This month Forbes published its list of the 100 Most Influential Women in the World. The top of the list is most composed of CEO’s and successful businesswomen, so in one interesting feature of the list, Forbes asked a number of women for their personal reflections on power. What follows is some of their responses:
- “Confidence is Power” – Lauie Ann Goldman, CEO, Spanx
- “Power is the ability to create change in the world” – Tensie Whelan, Executive Director, Rainforest Alliance
- Power is not being tied to any person or any thing. “If a deal or a relationship does not make sense, I can walk.” – Lynn Tilton, CEO, Patriarch Partners
- “Power is one’s ability to inspire positive change…to impact the global village.” – Tina Sharkey, Chariman and Global President, BabyCenter
- Power is confronting “the demons that prevent us as human beings from living up to our full potential.” – Cheryl Dorsey, MD, President, Echoing Green
- Power is about having choices. – Karen Wickre, Senior Manager of Global Communications & Public Affairs, Google.
- “I feel powerful by being able to influence others in a positive way.” – Missy Robbins, Executive Chef, A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus
- “I do consider myself to be a powerful woman…having [a] person believe in you is very empowering.” – Deanna Kangas, CEO of Stila Cosmetics
- Power is having “the ability to change the world in powerful ways through collaborative and collective efforts.” – Linda Avey, Co[Founder and Co-President, 23and ME
In response to these reflections, I couldn’t offer a better response than that of author Mary Kassian. On her blog she wrote the following challenging words:
Reading through the Forbes list, and the reflections of these nine “powerful” women made me think how very differently things work in the economy of God. For the Christian woman, “power” has an entirely different meaning. “Power” is not about chipping our way to the top of Forbes list. It’s all about the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is “the power of God.” Paul proclaimed that he would never shrink away from proclaiming that fact. (Romans 1:16)
So what does power look like in a Christian woman’s life? It looks very, very different than the world’s idea of power. For the Christian woman, power is knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection and sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10) Power is not about attaining confidence, prominence, influence, having choices, being the head of a government or having a CEO position in a company. Power is living a cross-centered life. Power is dying to sin and living to righteousness. Power is laying down our lives for the sake of the gospel. Power is humility, and service, and self-sacrifice, and often involves suffering and shame. It’s “sharing in Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” That’s a radical thought.
Power in the cross? That truly is a radical thought.