Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from Cindy's book, Women of Destiny.
In looking back over my life, I have been able to identify at least five major strongholds that I personally had to deal with in order to be released into my destiny. I think many women will relate to a number of these on differing levels.
1. Strongholds of the Mind
I like the way Ed Silvoso describes this kind of stronghold:
A mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable, situations that we know are contrary to the will of God. (1)
In other words, some of the ways we think and feel about ourselves and our situations are contrary to God’s will. Basically, there are ways we think and feel about ourselves that can actually stop us from reaching our destinies in God. These can be things such as childhood traumas, insecurities and/or inferiorities.
2. The Stronghold of Fear
One of the biggest strongholds we women struggle with is fear. Fear comes in many packages and hides behind lies. We sometimes self-righteously dress up our fears as, “It’s simply not in me to stand in public and pray.”
We fear others’ opinions. Remember, at the end of our days, the Lord will ask each of us what we did with our talents. I hope none of you have a backyard full of talents you’ve buried, such as gifts of music, writing, organization, serving and more. Fear will not be an acceptable excuse when we stand before the King of the universe because He has given us all the ability to be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb. If we are feeling overtaken with fear, it hasn’t come from God! He gives us power, love and a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7).
Some of you need to dust off your talents and dreams and give them to the Lord. The difference between women who find their place in God’s kingdom and those who never find it may simply be a willingness to be used of God. Everyone can do something. You can join a group of Moms in Touch who intercede for their children’s schools or some other form of service that will get you out of yourself.
3. Strongholds of Intimidation
Intimidation often binds women. It occurs when we look at our shortfalls rather than at the greatness of God. Whether we are called to sing or testify, the enemy might say something such as, “People will think that you are full of pride if you do that!” He often points out the weaknesses in our personal lives and family situations, or tries to compare our abilities with those of others in order to produce an oppressive feeling that will restrain us from reaching our full potential in God.
4. Generational Strongholds
Some strongholds start long before we are born. We inherit them. You might say, “Wait a minute, Cindy, that’s not fair!” Exodus 20:5 tells us that God visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation. While we have been redeemed from these iniquities, we need to appropriate our freedom through the name of Jesus Christ. I give a lengthy teaching on this subject in my book The Voice of God. These strongholds can produce curses such as sickness, poverty, insanity and so forth.
5. Strongholds of Tradition
Growing up in the South, in the United States, tradition was another of my big strongholds. Good Christian Southern women simply did not travel around the world and preach the gospel! As you can tell from reading this book, I struggled intensely with accepting the call of God upon my life as a minister of the gospel. It took me two full years before I even admitted to anyone that I was a minister—even after I was licensed! I just couldn’t seem to get the “m” word out of my mouth. I guess I was afraid of people’s reactions. Now, I am proud (in a righteous way) of sharing what I do in God’s kingdom. I tell people, “I have a great boss and the retirement plan is out of this world!”
I’ve often wondered if Queen Vashti, in the book of Esther, refused to come when summoned by the king because it wasn’t traditional for her to do so. When our King summons us, we must be sure that we are not being held back by tradition.
Lord, Send Me into My Call
You may have a genuine desire to become a woman of destiny and fulfill the high calling of Christ Jesus for your life. Be assured that the Lord is raising up a vast army of handmaidens all around the world. Don’t be bound by the opinion of man (or woman). Simply follow God’s leading. If God calls you to stay home full-time even after your children are grown, then do it! Maybe you are single, and God is calling you to the mission field; step out!
Please pray the following prayer with me right now:
Lord, I want to be a woman of destiny. I give You all of my life, my children, my family and other people’s opinions of me. Here am I, Lord. Send me into my call. Help me to break down any strongholds that stop me from completely serving You. I will go anywhere You ask me to go and do anything You ask me to do as long as I know it is Your will for my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Ed Silvoso, That None Should Perish (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994), p.155.