Leaving the Tough Girl Behind

I always have a song playing in my head, and more often than not, it is also coming out of my mouth. If you spent time around me, eventually you would catch me singing country songs. Some of my favorites are by the artist Miranda Lambert, and I often find myself singing “Gunpowder & Lead” as I go about daily tasks at home. I love the title line of the chorus that says, “I’m gonna show him what a little girl’s made of / Gunpowder and lead.” To some extent, my Daddy raised his girls to be ‘made of gunpowder and lead.’ And I confess that I love the sassy, self-assured attitude of many of Miranda Lambert’s songs, including this one. It goes well with wearing my cowboy boots and driving my six-speed. I feel like it suits me, as a woman who knows how to handle both guns and power tools.

Whatever I listen to, I also sing. What I sing along to, tends to stick in my head. Over the past few years, I have slowly been cutting secular music from my day-to-day life. I made a conscious decision to do this after realizing that I arrived at work in a better mood when I spent the drive praising God. Much of the secular music I listen to is focused on romance and relationships. Not having any romantic relationship, those kinds of songs make me feel sad and empty. They put my mind on romance, and I have enough trouble keeping my thoughts ‘captive to Christ’ as it is. So, more and more, I listen to my favorite Christian music artists when I am driving. I can feel the change it has made in my mood; I am generally happier. The less I take in non-Christian music, the stranger it feels when I listen to it and sing along with it. I am seeing more clearly how some of the attitudes expressed in the songs are unsuited to an ambassador for Christ. I think it comes down to the fact that there is no room for sass or self-reliance in an ambassador. The ambassador’s boss is the King, and you can’t be sassy with Him or on His behalf. You must be submissive to Him and His will.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

There is part of me that is convinced I want to be a tough, brazen, and self-reliant woman. There is a voice inside that tells me that I will be more appealing to men if I add this attitude to my existing ‘Daddy’s Girl’ persona. It’s as though, if I were more sure of myself, it would make the rest of who I am more acceptable. To the world, it’s all about love and sex, so women need to make themselves attractive and appealing however they can. But I know that I am not supposed to model myself after the world. Being a light for Christ means that you shine because of a humble and loving disposition that is in contrast to a dark world.

What feels like an identity issue is less about who I am and more about how I am. I can be a daddy’s girl who shoots straight and drives a manual transmission, but the in-your-face toughness, self-sufficiency, and spitefulness of some of my favorite country songs has no place in me. The songs are fun and, for the most part, harmless. But I know that they get into my head and affect my attitude in little ways. Others may not perceive it, or may just think it is my personality, but I notice the difference.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:14-18

Even though there is a desire within me to be strong and independent, I’m not the hard-living, sassy woman-of-the-world that some of my favorite country songs describe. The more I seek nearness to God, the stranger the words are on my tongue as I sing along. While I would like to think that I can be God’s girl and that tough girl, I am seeing that it isn’t befitting a follower of Christ. Some Christians may say that it is okay to have a little bit of sass in your attitude, but by definition, sass is disrespectful. The word itself sounds cute, but I know that God doesn’t want me to be rude or impertinent. It is the exact opposite of the humility that God desires.

I feel like I have to choose between being “made of gunpowder and lead” and being a woman wholly devoted to my Savior. But I don’t actually need to choose. My decision was made a long time ago, and what I am feeling now is the result of having chosen to be a follower of Christ instead of a friend of the world. So, as the country music fades into the background of my daily life, I am letting go of any desires to emulate the attitudes. It would be foolish and pointless to try to make myself more appealing to the opposite sex by being tough and sassy, anyway. The bottom line is that the goal of my life is not to attract a man or to feel good about myself; it is to serve God.

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