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FIRST-PERSON: Biblical womanhood & the military

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (BP) — I have always been the bearer of Type-A personality. As a military member, such a personality pays dividends. “Type-A’ers” recognize problems and thrust themselves into developing solutions. Due to possessing the gift of leadership and having a knack for planning and executing tasks, the military was an ideal fit for me.

God opened doors for me to receive a military scholarship to college, affording me the opportunity to meet my future husband. However, somewhere around the five-year mark of my career, I realized it is more conventional, more “normal,” when Type-A attributes are possessed and demonstrated by men.

I lamented that I was (supposedly) not taken seriously. I was angry that I was not a “bro” — a term used half-endearingly, half-sarcastically in the military. As a “green,” young officer, I could not bear this inequality, either blatant or implied. I earned my scholarship just like anyone else, I reasoned. I completed the physical requirements admirably. Why was I being treated so unfairly? Why didn’t I fit in?

Regardless of whether these alleged injustices were real or creations of my own mind, I wondered how I could ever be expected to lead a group of male airmen if my independent, goal-oriented personality traits were not taken seriously.

I figured I might as well buck up and be as tough as possible. I had to prove to my coworkers that I could handle any situation just like my male counterparts. I thought I had to think like a man, talk like a man. Ironically, as much as I tried to fit in with the men, I began to ascribe to the neo-feminist mindset often touted in popular culture: Man is the enemy. This mindset was destructive and created in me a sort of victim mentality. It is almost embarrassingly cliché that I maintained this type of bombastic personal philosophy.

I was absolutely miserable. As much as I tried, the unnatural mantle I donned while in uniform was choking the life out of me. I hated “being one of the boys.” My wakeup call occurred in the midst of a recent deployment, where spending much needed time alone in the Word renewed and refreshed my soul. I dug deeper into the biblical basis for my femininity. I studied and meditated — I mean really meditated — on the stories of women in the Bible: Esther, Ruth, Sarah, and especially Eve, in whom I saw a great deal of myself. I had long since scoffed at Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-23 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. In my haughtiness and arrogance, I believed such passages were a given. I chose to focus on what I deemed to be “deeper theological concepts” rather than the “elementary doctrines” of biblical womanhood.

When the Holy Spirit softened my heart, it occurred to me: I am a woman, and the divine design within my biology dictates a great number of my physical weaknesses — and strengths. In trying to figure out how to exist as a female in the military, I had forgotten how God called me to exist as a female, period. I had forgotten that the God of the universe uniquely equipped me to use my gifts for His glory, specifically, a sense of the needs of others and an uncanny understanding that the fighting on the outside is a symptom of things on the inside. No, these are not always traits unique to women. However, my sensitivity and emotionally adept nature make it easy for me to be in tune with such traits.

As females enter the civilian work force and the military alike, we must remember it is a foolish notion that women must take on the traits of men in order to be successful and “make rank.”

A thorough examination of what we deem to be success should be conducted. Unfortunately, many measure success materialistically. In the military, this might mean attaining high rank. God does not define human success that way. A successful endeavor to God is one that ultimately gives glory to Him.

Adhering to biblical womanhood might seem impossible for women called to a profession outside of the home. But if God has genuinely called them to one of these fields, He will equip them to accomplish His purposes in accordance with His Word, not in spite of it.

Neglecting biblical womanhood is not an option for me; it is a blatant slight at my Creator.

    About the Author

  • Shea Hicks

    Shea Hicks serves in the U.S. Air Force and is a master of divinity student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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