There has been a flurry of discussions about femininity lately. Whether we realize it or not, we all deal with many cultural and social opinions on how we should behave as women. Growing up as a first generation immigrant in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was bombarded with conflicting expectations from all sides. East vs. West. Traditional vs. Modern. I felt like an “in-between” person in many ways, not quite belonging to any group. What does this mean for me as a woman? I felt confused and frustrated.
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A friend once called me a “free spirit.” Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time fitting under a specific label. In my twenties, after striking out on my own, I found myself wondering what is God’s grand plan for my life? How does all of my gifts and experiences play into this? What is so special about me being a woman in my church community and society? When I came across Genesis 1:27, suddenly, things all fell into place.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NASB)
The text here is very straight forward – God created man(mankind) in His image. He created people as male and female. In this verse, there are no hierarchy and no preference. This is a simple statement that men and women were both created in the image of God. Women are not an afterthought. In fact, God purposely created male and female as if only one cannot contain God’s image fully, but together, we presented the complete image.
Through this text, I was reminded of the original purpose of me being a woman – to display the image of God. He created all of me – including my personality, ethnicity, even emotions and intellect – for His divine purpose of reflecting part of Himself in this unique and quirky package.
That settled it. I was created in God’s image. As a woman, I was created to reflect God’s image in a unique way, just like my male counterparts. In reading this verse, I also saw God’s intent in creating both male and female to represent Himself. There are aspects of each gender that are unique and represent different sides of God. But no matter how different we are, men and women are equally significant in fulfilling this purpose.
Since then, I’ve focused on developing my gifts and talents. Regardless how much I’ve grown, I sense the Spirit of God challenging me to go even further. I stopped feeling guilty pursuing interests that are different than other women. I kept my course even when some men felt intimidated by me. In short, I stopped looking at other people, and just said yes to God.
This journey is between me and God. It is unhelpful to compare with others because we are different, each with our own journeys. God is committed to our development, and we are accountable for our response. As we seek for excellency in all areas, God will help us fulfill our purpose – to be a reflection of His image.