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How a Strong-Willed Woman Can be Used by God (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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August 10, 2021 6:00 am

How a Strong-Willed Woman Can be Used by God (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 10, 2021 6:00 am

Cynthia Tobias encourages strong-willed women to make the most of their abilities by harnessing their will to God's plans and purposes for their lives. (Part 2 of 2)

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Hey, this is John Fuller and Focus on the Family is looking for talented writers and editors to help produce our audio programs and podcasts.

Go to focusonthefamily.com slash jobs to learn more about these and other job opportunities here at Focus. And I believe in strong willed women in the church, I believe that we have a place. But I believe we get it not by demanding it, but by demonstrating our ability to do it. With a sweet spirit, with a compassionate heart, with a totally sold out life to God. We have more encouragement for strong willed women on today's episode of Focus on the Family featuring Cynthia Tobias and your host is Focus President Jim Daly.

I'm John Fuller. This is really a powerful message from Cynthia Tobias, helping strong willed women see their strengths and perhaps some weaknesses in how to harness that strong will to God's greater purpose. And let me just point out that last time, Cynthia said that she is not promoting a Christian brand of feminism here. She appreciates the skills that men bring to the table as well. But it's also important for church and ministry leaders to embrace strong willed women and not expect them to fit into the stereotypical role of meek and mild personality types.

So here now is Cynthia Tobias speaking to a group of Christian teachers on today's episode of Focus on the Family. I'm willing to take risks. I am.

I'm willing to step out there. I share in the book, we were at a kind of a crisis point with the business a few years ago. And I just I couldn't decide whether, you know, if we stepped forward in one direction, it would cost a lot of money and it would be risky. We didn't know if it would work out and if we could play it safe. But we didn't, you know, but would not go anywhere.

And I was just kind of debating about what we should do. And I went to church Wednesday night and our pastor at the time, he shared this story. I mean, you know that nothing is a coincidence. And he said he shared the story when he was a young pastor in his 30s in Southern California. And it was a growing church.

And he said it was growing so fast that they desperately needed a new associate. So he said we met as a board and we all prayed together and we prayed through and we knew that God would bring us an assistant. We just prayed that the offerings would come in so we could pay the new assistant. He said that every single week from then on, we waited for the offerings to come in and they didn't.

No extra came in anywhere at all. He said after several weeks, he said, I was so discouraged, I went to my mentor and I said, Philippians says that my God shall supply all your need. He said, we have an overwhelming need. He said, we prayed about it. We feel that God wants us to hire an associate, but he has not provided the money to do so.

His mentor said, have you hired the associate? He said, no, we don't have the money. He said, you don't have a need.

He said, God's not in the business of hedging your bets, providing safety nets out there. If you believe it's what you're supposed to do, step out there. Then you've got a need and then he'll supply it.

We did and he did and over and over and over the last 10 to 15 years, it happens over and over and over again. When you step up, see God can't, he can't guide a car that's in park. You've got to put it in drive and you've got to move forward and if you move out there and you have a need, he'll supply it. Sometimes you need a good strong willed woman to remind you that because the compliant women are going, no, no, no, no. We'll just be brave for you. I'm very diverse in my interests and careers. I rarely talk to a strong willed woman who isn't working at least two jobs, volunteer here, they're doing like a million things. Because it's not that we can't hold down a job, although sometimes it looks like that.

It's just that we conquer, move on, conquer, move on. I know how to do this one. How about this one? I've never done that before. I've always wanted to do that. So let me just go see. I get training, do that. OK, good.

I can do that. Now, how about that one? How about that one?

How about that one? We wear other people out going, why don't you just stay in one place? Because I've been here.

There are so many other places I haven't been. We can give our young strong willed women a lot of grief because, you know, you're supposed to focus and you're supposed to settle down and you're supposed to know what you want to do. And I'm going, yeah, but I would never want to be stuck in a job where I had to be there.

Never. From the very beginning, I was determined to be as diverse as possible so that I would never have a job where I would look around one day and go, well, I'm kind of bored with it. But what else will I do? Uh-uh.

