Identity: The Definition of a Woman
In the past two weeks, I tried to answer the questions why God created a woman, and with what traits He originally designed women with. By studying the creation of the very first woman in the world, Scripture shows God made Eve because He saw the world was not complete without women, and that He originally made our kind to be both sensitive and strong.
Although I admit that writing this series is a bit difficult without falling into stereotypes every once in a while, partly because of our inherent biological properties, and also because of poor social constructs we’ve had to endure through the years.
The other thing is that left and right, too many sources tell us much about how they think one should be a woman. On one side we ought to be feminine, prim and proper, mysterious. On the other, we must be empowered, free, independent and able to make her own choices. Well, these are the most obvious prescriptions, while there are also implicit messages coursed through popular media like women’s magazines and shows. There, we are told skinny is beautiful, expensive fashion makes for style, a high-ranking career earns respect, and a vibrant sex life with a hot guy is a sign that you are a desirable woman.
If I look at this list, I’d have to say it’s hard to be a woman. And honestly, I won’t be able to keep up. I’d sooner run out of will power, money, beauty and reasons to stay in a steamy yet rather meaningless relationship.
Now because of these ideas, I have found myself to rethink that which I used to find as unfounded conservatism. These old folks — moms, grandmas, big sisters, and even overprotective dads and brothers, who thought my skirt too short, my boyfriend too forward, my nights too late, suddenly seem better than these sources who told me how to be a woman, after all.
Now I am not saying that these conservative family members offer the best advice or definition, but that, at least for me, I know they come from a real place of concern and love. Which reminds me of this verse, 1 Corinthians 4:15, “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers…” Print and television joined by online networks, only exponentially multiply these guides who define womanhood for us. These “authorities” have become countless, indeed. And with all I’ve gone through, I have found that while some can give some wisdom, many of them do not. Above all, they strike me as impersonal. Surely nowhere as intimate as our fathers or mothers could be. Is it not that our parents, most of the time, know what’s really going on inside of us even when we don’t say it? The truth is that these other sources are nothing like my the people I’ve had to live with daily, people who had to endure me through good and bad times and vice versa. These sources are distant, disengaged, and don’t really know who I am and where I am coming from, that it would be quite illogical to let them define who and how I should be as a woman.
But even our parents or family are faulty, I know. This is why we ultimately have to turn to Someone who was so personal about the origins of a woman since the beginning of time. In fact, when He was creating the first of our kind, God did so without asking for anybody’s help or hand. No, not even Adam. Adam, who was tasked to name each and every single thing in the garden and eventually found that no one could be of suitable help to him. God did not ask him how to make the woman — if she should have put lips, curvy hips, a tough personality, shapely legs. Instead, God put him to deep sleep and let that be an intimate moment between The Creator and His Magnificent Creation in the Making, that of the First Woman.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
Woman, if God himself didn’t need to ask anyone about how to make you, not man and neither the world, then you shouldn’t be asking man and world to be defining you, as well. In fact, no one and nothing should be able to define us but God and God alone. He who came up with the idea of a woman, authored and executed His grand design to life, knows exactly why our hair falls this way today, or why our eyes are more this color than the other, and why sometimes our hips are too big to too small to handle.
Moreover, not only does God know to define us as women, but as unique individuals. Remember that He was also the same knitter to actually hem you together in your mother’s womb? So He’s definitely got a pretty solid definition of who you are, which will always bear more truth than sources who will tell you this and tell you that, but will never offer to stay by your side through thick or thin, and at times when it gets really, really rough.
Our Creator is a personal God, and He made us so intimately all by Himself. I pray the next time you have a question about your being, as a woman, and as an individual, you’d go directly to Him who needed nobody else to define you from head to foot, from your outer skin right to the very core of your heart.
- Meditate on Genesis 2:21. Why would God put Adam to sleep as He was making the first woman of the world?
- What have you believed to be the definition of a woman so far? Where does that definition come from? How do you find that view of womanhood now, after reading our devotional for today?
- Based on the account of Eve’s creation, we’ve seen God has made us out of the needs of man and the world, and He surely endowed us with strength. He also created us with unique traits. Try to search the Bible for at least three different women characters and try to study their purpose, strength, and how they are expressed in their different personalities!