International Women’s Day is March 8 and this year it bears the theme Be Bold For Change. Leaders at every level are being asked to take bold action—cumulatively and as individuals—to accelerate women’s advancement on a global scale.
While musing on the concept of boldness a verse of scripture stood up and jostled my other thoughts for attention.
“The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.” (Proverbs 28:1 MSG)
I find it interesting that this verse suggests that boldness is not a personality trait, but a character trait—the product of a life lived with integrity. It’s that type of boldness forged in the secret places of the heart, and staged in the mundane situations of life.
That’s why this post isn’t so much about being bold for an external cause of choice, but the impact of an internal choice—a clear conscience and the confidence it evokes.
The work of the conscience is a tender mercy of the Master, keeping us from needless and self-wrought harm, and from the results of careless lifestyles. The conscience is that ‘gut gift’ from a good Father to help direct our course aright, but if we are His children, we above all have the Holy Spirit.
He is our Counsellor, and when that counsel pushes against the natural inclination of our wills and we have to make the hard choice, He is our Comforter.
As parents one of our chief responsibilities is to train up [the ear of our] child, [to hear the voice of] the way he should go, so that when he is old he [remains attentive] not to depart from it (Proverbs 22:6), emphasis mine).
One of the ways we do this is by living transparently before these little disciples, and turning our own wrestling matches with integrity into teachable moments. By this we invite them into the reality that the right thing to do is seldom the easy thing…but it is the best thing.
Why is this important? Because one of the biggest disservices we pay ourselves and our children is living a double standard. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what my actions and behaviours say about me to my three, and how they speak for me as a person.
It’s all well and good to look the part before people but who am I behind closed doors? What do I do when I think no one’s watching and what don’t I do when I know someone is watching? Am I teaching them it’s ok to do the wrong thing, once no one sees? Does it matter? Of course it does.
A lifestyle of integrity (or a lifestyle of worship) and a lifestyle of eye-service cannot exist together, for the one is contradictory to the other.
And a lifestyle indeed it is, for a one time occurrence quickly becomes an addiction where the deed is repeatedly followed by escape from consequence. Still, the risk is never justified. We sacrifice our very selves, and more.
Nothing goes unnoticed by God and often the setbacks we experience in life are His kindness, reminding us that we are not invincible, that our actions affect others, and that He is not duty-bound to protect us from our own folly—even though He so often does.
It’s often the ‘little things’ we will compromise with. I know you’re thinking about the biggies and checking off the list. Well I don’t steal money from my employer, I don’t drink and drive…but there’s a twinge of guilt you feel when you reach for your cell phone on a busy highway, or damage an item and stuff it back on the shelf. Is obeying that still small voice any less integral to a life of obedience?
There’s a beautiful honesty that children possess. Many will tell you exactly what they are thinking, often in tones too loud for propriety. It’s a brazenness fueled by innocence. In the same way, boldness is fueled by blamelessness. If you know your record is clear you’ll be much more inclined to be at peace with God and man.
That is not to say we won’t fall short sometimes, but if our will is towards integrity and not lacklustre in intent we will soon find that greater is He who is in us, than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
We must be careful also of the temptation of the heart toward self-righteousness, remembering that our righteousness is a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 24:5) and He shows up in our weakness with supernatural strength (2 Cor. 12:9).
Can we be bold to do the right thing even when it hurts or is inconvenient? What if the world truly stepped up to take bold action, but from the inside out? What if you and I did? It’s in the individual choice that you gain your individual voice. Let it be a roar.
Have you considered that you could be living a double standard life? Tao’s post shares such sobering realities of how we need to be, if we are to live honestly and by example especially as our children watch on. What are your thoughts? Go ahead get the conversation started by sharing your thoughts below.
Tao Howard Parent Blogger
Tao Howard is a little ‘crazy’ – by nature and by circumstance. The wife of one husband and mother of three boys with seemingly endless energy, she is 99% Bajan, 1% Trinidadian and a second generation purple lover and good food lover. Tao is passionate about good design, writing, and helping young people navigate, sustain and preserve their lives and relationships. Most of all she loves Jesus and worshiping Him in various expressions.
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