Uh-uh. There will be strong willed women that work at jobs they hate for a while. But it's only a stepping stone to get where they need to be or to conquer what they need to do. I don't know any strong willed women who live and work in 40 years in the same job they hate. Doesn't happen. Doesn't happen. But the downside is we don't have much patience for people who do and complain about it. Oh, you hate your job?

Fine. Get another one. How tough can it be? If you have to go flip burgers at McDonald's for a little while before you get your idea, just go do it. It's not that easy for a lot of people. And although it seems easy for us, it's hard for us to remember sometimes that that's not how everybody works. And we're so impatient with them and so disgusted with them for not just getting over it and getting a grip and moving on.

But you know what? When I deal with people who aren't as strong willed as me, I can be kind of cruel that way because that's not how everybody thinks. And some people need a little softer approach. Some people can't just move on like that. So I have to pace myself and I have to understand that not everybody thinks like me.

That's hard. I want you to think like me. But then if you did, I would resent you because then I couldn't be different. Do you really think God knew what he was doing, making us?

He did. And we can celebrate so much about our strong willed nature, especially after we've given it back to the one who gave it to us in the first place. Because he doesn't tame us and he doesn't neutralize us and he doesn't take it away.

He just gives it back in such a consecrated, holy form that it gives us the desire deep in our strong willed, stubborn, sometimes hearts. That with my whole heart, I want to serve God. I will do it relentlessly. I will do it constantly and I will do it forever. Even though I veer from the path sometimes, I will let him bring me back.

Because with all my heart, all my strong willed heart, that's what I want. And if I can instill that in my children, I know that I can guide that stubborn strong willed nature on the path for God and change the world. Who breaks down enemy strongholds better?

Nobody breaks them down better. Are you daunted by it? Are you discouraged by it?

Uh-uh. I've been through some terrible personal crisis in the last couple of years and there more than one time when I've gotten up in the morning and said, to the enemy, who do you think you're dealing with? Who in the world do you think you're dealing with?

You are so smug and you think, but you are wrong. You have no dominion. You have no power because the blood of Jesus Christ covers my life and you have no dominion. You need your strong will in times like that. You need it in times of crisis. I thought it was interesting when we did the crisis chapter, my focus group, we were talking about strong willed women in crisis. We had all these free flowing ideas and we all discovered that we were talking about other people's crisis. None of us even admitted to having our own.

Because in a way it would make us seem weak, wouldn't it? We were thinking, oh wow, but if something bad happened to me, it would seem like I was a victim. And you know, we're kind of hard on ourselves because we think, you know, I should have been able to prevent that. I should have seen that coming.

I should have known about that. You know, the song we sing sometimes in church about, you know, righteousness, righteousness is what he longs for, what I long for. I never sang the verse that said, brokenness, brokenness is what I long for. I would always think, you'd be crazy to ask for that. Why in the world would you ask for brokenness?

Because you get it anyway. And you know, brokenness for a strong willed woman, that's really tough. And it was hard for us, as we sat even in our focus group, to humble ourselves again before God and be able to say, I couldn't prevent some of the things that happened to me. I couldn't, it wasn't in my power to. It was out of my control. It is so hard to come face to face with something that you realize wasn't in your control. You couldn't control it. We like to have our life in control. I don't always have to control you, but I just don't want anything to take all control away from me. So it takes supernatural intervention by God to allow me to give my heart and my will to him and allow myself to accept the brokenness and learn from it. Because I hate feeling like I made a mistake. Don't you? It's just natural.

But God uses it and molds it and sanctifies it and brings it back and gives it back to you stronger, stronger than ever. Well, you know, the downside of being diverse in your careers is that you can be real flighty and never finish anything. And just because something becomes boring, you just abandon it. Now, if you're a godly strong willed woman, you don't let people down that way.

You just don't. But if you're not a godly strong willed woman, you don't think anything of it. You just shrug it off and just move on. Oh, well, didn't work out.

Big deal. But a godly strong willed woman will stick with it long enough not to let anybody down. We don't just do it, drop it and move on.

