“I’m not interested in being perfect when I’m older. I’m interested in having a narrative. That’s really the most beautiful thing about women.” Jodie Foster
Professional women empower women. Such stories provide vision, motivation, and creativity in various seasons of life. An abundance of healthy female leaders thrive at home and in the marketplace in business, education, nonprofits, creative arts, and the rising professions in technology.
For example, Stephanie, our niece, is a catalyst of significant and gentle support with women involved in modern-day slavery, an evil bondage of commercial sexual exploitation. Stephanie’s conviction and influence with women in challenging and complex situations provide an opportunity for her spiritual gifts of mercy and wise counsel to offer strength, direction, and hope for a better life. As a young mom, she encouraged colleagues and friends to open their homes to sell jewelry created by rescued women as they pursue a sustaining career and healthy lifestyle. Stephanie beautifully illustrates Mary D. Poole’s quote, “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.”
So, how do such stories and examples fit into ambition? Ambition is described as an eager or strong desire to achieve or succeed. Yet, as a biblical believer following Christ, we are called to look out not only for our own interests but also for the interests of others. We all wrestle with the temptation of allegiance to self-seeking ends. Selfishness in principle holds a desire for self in reputation, prestige, or wealth by usury. In our fallen humanity, the natural bent is to go our own way outside the counsel of God, giving weight to a rugged individualism, narcissistic entitlement, and a “just do it” mentality for a successful life. This is a strong but old spell of worldliness from the Garden of Eden.
However, ambition can be positive as we work out our faith. Although we rely on God’s strength and direction, faith without works is dead. It does take a certain level of ambition to proactively do what God calls us to do. It’s simply good to acknowledge where we wrestle with desire, especially if it becomes the distorted ambition to gain the world and lose our soul.
How do we make sure that ambition is good and pure?
Check your motive. Are you seeking love, value, acceptance, and approval from the results of your ambition? Your life, ministry, and career should pour out of your identity in Christ. By grace, your aim should be to walk worthy of the kingdom of God in your calling, practice of spiritual gifts, and career.
Women are ambitious communicators entrusted with God-given spiritual gifts and competent skills in the workforce at home, in local communities, and within ministry endeavors. With distinctive stories and callings, women influence as writers, mommy bloggers, in financial giving, with mercy, by practicing hospitality, and by teaching gifts to lead and fulfill the Great Commission. The depth of beauty and fulfillment in our ambitious callings are endless in skills, talents, and education; however, it’s foolish to pursue fruitfulness at the cost of faithfulness.
Rely on your biblical community. First, by staying anchored to the Bible. Within biblical community, we learn to care, to listen, and to serve one another according to the Word of God. We know Scripture is vital and active, trustworthy, sufficient, and able to anchor a soul in the promises of God. We glorify God in the limitless study of his Word and accept it’s powerful effect in and through us, to empower steps of faith, to mature us in our spiritual gifts, and to discern open doors of endless needs. Faithfulness leads to a sense of fulfillment and fruitfulness as we grow up into Christ.
Second, as women, we know first hand how the gift of encouragement or mercy can influence our souls with a genuine smile, hug, or word of praise—so valued when we encounter circumstances that hold a season of trials or suffering in our own families, friends, and neighbors. The needs are weighty, and so God uses others to give us the grace to be bold in our prayers and humble to fan into flame the gift of God entrusted to us. Offer your gift freely, knowing he will multiply beyond all that we ask or imagine. When we love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we cannot help but to impact others for the gospel of Christ.
Be confident that women can offer much. Phoebe is not only cited but also commended by Paul in the book of Romans. Paul considers Phoebe a sister in Christ and an honorable female, using her astute business acumen and estate to serve the church. She was faithful and fruitful in hospitality, charity, and a willing servant in welcoming strangers into biblical community. Her life speaks a generosity and balance of work and ministry, worthy of respect. Phoebe looked not only to her own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul engaged many to assist Phoebe in her humble and influential work of ministry. Her humility and encouragement in Christ, the comfort from his love, and her participation in the Spirit, offers the affection and sympathy Paul urges from Philippians 2. This encourages us all to the joy being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord, and of one mind.
Throughout the years, I’m thankful for the many rich memories serving side by side with other women in community to influence, comfort, and to be ambassadors with the love of God made more visible. May God in his mercy help us for such a time as this, to be women of pure heart, sincere faith, and of a clear conscience as we hope for impact within our local communities, and globally for his glory.