I remember the first time I spoke publicly. I almost passed out. Seriously. I had to grab the podium to keep from falling over. That moment was one of the most difficult moments of my life. Thankfully, I have become more comfortable.
I feel similarly about this blog post. As a man, thinking about all the stereotypes and stigmas attached to us (most of them fully warranted), laying out a unique design and purpose for women comes with hesitancy. So, understand this post has been prayed over and is written with careful thought.
With that disclaimer behind us, let’s travel back to Genesis 2.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”Genesis 2:20-23
God finishes creation. Adam prepares to take on his responsibility as cultivator and overseer. But God notices something missing. For the first time, God is not happy with something (Gen. 2:18). He is unhappy Adam doesn’t have a companion.
So, God creates Eve. From these verses, we see the ultimate design for women: helper.
The unique role God gives to women is HELPER.
Strong husbands, submissive wives, is painted as this kind of archaic, broken, “How dare we think about women in that way?” I’m telling you the Bible says where this is lived out accurately the world has nothing to say.Matt ChandlerNow, it is important to discuss what God intends with this unique design. We are so conditioned and influenced by culture, it is difficult to look at a word like “helper” and think anything positive. So, let’s start here. When God tasks women to be helpers, he is not giving them an insubordinate or less important role. In fact, the Bible refers to God as a helper several different times (Ex. 18:4; Deut. 33:7; Psalm 33:20). I won’t bore you with Hebrew. Just know the Hebrew words are the same.
Yes, this word means “to come alongside” someone with primary responsibility. But it is not an inferior role. In America, we believe if we don’t have authority we don’t have power or influence. This is simply not true. God is the ultimate of this. To be a helper doesn’t mean you don’t have influence or power, women. Far from it.
So, what are some responsibilities that flow from this unique design?
1.) The responsibility to help men flourish and grow.
Those who believe women don’t have power have never allowed women into their life. The women in my life (especially my wife) have an enormous amount of power over my heart. My wife can say one word and crush me. She knows me so well. She knows my weaknesses and failures. Women have power to build up or destroy with their words and actions.
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.Proverbs 21:19God creates women to help men flourish. When women use words to tear down or degrade men, creation suffers. Creation suffers because men can’t live out their unique design when women use words to tear down.
So, this is my challenge to women: use your words, actions, and thoughts to help the men around you flourish. Wives, build up your husbands. Always be for them. Even if they aren’t for you.
Single women, build up the men around you. Encourage them. Don’t be someone who always highlights flaws. At times, men fail in their responsibility as men. But this isn’t a license to tell the world why men suck at life. Your power here can’t be overstated.
With power comes accountability. Steward the power you have well.
2.) The responsibility to work and use your gifts.
Much of this responsibility falls on men. At the same time, God expects women to grow and use the gifts he gives them. It is unhealthy to spend every day at the barber shop talking about the latest relationship or town gossip. It is not God’s design for women to sit around the house and watch Days Of Our Lives and All My Children.
God gives men the responsibility to work. But this doesn’t mean women are void of it. If a man brings home a fat check, the wife is not excused from working. She needs to cultivate and steward the time she has for God’s glory.
This is true for single ladies as well. If you are single, get plugged into a church and serve. The church desperately needs the creativity and vision of women. Single ladies have a great opportunity to serve God. Take advantage of it.
3.) The responsibility to resist comparison.
Comparison is a problem that cripples God’s creation. A recent study showed that women actually “check out” other women more than men. When we compare our lives, children, bodies, etc. to other people, we lose sight of God. People become competition instead of image-bearers. People become our source of affirmation instead of God.
This is why living into God’s unique design for women (and men) means resisting comparison. Creation flourishes when women rest in God. So, resist the urge to “one-up” the women at the club or the moms in your playtime circle.
4.) The responsibility to take the weight of the world off your shoulders and place it on God.
I call this the Wonderwoman syndrome. Women want to be great moms, wives, friends, co-workers, and everything in between. One article said Americans, mostly women, spent almost $11 billion on plastic surgery in 2012. According to another article, over 10 million women struggle with an eating disorder. Why? The weight of perfectionism. It’s crippling. It’s unrealistic.
And this fight for perfectionism isn’t inherently bad. But it is heavily stained by sin. Let me give you an example.
For a good portion of my life, I followed the god of Frank. I lived for myself. I traveled down dead-end roads. Most people gave up on me.
But one person never gave up on me…my mom. Even in my darkest days, she continued to pray for me. I am convinced God eventually said, “Alright, Lisa, I see that you won’t stop praying for him until I draw him back to me. Here you go.” Maybe God doesn’t work that way, but don’t ruin my illustration.
That’s when my wife, Tiffani, entered the picture. Three months after meeting Tiffani, I was baptized and haven’t looked back since.
This type of thing is the norm for many women. They don’t give up on people easily. They see the potential in others, especially those close to them. Most dudes give people two chances. Mess up more than twice, men cut ties. This is the beauty of how God wires women. This is the positive side of perfectionism. This is the godly layer.
But women also tend to place the weight of the world on their shoulders. This is the ungodly, sin-stained layer of perfectionism. Yes, parents are accountable for the spiritual direction of their children. Yes, women should strive to be good co-workers. Yes, women should aim to be the best person they can be.
But ladies, you can’t make decisions for your children, husband or friends. You can’t save them. You will let people down. You will mess up. Sometimes you are exhausted and overwhelmed by life. It’s okay to be there. It’s okay to tells others and ask for prayer.
Take the weight of perfectionism off your shoulders. It creates disappointment and discontentment that hover over your life like a never ending storm cloud.
Pray for your children. Live a righteous, holy life. Be present as a mom, co-worker, wife, daughter, and student. But don’t expect perfection. That is God’s job.
This list is by no means comprehensive. It is a foundation.
So, as we prepare to cross the finish line, let me again say in no way is the role of men superior to women. Even in Christian circles, women have been oppressed for years. They have not been freed to use their gifts for the glory of God. And men, we will be held accountable for our prideful decisions and actions.
I hope this look at God’s design for men and women will open up discussions about the roles of both men and women in the home, church, and culture.
We must press in to the grace of God and the power of the gospel. We are all broken. No one will live out God’s design perfectly. But we must try. The flourishing of God’s creation depends on it. The revealing of God’s glory to the world depends on it.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!