We conquer it, finish it, move on. But I'm not going to let you down because a deal is a deal. I'm very loyal and I'm very true until you betray me. But I won't let you down. I have a strong desire to do the right thing.

I think we're just born with it in some ways. I want to do the right thing. I'm going to champion the causes of the downtrodden.

I'm not going to let somebody make fun or bully somebody else. I mean, I just I want to do the right thing deep in my heart. I want to do the right thing, even if there's not a rule for it, not a law for it.

I still want to do the right thing. But when I don't use it in the right way, what can happen is I can flaunt the rules and authority. Because I have to tell you, I do resist rules.

If they're picky little rules and I don't know and they don't seem to work for me, they don't seem to make any sense. They pick, pick, pick at you. You're going, well, duh.

You didn't have to tell me that because I would have known that. The classic thing in the Focus broadcast, and I've gotten so much mail on it for the last 10 or 15 years. When my sister had her youngest was still in a stroller, we were at Sears Christmas shopping. Got to the escalator. I don't know where the elevator is.

It's never in a very convenient place. So I started to take the stroller onto the escalator and there's a sign right there. It says, no strollers on the escalator. My sister, the rule follower, she said, you can't take the stroller on the escalator. It says no strollers on the escalator. I said, what are the, are the stroller police going to come and arrest me?

I said, Sandy, you don't understand. This is for people who don't know how to safely put a stroller on an escalator. I said, I know how to safely put it on there.

It doesn't apply to me. Give me the stroller. You take the child out.

You hold them securely. You pull the empty stroller up. That's easy. My sister, she wouldn't even come upstairs. No, she wouldn't. She could not believe that somebody would so blatantly disregard a rule.

It's a guideline. A few months later, I was at Dallas Fort Worth Airport and I was coming down the escalator and I saw this man and his wife and a baby buggy coming up the up escalator. And I could tell even from a distance, I mean, she was reading him the right act of bringing the buggy on the escalator when you're not supposed to put it there. And as I passed them, I heard him say to her, nobody died. Did anybody die?

Nobody died. I just want to, I mean, I'm going to do the right thing, but you know, why, why do you always, I mean, it says out of order, but I just, maybe it is and maybe it isn't. I just want to try. They make these rules for a reason, you know. What? Well, just tell me the reason then.

Well, I don't know exactly, but I just want to figure it out. I mean, if there's no good reason for the rule, why are you, why are you laying it all on us? We have it, we innately and inherently want to do the right thing.

But, you know, I don't have to tell you what the dark side is to this. We can be, we can just make your life miserable by just flaunting the rules and especially in our younger years, in our adolescent years when we're kind of, you know, flaunting authority anyway. All your rules seem to be pick, pick, pick, pick, pick. So we just dump them all. We just dump them all. And that's not the right direction, but we do it really well. I'm willing to step up. Even if no one else is, I'm willing to step up.

I don't know exactly what to do, but I think that's a good idea. I went to South Africa this last fall with a group called Adopt-A-Cop. And it's, a couple of us are former police officers and a couple current police officers and then some support personnel. And we went down to work with the police departments in Cape Town, South Africa. Some of the, it's the worst crime in the world. And the police officers are the least equipped and least trained. We did some training and some exercises with them. And then we ministered to the police officers' families while we were there.

It was a really cool time. It's extremely dangerous. I just had no idea until we got there how truly dangerous it is. The police department, within the police department, they have the highest suicide rate, the highest homicide rate, the highest divorce rate in the world.

They have, their armed robberies are committed with AK-47s. Their gangs make ours look like social clubs. You know, really, in order to be in a gang in the Cape Town area in South Africa, you have to molest and kill a young girl. And it usually happens right at the school gates. You have to, in order to stay in the gang, you have to kill a cop.

Eighty percent of their children are molested, often by their own family members, before they ever reach the age of ten. It was unbelievable. The crime, the evil, just bare raw evil.

