Oh boy. I should beware of what reading will do to me. Once again I’ve been reading….and again been convicted. I came across an article tonight on “Intimidating Women” by Carolyn McCulley. I decided to read it because on a handful of occasions I’ve been told I’m intimidating, although, thankfully I don’t think that’s the primary characteristic I’m known for. That lead me to another article on encouraging biblical roles as a single woman also by Carolyn McCulley.
Lets just say that shortly into the first article I began taking notes. Here are some of the gold nuggets I collected from my reading*. I hope they spur you on to be more than what you are the way they challenged me:
“Women with powerful personalities tend to experience great tension because we know we are to be humble but deep in our hearts a war rages. Even though we would probably not admit it to many people, deep down we believe that compared to others, we often know more, understand more, and have the right way to do things. Such pride leads to conflicts and broken relationships. In the words of Susan Hunt, ‘Pride always divides, but the cross unites.’ God’s grace develops humility in us and enables us to show the world Jesus.”
“Women with strong personalities can be affirming to their leaders, causing them to delight in the joys of having someone who believes in them and supports them with great passion. When those times arise that women with strong personalities are called upon to submit to decisions with which they don’t agree, their same powerful personalities can cause terror in others. Leaders can fear angering strong women because they do not want to endure our wrath and disdain.
And there you have it – the last sentence sums up the intimidation factor. NO ONE wants to endure wrath and disdain from a proud, judgmental woman, so please don’t let worldly thinking confuse competence with arrogance. We see many competent women with strong faith in Scripture. Competence is not the problem, sin is.”
“One practical way to mortify pride is to cultivate gratitude for the contributions and gifts of others.”
“In the Proverbs 31 portrait, I found a well- rounded woman whose virtues could be applied to every season of life- a savvy businesswoman, a gracious hostess, a gourmet cook, a woman of wise words, a hard worker, a trusted wife, an encouraging mother.”
“So when one of her male friends would call and inquire what the group’s plan was for the weekend, she would sweetly inquire, ‘I don’t know. What are you planning?’ Then she would offer to assist him in anything he was willing to lead.” – regarding how a hospitable woman can avoid the long-term consequences of planning all of the group’s social events
“One of the best ways to serve men in any of our relationships- romantic, platonic, or professional- is to ask questions…real inquiries for information or requests to consider another idea….
– In learning how to assist your boss: ‘I have been asked by another manager to take on this certain task. Before accepting, do you prefer that I run these outside requests by you or not?’
– When you disagree with a male collegue in a meeting: ‘I can understand why you would be drawn to this conclusion. But what would you think if we tried X as a solution, instead?’
– When you have a potential correction for a friend: ‘I may have observed something that could provide a helpful perspective for you. Would you want to talk about it? If so, could I first ask a few more questions to make sure I have put this in the right context?'”
“We need to remember that there is a learning curve for leadership, just as there is one for ‘followership.’…There is a learning curve for leadership- and it requires grace and faith from young women as these young men grow…(A mother of 4 young men says) ‘They want to lead well, but they are scared because they feel the women want fully developed leadership when they’ve never done it before,’ this mother commented. ‘To grow in this area, it takes humility. A guy has to learn to laugh at himself.'”
Those of you who know me well are probably very grateful I read these articles! I can only think of the people I’ve hurt and situations I’ve made tense in my sin. I wish I could take those moments back. What’s more, I wish that I could ensure that such attitudes would cease to exist in my life from now on. What makes me sad is that I’m sure I’ll continue to fail in my pride and foolishness. I’m thankful tonight that we are all works in progress….and have a newfound understanding for men who are learning to lead. May we as young women be just as proactive in learning to help and follow. I can certainly see I have a long way to go!
*All of the above quotes are from Carolyn McCulley