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Ambition and Being “Driven” Can Be Good – If…

enjoying a sunny afternoon

Nothing is wrong with a woman being ambitious and driven – provided that she is ambitious and driven in obeying God, submitting to Him and living in His power for His glory.


If a woman is ambitious and driven to do things HER way, not God’s way and disobeys God’s commands for her as a believer in Christ and as a wife – that is a huge problem.  This is where we began to go wrong in the Garden of Eden, actually. We decided that we were more wise than God and that our lives would be better if we became independent from Him. In our quest for independence from God, we became partners with Satan and then we fell.

A godly woman can have a strong personality, her own giftings, her own perspective and her own voice.

I am personally still very ambitious and driven, a go-getter, with strong opinions, ideas and feelings. But I no longer try to control my husband or God or demand my own way. I no longer disrespect my husband. My goal is to harness the power and strength of my flesh and yield it all to Christ. I seek to lay everything that belongs to me before Jesus to be used only for His will, not for my will now. I no longer belong to myself. I am not my own master. Jesus is the “Boss.” He has the reigns and He calls the shots now. And, He graciously gives me the power of His Spirit to do the things He calls me to do that I could never do in my own power. It is not about me “trying harder” but about me resting in Him and trusting Him to work through me.

I willingly, joyfully place myself under Greg’s God-given authority and leadership in our marriage and I put all of my strength, drive, ambition, power and motivation behind him to bless him. I bring all of my talents, intelligence, abilities, gifts, ideas, feelings and perspective to the table, and more than that, I bring all of the power of heaven and all that belongs to Christ with me because all that I have is His and all that He has is mine. I operate within the parameters of God’s Word and Greg’s leadership now. I seek to to build Greg up, to support his decisions, to work as a team together for God’s glory. I am a living sacrifice each day for Christ, yielding myself to Him, longing to be of service to Him. And I make myself available to my husband to serve, honor and bless him as well.

Now, God’s power floods my soul and my marriage and I have the power of heaven at my disposal to do good to my husband and my marriage. I have access to all of the the power of Christ to live in victory over sin (to read more about this, I strongly suggest checking out The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee). I no longer employ the power of my sinful nature to destroy my husband and my marriage, but rather allow God to work through me to greatly bless my husband, to empower and inspire him to become the man God desires him to be. I allow God to work in my husband’s life instead of me trying to play “the Holy Spirit” in his life.

The only power I gave up was the sinful power I used to have to destroy my husband, my marriage, my children and myself and the power I had to separate myself from fellowship with God. I have infinitely more power and influence for GOOD in my marriage now than I ever had when I was focused on what I wanted and on trying to do things myself my way.

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23 thoughts on “Ambition and Being “Driven” Can Be Good – If…

  1. Kelley,

    Oh! One thing I did as I prayed and sought for God to change my heart by His power and His Spirit – was I wore a rubber band on one wrist. Any time I would catch myself thinking sinful thoughts, I would snap the rubber band to remind myself to focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of thoughts and to meditate on Scripture instead of thinking of disrespectful things, things I could say to argue or complain or negative things.

  2. ‘Dying to self” is just not an over the night new plan so to speak…it is difficult and like nothing I have ever done before…child birth is easier than this….why ? Any suggestions?”

    I know sometimes when reading blogs it can seem like everyone else is doing this better and easier than me. It can seem like others have it all figured out and I’m one of few still struggling. I can’t change my spiritually defective DNA, so “dying to self” is a something I will struggle with everyday. As soon as I think I’ve gotten something mastered, I will be presented with the truth that I don’t.

    So don’t be discouraged if it seems like you’re not getting it. God sees your heart. If you desire to love Him and honor Him above all others He will give you the desire of your heart.

    For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. Proverbs 24:16

    Blessings,
    Trixie

    1. Trixie,
      Thank you for encouraging our precious sister!

      We all want to just flip a switch and suddenly be “the perfect, godly wife” but that is not how it works. The fact that it is a process is a good thing. If God wanted us to suddenly be perfect, we would die at the moment of salvation and go right to heaven and never struggle or stumble at all.

      We can only absorb so much at a time. The most important thing is not the destination, but our fellowship and learning to trust Jesus as we are on the journey and as we wait on Him. It is about our relationship with Him and us desiring Him more and getting to know Him more and more. It is about us learning to be still and let Him do the work and about us learning to rejoice in our weaknesses and trials as His power is glorified in our difficulties.

      Much love!
      April

  3. I think what has helped me most in realizing who I am in Christ and the power I have living inside of me is Romans 12:2, “Being transformed by the renewing of the mind…” We must renew our mind continually with God’s Truth. We must be in His Word consistently so we are reminded that we are new creatures in Christ and that we are dead and freed from sin. Meditating and understanding Romans 6 and 8 is very powerful since Romans 6 continually repeats the phrases “dead to sin” and “freed from sin” and then we must believe God’s Word to be true and speak that Truth to us instead of satan’s lies. We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us, now believe it!!!

    1. Lori Alexander,
      I love this! Yes, our understanding of Romans 6-8 is so vitally important or we will continue on in defeat in our experience daily instead of in the victory we already have in Christ.

      All,
      There is a process of working out our salvation. But Jesus has already completed the work necessary and it is all about what He has done. Now we must learn to live out His finished work in our experience, praising Him and thanking Him for what He has done and allowing His Spirit to flood our souls to give us the power.

      I love Watchman Nee’s book The Normal Christian Life because he explains these powerful truths of Romans in illustrations that are very easy to grasp and He explains in detail how we can learn to allow God to work through us and in us, the work of sanctification, so that our experience in real life begins to line up more and more with the truth in Christ in Romans.