And of course, a couple of us wanted to do a ride along. I mean, it was the absolute most terrifying four hours, probably, of my life. As a cop here in the United States, you know, you live for the, you live for those moments. You know, the man with the gun, you want him to still be there. And the, you know, all the danger and stuff. But this was different. I mean, around every corner, every single second on the ride along, every single second we knew our life was in danger.

Every moment, there was not one moment of safety. And when I wrote about it later, my mother wrote back and she said, Why did you do that? You have two fourteen year old boys to raise. Why would you do that? Don't take those kinds of chances.

And I understand what she was meaning, but I was thinking, What if we all felt that way? What if no one was willing to take a chance? What if no one was willing to take a risk with their family, with, I mean, you obviously, I'm not going to risk my children.

I didn't bring them with me to South Africa. Because I knew it was dangerous. And I know that it was dangerous and that I could have been killed with what I did. I prayed about it and I know that God had our safety and I know that I rest in His hand. A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships were built for.

They weren't built for the harbor. Is that where you're going to stay? If you're a strong-willed woman here this afternoon, today I guarantee God has placed in your heart something to do, something important, something a little risky, and something that some of you haven't done yet.

Because you're a little hesitant. Step out. Step out. You have a need. He'll fulfill it.

Are you afraid to take a risk? Why? Is God not enough? Is He not enough? He is enough. Can I just tell you that?

He is enough. It's amazing. It's harder for me now to doubt Him than it is to trust Him. I'm old. I've been young and now I'm old.

I am old. But I have never, ever had God fail me once. Have you? Has He ever failed you? Has He ever failed to come through? Have you panicked at the last minute?

One of my favorite books, I think Stan Freeman wrote it, called God Has Never Failed Me Yet, but He Sure Has Scared Me to Death a Couple of Times. You get right to the edge and you go, whoa. I sure hope you're out there because, wow, we have come to the last moment. And He steps in and takes care of it every time. Step out.

Step up. He has something for you to do, something important, something for a few of you. That's the whole reason you came this weekend. That's the whole reason you came, is to sit in this place right now and let me just be a messenger. I mean, I stand in awe that I get to be a messenger of something this great.

It's not me. It's just God that speaks. And He has a message. And I think you know who you are.

And you know what His message is to you today? Step out. Do it. Step up.

Go. I'll keep you. I'll hold you.

You can trust me. You can change the world. Now, if I'm willing to step up, but I don't do it for God, I can be like a bull in a china shop. I can just move my way through and try anything and not care what anybody else thinks. But I do care what people think. I care what God thinks. It's not so much that my life is ruled by what other people think, because you know Ethel Barrett, she wrote that book where it said, we would worry a lot less about what other people think of us if we realized how seldom they do.

And my other favorite saying about how the moon would never get its job done if it paid attention to all the dogs that barked at it. But the one I care more about than anybody else is what God thinks of me. And how He judges my heart. Obedience, submission, all of that I believe in.

But not in the traditional way. We think about submission being, oh, well, that's just me, can do what anybody tells you to, uh-uh, uh-uh. Do you understand how much strength of will it takes to voluntarily submit to God? It takes everything in your whole strong-willed heart that you will ever hope to gather to force yourself to the foot of the cross and give it up on purpose. Obey, is that weakness, uh-uh. We're talking about stepping up. We're talking about when God nudges you, having the strength of will to step up and obey Him.

Do what He says. Do you know that's the most compelling, exciting life I can think of, living my strong will for God in obedience and finding out the unexpected joy there is in obeying Him. Do we fight against the biblical principles? No.

No, absolutely not. Because we are strong-willed women who trust in a God who doesn't oppress us. He lifts us up. But in turn, we lift Him up and draw all men unto Him, not us.

Break down enemy strongholds. Now let me read you this little part of Proverbs 31. This is the first time I love the message. It's got, it is designed for the strong-willed person, I think.

Because I just love it. And here's, let me just read you a little excerpt from Proverbs 31 in The Message. See if this sounds like you. A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. Because you know what? If you don't treat your husband generously and if you speak to him spitefully, you can't justify it.

Not if you want to bring honor and glory to God. She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. Oh, that would be shopping. I can so do that. She looks over a field and buys it.

