This chapter states "this book was written in hopes that it might help you become content with the role God has given you as a female" and the idea of knowing your role exactly and being prepared is an appealing one. I worry often that I am not living up to God's expectations of me or that I am not learning and developing my character as I should. The book points out that a lot of character is down to training and that correct training will lead you to be a happy woman of God. Being a good Christian isn't something that just happens. It takes time and effort to develop skills and knowledge. It is too easy for me to be lazy and to think that I am doing well enough. But whose standards am I judging myself by? Not God's for certain! I fall far short of His standards. Personal growth and living a life that pleases God isn't a one off, it is a consistent, daily effort.
This chapter forced me to face up to who I admire and why. I get caught up in worldly influences on how I should act, think and look. In recent years I have focussed too much on my outer appearance and have rather neglected my inner self. Outward beauty is fleeting and those celebrities who seem to have perfect lives have struggles and bad days the same as everyone else. I worry too much about what people think of me but don't give nearly enough thought to what God thinks of me! As this chapter says "beauty is much more than how we look. True beauty is found in what we do" and what a reassuring thought that is.
It seems as though there are bad influences all around. Not just major ones that are easy to spot but also subtle, insidious things like a song with dubious lyrics that must be OK because everyone is listening to it or the new film that all your friends are going to see which has swearing or violence. It is hard to step back from these things. Especially when people don't see any harm in them at all. It is easy to explain not smoking as it is obviously unhealthy but negative influences do damage too. I am only human and standing out scares me! It sometimes feels as though I am missing out and for a long time I worried that it would mean that I had less in common with friends and colleagues but really that film they all went to see is only talked about for around 10 minutes.
I need God's strength to back me up and I need to ask for help from Him each and every day. Too often I try to go it alone without thinking that prayer and conversation with God brings me closer to Him and trying to rely on my own understanding and ideas puts a barrier between us.
The chapter ends with "The world may say one thing, but the Word will say another" which is something to remember!