Ladies, Four Things You're Doing To Devalue Your Worth
With the Lean In movement, and now the Ban Bossy campaign, started by Sheryl Sandberg, women and our roles in society are taking center stage in conversations around the world. As daughters of the one true King, however, we live with a different definition of what it means to be a virtuous woman.
Although, as women, we were created to be helpers and nurturers - wives and mothers - there is also more to our strength and purpose here on earth.
The Proverbs 31 woman has become almost like a spokesperson for Godly ladies. And at times (let's be honest) it's kind of intimidating - this woman, whose worth is far more than rubies, is a mother, wife, business woman, and philanthropist.
So, how does this almost-mythical woman do it all?
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness...she does not eat the bread of idleness. -Proverbs 31:25-27
You know what I read between these lines? Strength, confidence, fearlessness, purpose and selflessness - traits that most young women struggle with today.
Every day, we battle insecurity, fears, and the pressures of society's expectations and self-discovery. And these inner battles seep into our everyday lives - it's in the skimpy clothes we're tempted to wear to get attention, laughing a little too loud, or speaking softly with hesitant eye contact in a class presentation.
It's these little things we do, often subconsciously, that devalue our worth, telling the world about our insecurities.
The thing is, I'm sure the Proverbs 31 woman had her share of issues, but there is no way she could have the strength or time to get everything done if she let those insecurities take up space in her mind and life.
We are called to be strong women of God - bold, confident, and fearless. All of our strength and worth are found in Him, so let's make sure our countenance reflects that.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. -Proverbs 31:30
Four ways to make sure your actions reflect your worth:
Tone of voice.
The way you speak says a lot about you, your personality and intentions. For example, shouting usually means excitement or anger, while a softer tone indicates hesitation or even meekness. Take the time to research the implications of how you're speaking - to your friends, strangers or during a speaking engagement. Do you speak fast or slow? Use a lot of "Umm" and "like" in your conversations?
For example, when speaking to superiors, women often end sentences with a high note, as if asking a question or leaving the thought open to interpretation. Instead you should use a flat, confident tone. If you're telling someone about Jesus and you sound like you're unsure about everything you say, would a skeptic unbeliever even seriously listen to you?
You have something to say - to add to the conversation. Your opinions, experiences and beliefs are worth sharing.
So how can you improve your speaking? Watch powerful women speak - youtube videos of political speeches, TED talks, news anchors or even female leaders in your local church. Note their tone, pace, pitch and other ways they use their voice to capture the audience's attention or emphasize their message.
This one is tough, so I'll let this TED Talk explain:
Absolutely and stop the explanations!
As you start your career, there should be two things you should always keep in mind: absolutely and explanations! As women, when we're assigned projects or asked to do something, we're often tempted to doubt our abilities or potential.
Some day, you'll be assigned a big project - whether it's at work or in your ministry, and I hope that you'll say, "Absolutely!" even if everything inside you screams you're not (insert fear or insecurity) to do it. Because YOU CAN DO IT! You are smart, creative, and resourceful enough to take on the challenges given to you.
Secondly, women tend to over-explain everything. When someone mentioned this in a panel discussion, I began to observe my own antics.....I do this all the time. Missing class? I'll write a long email to my professor explaining exactly why I'm missing class - where I'll be and with whom, when a simple "I have a job interview" suffices.
So, if you find yourself explaining all your actions to your friends, bosses or others in your life, check yourself, because you don't always need to explain everything to everyone.
Not asking for what you want.
With insecurities often come feelings of inadequacy - that feeling like you don't deserve a dream you have. Who am I to be a published author? To lead a project at school, church or work? To travel the world? Fall in love and be loved?
God has an extraordinary plan for you, but He won't force it on you. You have to be the first to step into your destiny and embrace it. So, if you've always wanted to start a blog - do it. If you've wanted to always major in English Literature, then change your major. If you want to write a book or move to France... then do it. Don't mind the nay-sayers or the insecurities threatening to overwhelm you and your dreams.
Pray for God to open the right opportunities for you, and then step out on faith to pursue the dreams He has engraved in your heart.
The Proverbs 31 woman is clothed in strength and honor. She fears the Lord and rejoices in time to come. And because of these characteristics, she is fearless, confident, and successful in all that she does.