In August, I wrote about the black hole of fear. The following offers a way into the light:
Several insights of wisdom are helping me to steer away from fear and internal anxiety. One is the fact that I don't need to fear if someone else feels threatened by me. I need to repent, of course, if I have sin that is threatening other people. But if I'm following God's call and someone decides to protest against me, I can keep perspective by resting in the fact that truth itself is threatening. Sadly, some people in the church feel threatened by the truth of who women are. We are women! We are human! We are made in the image of God! We are ezers (helpers; Gen 2:18) designed to co-rule the earth with men! It's predictable, then, that the truth of who we are is going to seem threatening to everyone who believes that it's "not a woman's place" to lead.
Another important insight that I like to hold onto is that womanhood is a gift from God. If any of us women ever feel ashamed of our femininity, that is, if we try to minimize our femininity by distancing ourselves from other women or by trying to legitimize ourselves by saying we're "more like men," then we have fallen into fear once again. It is not the way of wisdom to deny the truth of our womanhood.
Wisdom knows that shame is what compels us to downplay our womanhood. Conversely, pride does just the opposite - it calls us to exaggerate our womanhood. Both of these reactions are built on the deception that our femaleness is the basis of our identity. Our femaleness is important, but it certainly doesn't trump the more profound reality that our identity is hidden in Christ. There is no greater dignity than to live as a member of Christ's Body. If we listen to the voice of wisdom, we will not be anxious about our womanhood.
A final insight is that lately I've realized that for me to grow to the next level of leadership, I can no longer over-invest in over-preparing. While it's true that my hard work has helped get me to the place I am today, wisdom says it's better to be prepared than over-prepared. Over-preparation is time-consuming. Wisdom says it's better to learn just enough, so that I can take the next step forward. Wisdom says it's impossible ever to know enough to satisfy the demands of sinful fear. Wisdom says to relax and walk by faith.