I wanted to take my time to discuss the title “independent woman”. Honestly, as much as women have progressed it their rights to do what they are created to do outside of sexist norms, women still face an ugly catch-22 scenario when it comes to relationships.
On one side, a “strong, independent woman” is accomplished all on her own but oftentimes doesn’t meet enough qualified men to match her ambitions. She’s often ridiculed for being unmarried and though she may have the desire to marry, but she doesn’t want to settle or work to “birth a man” as we have seen discussed in recent weeks.
A part of that plays on that is that more men are being coddled by their mothers and not mentored by men of standard to be a provider for their home and future family. Many of these men either viciously compete with the women they should partner with or settle into complacency and allow their partner to lead the relationship or marriage.
There’s another angle to this side which is that women who are perceived as “too independent” push men away with their attitude. This was brought up by reality TV personality Marcus Black that sparked a big debate on social media recently.
The gender roles as we’ve grown up knowing have seemed to shift in a way that doesn’t meet many women’s needs.
On the other side we have the narrative that suggests women “have to do it all” because no one can do it like a woman. Because we are so strong and can take on so much…because no one was there to help us before. It gets to the point that we exhaust ourselves trying to cover what we could have allowed other people to do.
To prevent being vulnerable this type of independent woman takes on more roles than she should for the sake of showing up for herself, but it actually has potential to leave her vulnerable to attacks (physically, spiritually, mentally, etc.) because she will grow weary doing it all in her own strength. This narrative is taught to us too and more of us are recognizing it as problematic. Both scenarios seem to leave women at some kind of disadvantage, but we see and know people like this in our everyday lives.
The problem with the title “independent woman” is that it’s defined by the world. Independence by definition is “to be self governing, self ruling, individualistic.” That, by definition, does not apply to followers of Jesus Christ who is our ruling authority. Independence in the world’s standard means that you’re doing things for yourself, by yourself and your way for often times an impure reason if we were to look at the core motives. We tip toe on a thin line between what seems right and what is really idolatry.
If we practice in the natural being independent, how do we practice being dependent on God?
I don’t think it’s wrong to have achieved being able to be responsible for yourself and being a good steward with what God has given you (your life, your job, your home, your body). In American culture specifically, the problem is we take this concept and pervert it to fit some societal shift that deviates from God’s will. For instance, using the title “independent woman” to spite men and as a mask to cover our perceived rejection. Or using the title as a weapon to demonize women who have standards and don’t want to settle for a codependent relationship, which often turn toxic.
So being an “independent woman” can negatively impact your mindset and behaviors if you don’t learn how to balance when to operate in your personal responsibilities/assignments and when to be open to receiving help and leadership (authority). Both of those aspects are needed in a godly marriage, so what is the solution for a woman who is ambitious and doesn’t want to settle for less than she deserves? A woman who can handle her own by the Lord’s grace and wants to be married to a suitable man of God?
We should work towards being interdependent. Interdependent relationships involve people who are mutually dependent on others. “An interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability, being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. They also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are or their values system.” (Source) This is the most realistic way to function in our everyday life, for we rely on people in some form every day. Interdependence involves mutual respect for each other and care for each other, as we were instructed in 1 Peter 3.
If you’re independent independent, that means you’re doing all of this by yourself, and that’s a one way ticket to stressful living. That’s not your portion, sis. There are going to be people in your life that God will provide to help you along the way and vice versa.
Overall, we should be women who are dependent on God before anything else. He will carry us when we are on our own and will provide help when we need it. We also have to be able to receive. As the Lord’s daughters, we have that right. Don’t let anyone shame you for your accomplishments, and don’t hold yourself back from receiving help and the treatment that you deserve as God’s child.
“The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear of God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon [adorn] her life with praise!” –Proverbs 31:30b-31 MSG
What are your thoughts on the title independent woman? Share in the comments below!
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