As a dad, the lessons I’m teaching my kids about gender and identity include (in no particular order)
1.GOD GAVE you your gender, and God has NEVER made a mistake.
When we have the starting point of belief in a loving God who is working all things together for our good and His glory, we’re starting in the right place. When we start with any other worldview, we won’t be able to find true answers to the deepest questions of our souls. God made you. He loves you. He made you either male or female. He doesn’t make mistakes.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:13-14
2. Men and women are created EQUAL, but they are also created with DIFFERENCES.
I still can’t understand why it’s no longer politically correct or cultural acceptable to say that there are differences between men and women that extend beyond genitalia. You don’t have to see a group of kids playing on the playground for more than a few minutes to notices that boys and girls tend to interact with the world and with each other in different ways.
Both masculinity and femininity are beautiful unique and equally valuable. They’re complimentary, like two sides of the same coin; like two wings on the same bird. To say either is wrong or to say that one is more important than the other is to lose part of our own humanity. To say their neither exists apart from man-made (or woman-made) cultural constructs, is to abandon common sense.
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
3. Your gender can’t define you, and you can’t define your gender.
Let me unpack this one just a bit…I don’t believe that God ever intended gender to be a prison cell that puts limitations on you. Like all things God gives, gender is a beautiful gift that frees us to be all He created us to be. While our gender certainly sets part of the course for our lives and families, it’s not what defines our souls.
While our gender can’t define us, neither can we define our genders. There is much in life we get to decide, and there are some things that God is His love and sovereignty decides for us. Gender is one of those God-given, irrevocable gifts.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
4. Your gender is a gift; not a stereotype.
Much of our cultural frustration and confusion over gender started with the distortion of what gender really means. Men were taught that if we don’t have lumberjack beards and benchpress 500 lbs., then we’re not really men. Women are taught that if they don’t have the build of a Barbie doll and the domestic skills of an HGTV host, then they aren’t real women.
Gender is so much more than a stereotype or an impossible standard that God expects you to live up to. It’s a gift; not a prison. Your gender is part of what makes you the unique masterpiece God created you to be, so embrace it as the gift it was intended to be. Don’t let magazine covers or cultural stereotypes squeeze you into a mold when God created you to be a unique masterpiece.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
5. If you search for your identity in anything but God, you’ll never truly find it.
The quest to find our “gender identity” is really just another quest to find our “identity.” We’re all longing to know who we are and why we’re here. We’re trying to make sense of the brokenness of our past, the struggles of our present and the fears and hopes for our futures. Christ gives purpose and peace to these pursuits like no one else can. If our primary identity is rooted in our gender identity, sexual identity, political identity, family identity, national identity, denominational identity or anything else, we’ve missed the point. Start the search with Jesus. He’ll not only show you the answers; He’ll show you that He is the answer.
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28