Are you worried that if you put your husband's needs above your own, you'll someday look up and realize you're a doormat? The United States exports ideas to other cultures, and our thoughts about women are sweeping the rising culture of India where 1.2 billion people live. During our Global Impact Conference last week, one of our partners from India shared with me about the trend among young Indian women who embrace the image of power, assertiveness, and independence. In a country dealing with poverty and human rights, a new generation of women wants to be sure they do not become the doormats of the future. Does God ever say He values the "doormat" quality of a woman?
For our Conference, we hosted a couple from Thailand last week, and since their diet is very different from ours, we try to help them feel at home. That meant noodles for breakfast. :) We love them so much. One morning my sweet friend prepared breakfast for her husband as he worked, concentrating on heavy correspondence he was receiving from home. His mind was clearly far away, though his wife quietly put all of the food in front of them at the table. He didn't stop. She waited. He thought. She waited. His brow furrowed. She waited.
I watched and thought ... "I would be eating by now. Maybe he likes cold noodles, BUT I DON'T!"
She waited. Finally, he closed his work, and the two of them bowed together and prayed before they ate ... together. I told myself it was cultural. I told myself she didn't have to wait for him. I told myself he could've paid attention to her while the noodles were hot. The Holy Spirit reminded me that I should, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3). Sometimes that means patiently waiting out of honor, even if your noodles get a little cold.
My beautiful friend is not a doormat; she is such a strong woman of God who practices and exhibits her great strength by choosing to yield her rights and lift up her husband. Her man is a bold and mighty leader of his tribe, and I know that her willingness to honor him has added to his effectiveness, reputation, and joy.
God tells women today that He considers a gentle and quiet spirit to be beautiful (1 Peter 3:3-5). He's not referring to our volume at all, but referring to a heart attitude that yields, a humble spirit that counts others as more important than ourselves. Sadly, women in the 1.2 billion people of India aren't getting that message from the United States; all women around the world need to know God's timeless message of beauty. They need to know that there is honor in yielding.
"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands" (1 Peter 3:5). Be relieved that God isn't painting a picture of a doormat. He is painting the picture of strong women with beautiful, humble hearts.
- When you have the chance to yield to or wait on your husband, what are you most likely to do?
- How do you think your husband would feel if you counted him as more significant than yourself?