God Likes Girls.  And He Loves Them, Too.

One of my favorite points to make about the Bible is that, before the Fall,  God gave men and women BOTH dominion.  (One of my other favorite points to make is that the book on miracles, Acts, was written by a physician.  But that’s beside the point.)

But it took years for me to realize that, in the Garden, Eve had dominion.  Not over Adam, but…Over.  Everything. Else.

And that God reached inside Himself to create man, and then reached inside man to find woman.  As a woman who has given birth 5 times and as a doctor who has delivered hundreds of babies, that resonates with me.  God has reached inside of me to find people, too.  And I have reached inside of others (literally) to bring someone out.

But what really blows my mind is this.  If Eve was “in” Adam, (bear with me), and if Adam was “in” God, then…..

wasn’t Eve in God, too?

She had to be, if Adam was made in his likeness, and then Eve taken out of his side.  Wow.

The Jews say that Eve was created last, because God finally got it right.  I like that.

But the crowning moment of creation actually wasn’t Eve.  And it wasn’t Adam.  Or the stars.  Or the planets, blue whales, dinosaurs, or cuddly panda bears.

It was The Blessing.

Now, God is a blesser.  He is an affirmer par excellence.  Every day, every step along the way, He said, “It is good.”  And it was.

But when it was all over, and all the dust had settled, God took Adam and Eve, the crown of His creation, and..

God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

So, I want to talk today, about what is means to be Blessed by God.  As a woman.  Hear me out.

1. God’s Girl

The deepest wellspring of our identity can’t be our appearance, or our grades, or our profession, or our intelligence, or even our character.  Here’s a newsflash:  the source of our identity has to come from outside ourselves.  If it doesn’t, we can’t be renewed.

So God is a well we can tap into.  Our deepest relationship, and the very deepest source of who we are.  Like Jamie Grace says, “I’m a God girl, that’s who I be / from the top of my head to the soles of my feet…”

She got that right.  Knowning who we are stabilizes us.  And stability is SO important.  For service to others.  To go the distance.  And for the storms.  Trees with the longest taproots do better in hurricanes.  Think about it.
2.  Offer yourself.

This is a challenege.  But it’s only in offering yourself, willingly, to your destiny, that you find peace and fulfillment.  When I was a freshman (freshwoman?) in college, I bought a book.  It was called something like How to Find God’s Will For Your Life.  And I wanted to.  Gee, how I wanted to.

One of the interesting thiings about this book is that it had you list the 3 things you were afraid God would make you do if you surrendered your will to His.  And I wrote down, 1. Missionary, 2. Teacher.  3. Preacher’s Wife.

Know what?  Those things were exactly what I was called to do.  But I was not yet yielded to the will of God in my life.  Oh, I thought I was.  But I wasn’t.  And I have found my greatest joy in the last 32 years when I was doing something related to one of those 3 things.

Another way to offer yourself is prayer.  Spending time is an offering; time is the most valuable thing we have.  Because it’s the most limited.

And there is such peace in offering yourself back to the God who made you.  Whether it’s in time with Him, or in yielding to His plan for you.  It works.
3. Divine Strategies.

Knowing God’s will for your life is great and all, but how do you get there?

It takes step-by-step wisdom to birth a great vision.

And in spending time with God, you will find, that as you seek Him, you will find His answers and His direction.  Sometimes it will surprise you.  But trust His strategies.  They’re golden.

The prerequisite for divine strategies, that move you suddenly from Place A to Place B, is doing the step above.  Yield yourself.  Regularly.  In the small steps.  Being faithful.  When you dare to abandon yourself to His grace, He is free to plan.  Wild and crazy things.  More than you ever thought possible.  And, in time, He’ll show you His marvelous plan.

It will be more than you expect.  I promise.

4. Be Who You Are

America seems to be afflicted with an epidemic of people-pleasing.  And American women seem to be afflicted by it even more than their male counterparts.  And, what’s really a head-scratcher, women raised in church, CHRISTIAN women, have it worst of all.

Even though Paul clearly said, that if we are trying to please people, we are not serving God.

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

So what’s a girl to do?  Raised in church to be “nice,”  (read: doing what other people want), it shreds us in pieces to say no.  But Jesus did it.  All the time.  Read the Gospels, looking at Jesus.  You’ll be shocked.  He wasn’t always “nice.”  Not by modern American church standards.   But he was our example of love.  And, oh, how He loved.

What’s the difference, then, between people-pleasing and real love?  Knowing who you are.

Every time Jesus said no, he said why.  He would say, in essence, “That’s not what I’m called to do.  That’s not WHO I AM.”

