A friend emailed me this unattributed chart the other day. I posted it on Facebook, and it struck a chord with many there so I thought it might likewise hit home among you, my dear readers.
I'm also glad I know that moving from Super Woman to Abiding Woman is a process. It's part of what Jesus does with women in the lifelong journey toward our sanctification (i.e., the change in us toward greater and greater Christ-likeness) - not an immediate transformation the moment a woman puts her faith in Him. We don't need to strive to be "perfectly abiding" in this life, and Jesus doesn't scowl at us when we revert to Super Woman mode. Yes, He's sad when that happens - because He knows it hurts us (and others). In fact, He weeps for us. But, as with the prodigal son's father, He welcomes us with open arms the moment we say, "Oh, Lord, let me abide again!" No recriminations. No condemnation. And then He sets us back on the path.
In fact, it's imperative for us to understand that He actually directs the process. We do our part by keeping ourselves open to His Spirit operating within our souls - by reading His Word regularly (preferably daily) with genuine interest and by praying (which includes both speaking and listening for His still small voice). But the actual work - of gradually shaping us into women who automatically abide more and more - is His. So we can relax in a sense, assured that our small acts of faithfulness and obedience are all we need to unleash His transforming power within us. Yes, He loves each of us that much.
I know this to be true because the Bible tells me it will happen...and I've seen it - in myself (despite myself!) over the years and in many friends who've walked with the Lord a long time. He promises to complete the good works He started in us the day we received Him as Savior...and He keeps His Word.
So don't be discouraged if you see from this list that you're striving more than abiding today. If Christ is your Savior, just ask Him to redirect you in the specific area of need you see right now. And then do your part by delving into the Bible - consider starting with the verse references in the chart - and spending some time with Him each day in prayer, even if you only say, "I don't know what to say, Lord," and then sit quietly. Then watch and trust, and you will witness the abiding process begin within you once again.
As for its completion...well, don't bother fretting that you aren't further along than you think you should be or that you're not as far along as someone else. It's not about comparing yourself to another woman, because the Lord has each of us on a custom-made, individualized path. And, if you've been doing your part, you're just where He needs you to be in the process today, and you can rest in that. After all, He tells us that we won't be perfected in abiding until we see Him face-to-face. But we can rest assured that we will be perfect at that moment - and then remain so for eternity.