Real estate acquisition, I could do that. Then with money she's put aside, plants a garden. She senses the worth of her work and is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

We're no time clock punchers. She's quick to assist anyone in need and reaches out to help the poor, strong sense of compassion. Her clothes are well made and elegant, Nordstrom. And she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household and keeps them all busy and productive.

I could do that too. Okay everybody, let's march. Her children respect and bless her. Her husband joins in with words of praise. Many women have done wonderful things but you've outclassed them all. Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear of God.

No one said it would be easy, but you know what? There is no greater calling for a strong woman than the call at the foot of the cross where God says give it to me. I'll take it and I'll give it back to you and you'll love what it looks like because you will be able to draw men unto me with a powerful, powerful will that shows the world you have surrendered it and want to use it for my glory. Would you bow your heads with me for just a moment? Lord, we have the power to hurt or the power to bless. I just ask again this afternoon for myself, would you just keep me constantly in the center of your will so that my power to hurt is overcome by my power to bless and that my strength of will as a strong-willed woman might be used to live my life completely and radically and sold out for you.

And I thank you for the women and the men in this room, the men who love them, the men who are trying to understand us, who want to keep us close. I just ask that each of us, you would give a special dispensation of your grace and a special awareness of how we serve you and let us, Lord, be sold out for you. For it is in your name we pray.

Amen. Well, that is a powerful prayer on today's episode of Focus on the Family from our guest, Cynthia Tobias. That was really good, Jon, and I so appreciate Cynthia's ability to celebrate the strengths of strong-willed women, but also to explain how that strong personality can run amok without a daily recommitment to the Lord and His purposes. And as I said last time, I think all of us with strong wills, male and female, need that reminder to stay in harness with our Creator.

If we run ahead of the Lord or fall too far behind, we can find ourselves operating outside of His will for our lives. And our main purpose here at Focus on the Family is to encourage you in your walk with God. Of course, we give marriage and parenting advice, but a relationship with Jesus Christ is paramount. That's the most important thing that we can do.

And over the past year, almost two million people say that Focus on the Family has helped them grow closer to the Lord, and we praise God for that. So let me remind you to take advantage of the resources we have to offer. A great way to do that is by downloading our app. You'll be able to access this broadcast, plus our marriage and parenting podcasts, with two new episodes each week. The app also provides access to Adventures in Odyssey for kids of all ages, our Boundless podcast for young adults, and our weekly plugged-in show that focuses on media discernment. It really is a pretty amazing library of content, and there are also devotionals and great articles as well.

Look for the link to the app in the show notes. And if you can, donate to this ministry to support these great efforts. The best way to do that is with a monthly pledge to sustain us month to month. And when you make a pledge of any amount, we'll send you the book by Cynthia Tobias.

It's called A Woman of Strength and Purpose. And if you can't commit to a monthly pledge right now, we get it. We can also send you the book for a one-time gift of any amount. Just give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, or follow the link in the episode notes to donate to the work of Focus on the Family and request your copy of the book. When you visit our website, look for the Focus app, as Jim mentioned, so you can take our helpful programming with you while you're on the go. It's much more than just this broadcast.

But check it out and let us know what you think. Well, next time on this broadcast, you'll hear from Jonathan McKee. He'll have insights about your child's digital world and how to help them navigate all that.

If we could start talking about who God is and their identity in Christ and have those conversations with them regularly, they're gonna be able to come to these, you know, when they're at TikTok going, I don't have enough followers, they're gonna have that foundation of the word of God. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast. If you would, please take a moment and give us a rating and share about this episode with a friend. Well, I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Hi, this is Jim Daly with Focus on the Family. I wanna let you know about an online experience called See Life 2021. In this six episode video series, we're sharing stories and encouragement that will inspire and empower you to live out your pro-life views. You'll also discover valuable resources to help you step up and get involved in the cause. This is a digital experience you and your family won't wanna miss. All the details are at focusonthefamily.com slash see life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 14:23:33 / 2023-09-16 14:35:18 / 12

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