried to dismiss your heart as a Christian woman? What part of your feminine heart do you need to invite Jesus close to? Leave a comment below.
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- Your heart as a woman can get beaten up by both culture and the church. Jesus will never do that. Your heart as a Christian woman matters, and it’s worth caring for. Tweet that.
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