Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Women Want

“You know what women really want? They just want the man to make the decision. They don’t want to have to decide where to eat when they are hungry,” said a friend of mine a few weeks ago. She is a self-proclaimed feminist who doesn’t really feel like she needs a man or the Gospel—but I think she is on to something. Now, before you think this is a post about the necessity for men to make decisions, think again. The fact that a Generation Y feminist would make such a pronounced statement about her own relational desires says something profound about how women think and who God made them to be.

We have an innate desire to be led and provided for—even the self-proclaimed feminists. As Christian women we have a unique and wonderful opportunity to be an encouragement to the men in our lives to be the kind of men God made us to desire, and the kind of men that he made them to be. As I thought more about her statement two particular applications came to mind.

1. We can encourage the men in our lives that do this.
2. We can be patient with the ones that don’t always do this.

So, how do you encourage the men in your life? If you are single, it can mean thanking a Christian brother for planning group activities or leading a church Bible study. It can also mean thanking your dad or brother when he pursues a friendship with you. And if you are in a relationship with a Christian brother, you can encourage him as he works at leading you. I have heard that encouragement can be the fuel to continue leading well. Married women have the opportunity to encourage regularly as they live with their husbands. When your husband leads family worship, thank him for his heart to serve. And it doesn’t hurt to periodically let him know how thankful to God you are for him.

One of the biggest things to understand is that the men in our lives will fail us, sometimes terribly. Whether it is a father, a brother, a friend, a pastor, or a husband, at some point we will be very disappointed, and even heartbroken by their lack of Christ-likeness. But the reality is they will have that same disappointment towards us at some point as well. We are all works in progress. We will never do it right all of the time. This is why we need Christ. We need a daily, strong dose of the Gospel to enable us to live how God has called us to. Patience is not my specialty. Often my lack of patience is stemming from unmet, unrealistic expectations. If a brother in Christ isn’t leading well in asking a girl out, perhaps patience would be the remedy for his lack of action. If a husband doesn’t understand that we want him to make a decision in that exact moment, perhaps communicating what we want in a humble and kind manner would help him.

In all of these things it is important to never condone unrepentant, continual sin. But it is important to extend grace to our brothers, as we would like them to extend grace to us. My pastor said last week that all we get from Jesus is grace. He doesn’t give us the silent treatment. He doesn’t see us as lost causes when we sin. He doesn’t lash out in a hateful tone when we don’t do what he commands. He convicts us of sin and provides a way for us to sin no more.

Male/female relationships are hard. If they were easy, we wouldn’t need to daily cry out to the Lord. My friend was right, women want a decision. We were made to follow a man. But more importantly, we were made to follow the God Man—Jesus. He is our ultimate head and leader. And he is our hope when all else fails us. Instead of banking all our hope on a fallen man, let us put all our hope in Christ. It will change our attitudes towards the sinners we are in relationships with, and it will conform us more into his image.

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