Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in Gods sight for you.]
Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible, edited for inclusive language)
Born in the mid-nineteen-fifties, I grew up in a family, a school system, a community, a church and a larger culture that all taught me that by being female I am inherently less valuable, less important, less capable, and less worthy of God’s favor than any male. The message was sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle, but always consistent.
There was nothing I would ever become or do that could make me as important or valuable as my brother because he was male and I was female. By adolescence, I struggled with constant anxiety, clinical depression, and a full-blown eating disorder.
Thankfully, as a young adult I was introduced to some different ideas about women, including the idea that my Creator considers me equally valuable, loveable, and capable as any divine child…regardless of my gender. I was no greater than any other, but certainly no less.
Reading the gospels with new eyes, I saw for the first time that Jesus the Christ, in spite of being born and reared in a rigidly patriarchal culture, consistently treated women as equally valuable and worthy of being touched, of being healed, and of being instruments or channels of divine healing and peace for others. He did not conform to his culture. He transcended it.
Over time, these new ideas about my equality in the eyes of my Creator completely transformed me by the renewal of my mind. I came to believe that I am equally lovable, valuable, and precious — along with every other Child of God.
I also came to believe that the Creator’s good, acceptable, and perfect will for me (as well as for others) is an abundance of every good blessing; including peace, love, wisdom, purpose, and joyful service using my unique gifts and talents.
During my lifetime, we as a human family have made noteworthy progress toward the goal of equality for all people regardless of gender, race, culture, ethnicity, abilities, or sexual orientation. However, we can readily find countless situations where there is need for continuing healing and enlightenment.
I’m daily grateful for the renewal of my mind and for opportunities to be part of the solution to the problem of oppression of women and others. I pray to the Great Spirit Within Me to lead me to greater and greater wisdom, so that I may be one who touches and heals with transforming power in the name of all that is Holy.
In what ways are you being transformed by ideas that may be different from what you were taught as a child? Write to me at email@example.com. Anything you send me will be held in strictest confidence. I’ll be happy to hear from you.
Grace Terry, MSW, is a Grief Resolution Coach and the author of “Ten Simple Strategies for a Happier You” and “The Spiral Pathway of Grief,” both available on amazon.com.