I've heard many husbands say they experienced feelings of attraction when they met their feisty wives, like being drawn by the beauty and danger of climbing Mount Everest — the climb is filled with breathless anticipation and excitement, but woe to the man who attempts that climb unprepared!
Why is fierceness in women appealing to men? I think they like a challenge. They admire the strength, courage, loyalty and determination of a fierce woman. They like spunk and passion. Fierce women don't grovel for their attention and aren't desperate for a man to meet their deepest needs. Men admire a woman who doesn't depend solely on them for their identity or happiness.
The truly beautifully fierce woman has an otherworldly strength derived from a source beyond herself. She's plunged in fully to the forgiveness and love of Christ, and He holds her heart so completely that she's reached true contentment. Her identity is forged through abiding in Him, and her courage is displayed by her commitment to Him and His cause. He is her driving motivation and propels her by the wind of His Spirit. She is no halfhearted creature but is drinking deeply of Him and experiencing infinite joy.
She is a warrior at heart — not violent or aggressive — but tempered by humility. She's a soft warrior; fleshing out the beauty of fierceness in her daily life. Loving God and others with sacrificial devotion. This is the kind of fierceness I'm talking about when I say I love to see a fierce woman in action. I strive for this ideal. Check her out in the characteristics below.
Characteristics of a beautifully fierce woman:
- Her identity and value are rooted in her relationship with Christ rather than a relationship with a man.
- She's filled with gratitude for God's good gifts. Her heart is ruled by the peace of contentment.
- She's passionate about things that matter rather than living for the trivial.
- She's willing to battle for a worthy cause rather than shrinking in defeat.
- She protects and defends the helpless rather than using her strength to bully others. She is known as a sincere encourager.
- She's honest but kind.
- She walks in confidence and humility that flow from her recognition of Christ's work of grace in her life.
- She has the power to influence and inspire because she lives under the Spirit's control.
God wants us to use these characteristics to fulfill His calling on our lives. I love seeing how the fierce women of Scripture did this. Esther courageously stood ready to perish as she fought for the lives of her people. Deborah led the armies of Israel to victory in spite of fearful Barak. Priscilla, along with her husband, Aquila, once literally "risked her neck" to save Paul's life (see Romans 16:4); she was bold, courageous and a diligent student of the Word.
I hope you're not under the mistaken impression that God created women as some kind of second-class citizens of the kingdom. He loves strong women. We're His idea.
Before the Fall, before the curse, God created a fierce woman. She was formed as a worthy complement to Adam — the first man. Eve was created to rule with him. God placed His divine imprint on her life. She had His likeness and bore His image. Every woman since is inferior to this mother of all living.
I wish we had more exposure to this pre-Fall Eve. We barely meet her before she runs into trouble, but we know she must have been a specimen beyond compare. God entrusted Adam and Eve with His new creation. He gave this first couple the divine mandate to take dominion over His young earth. Together they would fill the earth and subdue it. They held dominion over every living thing.
She was prepared to stand as his counterpart with courage and resolve. Placing her hand with his in a unity of purpose, held by an indissoluble bond, they ruled over creation together and functioned as one. Her fierce strength was like iron sharpening iron and her role in his life was powerful.
In Genesis 2, women are given the unique responsibility to use this power by serving as man's "helper." When I first learned that women were given the "helper" assignment, I thought, Oh, great. We aren't good enough to actually be doing something really important—we just get to “help out.” Even that word — helper — on paper always looked lame to me.
I felt much better when I found out that the Hebrew word that is translated into our English word "helper" is not a wimpy word. It is the word ezer, meaning to aid or provide needed help. In fact, it is the same word used in reference to God as a "help" to His people in several passages (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7,29). That's when I realized that being my husband's "helper" was not an insignificant assignment.
God didn't create women to fill a "no big deal" role. Men and women are created with equal worth and value, given equal access to God, and both live with the purpose of glorifying Him. Neither role is inferior or superior. Each comes with its own challenges, and to serve well in her role, a woman must be fierce. Not destructively fierce but beautifully fierce.
Kimberly Wagner is a public speaker and the author of Fierce Women.
For more from Kimberly Wagner on women and marriage, read A Wife's Most Important Message.