I was talking with some Christian women last evening about a new idea for a book that I believe the Lord has given me. After many months of prayer and struggle, I have completed the first one. Now, I believe the Lord is asking me to take up my quill and begin again. The discussion was about being a woman who has a career, and is a Christian. When I was in corporate America the competition was strong and the hours were long. Finding that balance between God in my job and wife and mother at home was difficult, not to mention still trying to find time to be a Christian. I was expected to be one person at work and then felt like I had to be another person at home. There always seemed a struggle within me in regards to being in upper management and still maintaining my Christian nature, sometimes I didn’t know exactly who I was supposed to be.
I grew up with a strong and independent mother, who also raised me to be that way. But when I became a Christian, there seemed to be this ideal that I was supposed to now become demure, a quiet woman who never spoke unless spoken to. A woman who always kept her head bowed and her opinions to herself. I was to be a woman who took care of her home, her children, and her husband quietly without any thought to a career of my own. However, being quiet and demure is as far from me as the Great Wall of China is from my front door. I am not a quiet sort of person. I speak freely and openly, and I have a leadership personality. I always have. After being in upper management for so many years, being in leadership just comes naturally to me. Through my school years, my teachers and guidance counselors always pushed me into some sort of leadership role. Some of us are just born leaders.
The questions that I believe a lot of women are faced with today are the same ones that I too found myself struggling with as a Christian career woman. How do we be Christian women and still be who we are- strong and independent leaders? Is there a way to be successful in the world and not compromise who we are in Christ? Is it wrong for a woman to be strong and independent? These were all questions that I struggled with. My job required me to be strong, to be a leader but my family required me to be someone else.
The idea for my book is to look at the lives of the women that God used. He did use women as well as men to accomplish the work He wanted done. The first woman that comes to mind is Deborah. She was a judge over Israel, which means that the people of her nation would come to her and ask for her help, her advice, her guidance, they sought her out to lead them in the way that they should go. She was also a prophetess, which means that she loved the Lord her God and He chose her to lead His people.
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” Judges 4:4
It also tells us that Deborah was a wife. Although the bible doesn’t mention her husband’s name anywhere else, it does tell us that she was married. She too had to juggle the duties of a career and wife just as we do. “Having no aristocratic lineage, she is identified simply as “the wife of Lapidoth”. Yet Deborah was the only woman in Scripture elevated to high political power by the common consent of her peers.” (Thomas-Nelson Women’s Study Bible, NKJV) Here was a woman that loved the Lord her God yet was still strong and independent. What was her secret? She was submissive to God first.
“And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. “ Judges 4:5a
Deborah would sit before the Lord God; she would give Him her attention first. She, much like Mary was mindful that only one thing was needed (Luke 10:42), and she put Him first. She sat in His presence; she brought herself under the power of God Almighty and submitted to Him first. It was then that the Lord used her to judge His people. Being a career woman and a Christian does not mean we have to sacrifice one to be successful at the other. It only means that we give our independent and strong nature to lead over to God first.
We must bring ourselves to God and allow Him to lead us as we lead others. Being a Christian Career woman is difficult, I know. There are times when you are called to compromise by your employer and God says don’t. But, like Deborah, we must trust in the Lord, in every area of our lives. Having a career and being a Christian does not mean we compromise who we are, it means we bring who we are under the Headship and Authority of our God and allow Him to lead us first.
Deborah was not the only strong woman God used, there were many other women whom God raised up to be leaders among His people. We have the examples of Esther, Anna, Ruth, Rahab, and so on, not to mention the Proverbs 31 woman. Today, in the society we live in, more and more women are finding themselves in corporate careers, leading large companies, handling national problems, and still finding themselves as mothers and wives. God does not tell us that we have to sacrifice the one to have the other. All He is asking is for us to bring who we are as women, as wives, as mothers, as independent career women under His rule and His authority. Deborah sat in His presence first before she donned the robes of leadership.
There is much for us to learn as Christian Career women, and there is nothing wrong with being a career woman. Not every woman is called to have a house full of children, and be homemakers. Some of us are called to be in the world leading for Christ. A strong and independent Christian woman is not someone we must change; she is someone who God desires to use in a magnificent way, under His rule and under His authority. If you are a Christian career woman, please know that does not mean you have to sacrifice your livelihood and become this little quiet mousy sort of person. It just means that you believe in the Authority of God over your life and have brought your will under the power of His. Be all the woman God has called you to be, and let Him lead you in the way that you should go. You are woman, and you can still roar!