When I picture the character of Father God, I am drawn to His artistry— the way light, like hope, breaks through the darkness long before we see the full glory of a sun rising above the horizon, or how His fidelity made manifest in the tender way the seasons faithfully bring both rest and fruitfulness year after year. In thinking of the wonder of God’s creation, I tend to forget the masterpieces He has created in every single one of us. In her book, One Woman Can Change the World, Ronne Rock celebrates numerous women and their unique and beautiful design – reminding us that we are created on purpose for a purpose. It’s a grace to welcome Ronne to the farm’s front porch today…
“I pray that no one ever looks at my life and says, ‘That girl—you know, she always played it safe.’”
I wrote those words after returning from a season of travel in which I spent time with yet more women who turned my faith even further on its head with their boldly quiet and bravely effectual love for Jesus.
I don’t want to be a safe girl.
I have a feeling you’re like me in that way. You want to be unafraid to be you too.
I want you to be you. I want you to be able to reclaim all of God’s beautifully crafted physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual DNA.
I want you to look in the mirror and saying with quiet confidence, “I am a woman, and all that I am is wonderful.”
But chances are there have been moments when you’ve thought, Well, if I lived in a foreign land, I’d be able to make a difference too.
Or If I was younger (or older), married (or single), funnier or smarter or wealthier, more creative, less encumbered, more like them and less like me . . .
Every single woman I have encountered has battled the same thing.
The real enemy of us is us.
It’s the way we view ourselves in light of the way we view others. It’s the way we rank ideals of beauty, talent, giftedness, purpose—and always place ourselves slightly lower than others.
If we are our worst enemy, then I believe comparison is our most destructive weapon.
Comparison rarely moves us to contentment. Rather, it pushes us toward competition or condemnation—or a fierce ping-pong match of both.
I’ve only traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, in the winter, when the skies struggle to wake up before ten and are already darkening by early afternoon.
Canal ways fill with ice floes, and radiators in even the nicest hotels war with the damp cold outside. The city streets wind and connect like rivers, with every major thoroughfare leading back to statues of Peter the Great.
Peter was hungry to make his namesake city famous. He traveled throughout Europe in the late 1600s, taking note of style and nuance.
He wanted his city to be known as the window to Europe, the Venice of the north. He was so entranced with the idea of creating something more magnificent than all the magnificent somethings in other countries that he forgot to focus on the unique qualities of his own homeland.
St. Petersburg was built on thirty-two islands. More than three hundred bridges connect pieces of the city. Originally, Peter had visions of using all that water to mimic the canals of his Italian neighbor. His watery paradise would be bigger and better.
And so it was. Until winter came. In a city that’s as far north as Alaska, streets made of water don’t fare well in the bitter cold. Prior to that first winter, watery canals they were. But those canals froze.
When spring came, waterways were filled with cobblestone and concrete. Peter’s dream became a symbol of what happens when we forget the beauty of our own identities.
Peter allowed comparison to fuel fierce competition and reckless risk. I, on the other hand, have at times abandoned risk by allowing comparison to feed my own condemnation.
But risk that celebrates our unique identities is powerful and life changing.
Culture may find its joy in capturing our attention with comparison and fueling competition and condemnation in the process.
Our childhood dreams may be seen as foolish, our present-day circumstances may not be ideal, but our lives are purposeful.
And the most important thing we can embrace about our God-designed influence and impact is our God-created identities.
Ronne Rock weaves themes of transformative hope and grace-filled leadership into everything she shares on page and stage. She’s an award-winning marketing executive who travels around the world to gather words and images that inspire others to action with Orphan Outreach, a global nonprofit dedicated to serving the orphaned and vulnerable. Ronne offers battle-tested wisdom about leadership, advocacy marketing, and finding God in the most beautiful and painful of circumstances.
One Woman Can Change the World is an honest look at what it means to be a woman of influence in a world that often doesn’t make leadership easy. It’s about leading with grace in cultures that aren’t always graceful. It’s about reclaiming all our God-given physical and spiritual DNA and allowing it to do its work in and through each of us.
As you discover the lives of real women who are influencing their communities with grace and gumption–even in countries where oppression weighs most heavily–you’ll feel inspired to reclaim your God-designed influence and impact right where you are.
[ Our humble thanks to Baker for their partnership in today’s devotions ]