A couple of weeks ago I wrapped up my first month of following my new Bible reading plan as well as my first devotional book. What a wonderful experience. It was such a refreshing of my spirit as I delved deeper in to God's Word. The book I read was also an immense blessing to my soul. I wanted to share a few things that I learned from reading the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you want to read my book review click here. But these are just a few thoughts that stuck out to me as I made my way through it's pages and I thought it might be a blessing to you.
1. I am created in the image of God, to be a reflection of Him as a woman. This was a powerful thought to me. I have heard many sermons on the subject of man, in general, being made in the image of God but never one addressing the topic that both male and female bear the image of God in a specific way. God created man and woman but they each have traits that are unique to them, each represent different characteristics of God and together they give the world a glimpse of the whole image of God.
2. Women are seeking an answer to an important question, "Am I lovely?". This is a bulk of the book and they deal with it in many facets that I don't have time to relate but I just wanted to share something that struck me as true in my own life and maybe it will help someone else.
Women who are wounded, given the wrong answer to their question (usually early on in their life) such as "No, you are not lovely", "No, you are not worth something", they react differently to these wounds but some build a wall as a defense. I have struggled with this because of my past. When my father left my mom and I it left me with a wound. Because of this I, without realizing it, built a wall in order to protect myself pulling back and hiding my true self. The Eldredge's put it this way, "Far too many women forfeit their femininity in order to feel safe and in control" (Eldredge 52). The point is, many women become controlling of their situation, of their life, they are not soft and kind but firm and strong... reflecting more of a man's quality instead of woman.
I want to be a woman who is not a control freak, that doesn't have to do everything herself in order to feel that all will be okay. So many times this is what I did and it left me frustrated and tired. I want to be a woman at rest who is trusting in God and leaning upon His strength. A woman who remembers that He will always be there for me, be the shield in my life, my defender from the darts of the enemy. I can let go of my life and stop trying to do it all because He promises to take care of me if I simply trust Him completely.
3. God has answered my question. When He looks at me He says, "Yes, you are lovely". I don't have to spend my life trying to be good enough, He has already told me that I am enough because of Him. He is ready and able to take me where I am and form me into what He created me to be. He wants to heal my wounds, "this is the offer of our Saviour - to heal our broken hearts" (Eldredge 104). "A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she's loved" (Eldredge 112) and God tells me He loves me with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). I am loved by God and nothing can take that away!
4. "Women are uniquely gifted to help others in their lives become more of who they truly are - to encourage, nurture and mother them toward their true selves. In doing this, women partner with Christ in the vital mission of bringing forth life" (Eldredge 177). I am called to help others, to be a friend to someone who is hurting by sitting and crying with them, to show compassion to someone who is struggling by putting my arm around them to let them know that I care, to meet someone's need through a gift. When I do this I am fulfilling my calling to bear the image of God to the world, a reflection of what He desires to offer them.
5.God calls me to do now not when I feel I am ready. "We don't get to wait to offer our lives until we have our act together...God asks us to be vulnerable" (Eldredge 213). God does not call me to be perfect and then do His will, He calls me in an imperfect state and trust Him to shave off what is not necessary as I obey His call. God uses the broken, people like Rahab, Moses and even Paul. I don't have to be perfect to do what God has called me to do, just surrendered and open(vulnerable) to follow Him completely.
These are some things that God laid on my heart as I read this book over the month of January. I am called to bear God's image to a dark, lonely and harsh world. He does not need me to be perfect, He does not need me to have all of my "ducks in a row", He simply asks me to let go and let Him.
That was one of the hardest things to grasp for me, that I don't need to always have everything in control, in fact it only makes me frazzled and worn down. He wants me to simply trust Him, remember that He loves me with an everlasting love and that in Him I am complete. No matter what the world's standard of beauty is, when God looks at me He says, "You are beautiful because you were made in my image now go and reflect it to the world".
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
Love Jane Austen? Looking for a unique gift for those special people in your life? Visit Return to Innocence Era and take a step back in time when the simple things were still valued.