Jesus knew who He was.  God had shown him.  And, that same God, who loves us just as much as he loves Jesus, will show us who we are.  Ask.  And be faithful to what you know.  It may mean saying no sometimes.  That’s OK.  Just do it.  And think to yourself, “I’m being like Jesus right now.”  Smile.

5.  Like What You Do

The only safe place, the only fulfilled place, is right in the middle of God’s will for you.  OK, so let’s talk about it.  Small children.  Housework.  Older children.  Driving.  Running errands.  If you’re a mother, things can get monotonous.  Even though you love your children, it’s hard to like caring for them and their home day after day.  No inspiration.  No recognition.  No achievements.  No rewards. It can sometimes feel like you’d rather be any place else.

Maybe you’re not a mother.  Maybe you feel stuck in a dead-end job.  No hope.  No recognition.  No reward.

But…the Bible says, “Lift up your eyes.”  You have to see the end from the beginning, for the journey to be worth it.  I.  PROMISE.  that these days don’t last forever.  There are other gifts and callings in you.  Start dreaming.  Plan for what you will do as the kids need you less and less.  Maybe there are steps you can take, now, to prepare.

Take that class to prepare for a different job.  The one you always wanted.  I was 35 when I started medical school.  30 when I started planning for it.   I spent 10 years at home with small children first.  And, in retrospect, I’m so glad I did.  Plan and dream for the future.

And…start to like what you do.  Where you are.  See the hand of God in it.  Ask Him what your spiritual assignments are, right now, in that job, that house, that situation.  You’ll get so happy, right where you are, that others will wonder.  Take notice.  And that may just be the beginning of your larger ministry.
6.  Empower Others

Real leaders aren’t necessarily the ones with titles and corner offices.  Real leaders are the ones who impact the lives of others.  Just ask  John Maxwell.  He wrote a book about it.  It was called The 360 Degree Leader, and one of its main points was that leadership is influence, not position.  And the best way to influence is to help enable the gifts and callings in other people.  Whether it’s paid work or volunteer work, that private office or the PTA, learn to delegate responsibilities and recognition to other people.  If you’re a mother, do it with your children.  It’s not all about you; and it’s not all about control.

One of the most valuable activities in life is handing the ball off to someone else, and then watching them run.  If they score, you know you gave it to them.  Everyone else doesn’t have to.

When you have a chance at leadership or position, use it for the good of the team.  Watch them learn and grow.

Find the hurting, broken, or shy people.  Support them until they succeed.

You get points in Heaven for it.  Beside that, it’s fun.

And, if you ever get a change to study leadership formally, you’ll find that it is fundamental to any major undertaking.

7.  Serve
Serve.  No big surprise.  But if you put your heart into it, it is on the most fulfilling endeavors there is.

Where you are, with what you have, find ways to help and bless others.  Be faithful to your assigned duties.  Go the distance; stay the course.  Continue being excellent at what is set before you. Every day.  For a long, long time.

Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

It is, if you have a vision.

“Lift up your eyes” is what God told Abraham, when nothing belonged to him.  Abraham was faithful; and soon the land was the nation of Israel.  And still is.

Serve with purpose.  Serve with vision.  Serve with excellence.

Serve with love.

You’ll be surprised at what can happen.
8.  Submit

In our culture, women rarely get to be top dog.  Whether in the boardroom, or doing the family budget, men seem to be in charge.  So what?  None of us were born to be in charge.

Newsflash: we’re all here to serve God.  He’s the only top dog.

And, every one of us, male or female, has someone to submit to.  Submission isn’t just for women.  It’s how we keep peace in the Body or Christ, and in society.  People have bosses, government, leaders.  Kids have parents and teachers. Churches have pastors, deacons, boards.  But the President answers to the people, and the CEO to the board.

What to do?  The Bible is really clear on this.

Submit.  To your own husband.  Your own pastor.  Your government representatives.  Your boss.

It’s amazing how God can use them.

And it’s amazing how doing so keeps. You. Safe.
9. Enjoy

Yeah.   I said it.  Enjoy this crazy, messed-up, sometimes painful mess we call life.

Enjoy your husband, if you’re married.

Enjoy your kids, if you have any.

Enjoy your job, if you have one.

And remember when you were asking for each of those things.

Enjoy your Lord; He’s actually a lot of fun to talk to.

Enjoy walking out your individual calling, in Him.  It takes faith; it’s a marvelous adventure.
10.  Do

With all your might.

Bob Goss has written a wonderful book called Love Does.  His simple message?

1. Love God.

2. Love People.

3. Do Stuff.
I couldn’t have said it better.

And, as you do, you’ll find God directing your steps.

And a little secret? The more you lay hold of faith, love and your dreams, that faster exciting things will come to you.  You will impact more people for the Kingdom than you ever thought possible.

Peace out.

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