It took Anita Lustrea, Midday Connection radio cohost, more than 25 years to come to a place of wholeness, to discover that she was created to help other women find the freedom in Christ Galatians 5:1 talks about: "Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free."
Based on her experience and hundreds of women's stories, she wrote What Women Tell Me (Zondervan) to help women find that freedom and acceptance.
Today's Christian Woman spoke with Anita to find out what acceptance looks like and why we should make it a daily spiritual practice.
What led you to understand who God created you to be?
Hands down it was going through a divorce. God used that event and the journey leading up to it to peel away the layers I didn't even know were there.
I had a warped view of God and myself. As a pastor's daughter, I learned at an early age to smile and perform. I assumed that was what God wanted from me too. But here I was going through a divorce. I didn't know who I was or whether or not I had a calling anymore.
That "divorce" label can definitely affect how you perceive yourself.
It did. Labels can keep us from pushing forward into what God has planned for us. They can be other-inflicted, but a lot of times they're self-inflicted.
How do we push through our past and others' expectations to discover who God created us to be?
It's a daily process. I had to come to grips and own who I really am. It dawned on me that I am always going to be a divorced woman, but I need to walk forward.
Do you think women limit what they accept in other women?
Absolutely. Often we're our own (and other women's) worst enemies. Every person has been given gifts that go along with their personality. We are vastly different individuals, but we stick women into specific roles.
Being a wife and mother are great things—but they aren't our only gifts. And not all women are called to those roles. We need to accept women who feel their gifts and callings are different from ours. When we think that God has called us only to certain roles that apply to all women, we put ourselves—and God—in a box.
How can we discover those gifts?
What do you love to do? What are your passions? What wakes you up in the morning apart from your children? Many women feel lost when they get to the second half of life because they haven't asked, Who did God create me to be? before they get to that point.