Men are usually held in high esteem for their strong will. “What a leader!” people say. “He’s bold and lives with conviction.”
But a woman with a strong will is often characterized quite differently. “She’s bossy, controlling, and too self-assured.” It’s as if a woman can only be virtuous if she’s quiet and meek.
I think women and men are identical in this sense – God doesn’t want to rid us of our personalities, He wants to direct it and use it for His purposes.
If men and women will submit their strong wills to the Lord, He can channel that strength into transforming their marriages, influencing their children in the right direction, and seeing God’s kingdom advanced in whatever other ways the Lord chooses to use them.
That’s as true for women as it is for men.
But there can be some unique hurdles for a strong-willed Christian woman, like her relationship with her husband and with God.
When conversations about biblical marriage and strong-willed women come up in Christian circles, the role of submission can be an elephant in the room. But it doesn’t have to be.
I don’t believe that the husband (or the wife) should think of themselves as “the boss” of the relationship. The Bible does speak of the husband as the spiritual leader of the household. But when it comes to building a marriage, raising children into healthy adults, and the endless details of running a household, a husband and wife must work in tandem.
God has designed each of them with complementary strengths, which means God intended for husbands to rely on their wives in areas where they are strong just as He intended wives to rely on their husbands.
So women can and should embrace the strength God has given to them. But our guest on our radio program yesterday, Cynthia Tobias, a self-described strong-willed woman, says that doesn’t give them license to misapply the force of their personalities. “That’s just how I am” is no excuse.
Cynthia says if women with a strong nature want to honor God with their personalities, they need to bring it to the foot of the Cross. Subjecting yourself to God is about coming to the point where your self-sufficiency is turned over to Him until He becomes your sufficiency. Only then can the Lord fully direct your strength toward His purposes in ways that honor Him.
There’s a lot more that could be said about the biblical view of strong-willed women, and we discussed it at length with Cynthia. She’ll help women understand how to allow themselves to embrace their strong personality yet harness it with God’s direction.
You can find our program, “Directing Your Strong Will to Improve Your Relationships,” on your local radio station, online, or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.
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