Over the past few weeks, there's been a particularly feminine focus here at the Pearl (sorry Charlie). These recent messages are in direct response to the stories of women who've recently participated in our local workshops and other community events. If you, too, share some of these struggles, be inspired. You're not alone.
There was this thing I was supposed to do years ago. I lost sleep over it, tossing and turning. You know those God-prompts that only come when He finally pins you beneath the covers, a captive audience? I argued. I diverted. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself or invite judgment with this writing-about-hard-things stuff. Counseling behind closed doors was plenty for me!
Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.
Moses and I would have gotten along just fine. My mostly-introverted self could be content wandering the desert, "watering flocks." I know many of you wish that you could disappear amidst the sand dunes every once in a while too. I hear you loud and clear when you say that you want to get away, but there's just one problem...
It's the word, "meek." The catch is that the actual definition is dissimilar to the way that so many of us use it in everyday language.
Here's the loose "Christian" usage:
Sweet. Quiet. Amiable. Afraid. Spiritual. Turn the other cheek. Easy-going. Submissive. Can-do attitude. Won't complain. Shy. Humble. Feminine.
"The meek shall inherit the earth," anybody? That's a popular one. I remember almost ten years ago when I was spread thin with responsibility; over-serving in the church, engaged to be married, and finishing up my graduate coursework, I was asked to lead worship on my "off" week. Of course, I stuttered around, looking for a way out, but finally obliged.
I had very few healthy boundaries in place back then, and of course, nice Christian girls should always say yes to "God" things! The icing on the cake was the well-meaning gentlemen who then affirmed to me, "Meg, you have such a sweet, quiet spirit." Those are dangerous affirmations when they pull the eager-to-please woman into places God has not called her.
Biblical "meekness" doesn't equate to an unhealthy lack of boundaries!
In the book of Numbers, Moses was described as humble or lowly. Here are a couple more definitions from the Vine's Expository Dictionary:
Meekness, adjective ("praus" in Hebrew): Gentle, of a soothing disposition.
Meekness, noun (prautes): ...it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him...
The meaning of prautes is not readily expressed in English, for meekness (and) mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does no such thing...
Prautes describes a condition of the mind and heart. (paraphrased for length)
Or more simply put, preacher and writer, Lisa Bevere, had this to say about meekness in a recent interview:
"A lot of times meekness is used to control women, like, you need to be meek, and I'm like thank you, you're right. Meekness means controlled strength. It means to be teachable. It means power under virtue.
So I've got power, but I have it under the control of virtue and two of the best examples of meekness in the Bible were Moses and Jesus. You know, they were both meek, but we also see that they were passionate and strong, they had conviction, they were on fire - that zeal for God's house had consumed them...meekness is not weakness...
And so, when we tell women in the church they need to be meek, they just need to have the same thing that men need to have, which is their strength under the control of virtue."
Be assured, women of intention and care, God would rather you hear His voice, than to walk a million miles on the road of "nice Christian lady." By these definitions of meek, I pray that you'll understand that it's OK for you to follow His lead when boundaries are necessary; when you're led to say to someone:
You can't have access to my heart and mind anymore.
My skin is not yours to touch.
My time and service is needed elsewhere.
My health needs to be a priority over other responsibilities right now.
I have to release this relationship...
Here's to strength under control, sisters!
Could you use a better understanding of what meek looks like in your life? Click the button below to see what others are saying on this week's pinned post.
With you and for you,
*The Conversations with John and Lisa Bevere Podcast
*Photo credit: Annie Spratt
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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