Ladies, You’re Not Called to be Timid! Nurturing a Spirit of Power, Love and Self-Discipline.

This is a repost from 2012. Enjoy!

We were raised to be timid, most of us. In the tiny white churches speckling the countryside, we were taught to be cautious, to be courteous, to be kind and good and avoid even the appearance of evil. Being a good Christian looked like wearing clean, pressed clothes to Sunday School, like going to grandma’s for baked chicken after services, like doing well in school so the community would respect your family, and like never, ever mouthing off to an adult.

To be a Christian was to be respectable. But Jesus wasn’t exactly respectable. At least, he didn’t fit his cultures definition of the word. He wouldn’t fit ours, either.

No, Jesus was courageous. And he got into a lot of trouble for it. He’d get into a lot of trouble nowadays, too.

I’ve been pondering courage lately, and what that looks like in the Christian life. My friend James preached a great sermon on Jesus’ courage last week (he’s been preaching a lot on courage lately). Now, I am not a naturally courageous person. I’m not a shrinking violet, but neither do I thrive on challenge and controversy, the way some people do. The sermon made me realize how much of my reticence, how much of my holding back, stems from a deep-seated subconscious belief that I am not *supposed* to be brave. That I am supposed to be good, and cautious, and respectable. That my life should be a beige, mother-of-the-groom dress, never a warrior’s shining mail.

All my life I have been waiting for permission. Permission to shuck the respectable, if beautiful, skirt entangling my legs. Permission to bring my full strength to the battle. Permission to scream out the war cry bottled up inside me, to charge into the fray shoulder to shoulder with my brothers, permission to get bloodied in the fight.

I’m tired of sitting primly on the sidelines. And I don’t think that’s just a “girl thing” either–I think my brothers are tired of sitting on the sidelines too, armor rusting, ceremonial swords dangling useless at their sides.

It’s time to get off the bench. It’s time to get dirty, to play for keeps, to pour our sweat and blood and tears into this earth we’ve been given, this Kingdom that’s coming. It’s time to stop worrying about how we’re going to get the stains out of our Sunday best if we dive into the battle and come out worse for the wear. God’s got a big ol’ spraybottle of Shout up in the heavenly laundry room.

What if, instead of encouraging one another to be good, responsible citizens Christians, we encouraged one another to be bold, daring followers of Jesus? And not just any Jesus–certainly not the American, white-picket-fence Jesus–but the brave, gritty, gentle, sinewy, loving, sarcastic, courageous and counter-cultural Jesus described on the pages of the Gospels?

What if we gave each other permission?

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 2:6-7

9 Responses to Ladies, You’re Not Called to be Timid! Nurturing a Spirit of Power, Love and Self-Discipline.

  1. Tim January 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    When I think of bold people in the Bible, Rahab is usually one of the first I come up with (“I’ll hide the spies and tell the soldiers they’ve left.”) Jael is a close second (Hey general, come in here, enjoy my feminine ways, then sleep. Now where’d I put that tent stake?”)


    P.S. I’d say it’s not so much a matter of ladies being called to boldness, but men and women (sorry, can’t bring myself to use the label “ladies” – ), as well as girls and boys in God’s kingdom.

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong January 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      Agreed, we’re all called to boldness. And Rahab especially always impresses me. That was one gutsy lady. Maybe that’s where her progeny King David got it from.

      I do get your point in the post, but still, I don’t mind the term “ladies,” especially when intentionally addressing intergenerational groups of females. It’s less clunky than “females” or “women and girls.” FWIW, I don’t mind “gentlemen” either, and despite its archaic origins “ladies and gentlemen” is a fairly standard form of public address. But maybe that’s just my old ballet classes speaking. How is the teacher supposed to yell at a group of 15-30 year old women if she can’t shout “ladies!”? 😉

  2. Jessi January 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Ah!!!! Yes, yes, yes…and thank you. It’s a tough mold to break out of, and even when we do, so easy to shrink back into…at least for myself. It’s hearing the battle cry sounded over and over again by the brave women around me that keeps beckoning me to get back in the game and not settle for who I’m told to be, instead of who I know I am!! *deep cleansing breath*

  3. Bev Murrill January 9, 2014 at 2:52 am #

    Jenny, I love the way you push the boundaries. I finally feel as though I’ve met a group of kindred spirits and I’m so excited about the way forward for the Church of Jesus Christ as women, men and children get up and go forward. Jesus never came to build a respectable, sensible, conservative and politically correct group of followers… NO! He would walk away from that! He loves to get down and dirty where the action is, where people lay their lives, their reputations and their comfort on the line in order for Him to not be ashamed to be called their God.

    Love it! I’m excited about the future with Christians standing up on the inside like this. Thanks.

  4. Laurna Tallman February 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    This is an incredibly powerful message. I heard a similar one from a pastor years ago who set aside his notes to say he had changed his mind and wanted instead to talk about risk. Too many people, he said, are wading in the shallows. Jesus is calling them to walk out into the deep water and trust Him. I didn’t really understand what he meant, but my spirit responded to the challenge. I signed up. Nothing changed. But when challenges came up, I made bolder decisions. I was on a voyage without realizing the ship had been leaving port as I had stepped out. We sailed “through many dangers, toils, and fears” for forty years before the purpose of the voyage was revealed. Looking back, I could see that every detail of the trip had been carefully planned. Looking forward? I’m still in deep water, but I know why we are sailing if not where. He will get us there. It’s what He does.

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