      It took me years to really wrestle with and grasp many of these concepts. I am not perfect. I will never be perfect this side of heaven. But God has given me victory by His Spirit’s power so many times offer sin that I could not have any power over on my own. We can learn to walk in His Spirit and His power on a daily basis. But we do continue to take every thought captive and count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. For me, as soon as I notice negative feelings or emotions, I try to go off and pray and ask God to examine my motives and to test my heart and motives and to forgive me for any sinful thoughts and to empower me to walk by His power, not mine.

      There was a period of 2.5 years when I was studying becoming a godly wife where I felt like I had no clue what it meant to be a godly wife or how to allow God to empower me and I fell over and over and over. There is a process and a learning curve and there are increasing levels of “illumination” from God’s Spirit as we grow in Him.

      Some things that were extremely counterintuitive and foreign to me at first, feel very natural now. But it is only as God transforms my thinking, my heart and my soul by His Word and His power that this can happen. It is not about more effort in my part, but about learning to trust Him to do everything in me and through me and about me fully yielding myself to Him.

      I am so excited to see all that I still have to learn and all the growth that lies ahead. I have thousands of miles to go in this journey. I know there is no good in me at all on my own, I know I have to be plugged into Jesus, receiving His spiritual food and nourishment or I can do nothing good. It is all about Him and what He has done.

      Much love!
      April

      1. God changes my desires as I yield to him. So, the things that once tempted me become more and more repulsive and I begin to desire what He desires, to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. He creates a new “want to” in me. I begin to care less and less about the things of this world and more and more just about Jesus and what is precious to Him.

        It is a lot like a baby growing and maturing into an adult. There are stages and steps and it is a process.

  4. I know this situation has been discussed before, but my deal is that I have a full-time director level job and then have to switch hats to the role of submissive wife to a command man at home. This is not easy! Sometimes I feel like I have two personalities! It’s hard to flip the switch in my car, and I am not a quick learner/adjuster so this is taking some time. And I have been in the “quiet phase” for some time and still trying to figure how to peek back out without causing as much disharmony as I used to.

    But the Lord is placing new desires in my heart. I want more of him and less of the world! This, in and of itself, is awesome and strengthening (yet difficult, too, because not that many people even in the church have this mindset!)

    1. Jane Doe,

      It is difficult to switch modes on the way home from work sometimes. It gets “normal” to take charge everywhere. But, sometimes changing clothes to something more feminine or softer when you come home may help, or listening to music about God, or even some special love songs to get yourself in wife mode, may help. I would imagine the transition may be even more difficult if you are married to a command man.

      Sometimes taking 5-10 minutes in the car to pray and mentally spiritually, emotionally decompress and ask for God’s wisdom and Spirit may help. 🙂

      Something I did that really helped me was to begin praying with a scarf on my head to acknowledge Greg’s God-given authority over me the way I Corinthians 11 talks about. Could be that some tangible reminder like that while you pray could help you switch gears too. I picture myself placing myself under Greg’s authority, leadership, protection and covering.

      I love what God is doing in you. Aren’t the new desires amazing??? I am so excited about what God has in store for you!

    1. RG,

      Yes. It is worth a whole post. I remember Greg saying something to me years ago about “you enjoy being miserable, you just want to be upset.” Of course, I argued about that! But, looking back, I see the truth in what he was saying, I enjoyed my bitterness and resentment. I didn’t know how not to be negative. How sad is that!!?

      Great point. Thanks, RG.

      1. April, I can so easily fall into finding what’s not going well or right in any situation-goes hand in hand with being a perfectionist (not the everything in its place type but being hard on myself and berating myself for “mistakes” and always noticing what could easily be done better or “right” etc) I have come to ask God to help me see the good in each day, situation and myself. I can now catch myself in the downward spiral of negative noticing and consciously start focusing on what is going well. I also try not to state my opinion or judgment of things not going well. A post on this topic would be appreciated and other’s tips would be helpful!

        1. KC,
          Yes, perfectionism causes us to focus on the 1% of things that are “wrong” and to not be thankful for the 99% of things that are wonderful. Not a very godly or grateful way to live. That is for sure. And you are so right, that if we are harsh on ourselves and extend no grace or mercy to ourselves, we have none to share with anyone else and we will treat others the same way.

          I do have a post already written about not arguing or complaining, but I hope to have a post in the next week or so about focusing on things that are wrong, or “being happy about having something negative to think about>”

          1. I think I might be the exception to the rule, where I don’t extend grace to myself, but I extend it to everyone else. My husband is an amazing, incredible, godly man. I truly believe I have the best husband in the world who would die for me and my daughter, who is so romantic and makes sure we know how important we are to him and that we are his priorities. He tells me I’m beautiful and how much of a difference I make in his life every day. I am grateful for that, and I am sure to let him know that every single day.

            My problem is that I think he expects me to think and act just like him though, so if I do something he wouldn’t have, or if I don’t “read” him the way he thinks I should be able to, he gets very upset with me, and tells me we’ve “talked about this over and over before” and he “shouldn’t have to tell me again.”

            I wish I was given grace to just be myself, to be different from him. I know I have God’s grace. I wonder sometimes if my husband’s dissatisfaction is something God uses to show me what I still need to work on, which is why I get so upset when my husband is upset.

            I feel like if I were really pleasing God, that would spill over into my husband being pleased with me as well. If my husband isn’t pleased with me, or feels disrespected but doesn’t tell me WHY, how am I supposed to know what I’m doing right and what I need to change? How much of my personality should I expect him to accept (like my forgetfulness) and not worry about it when he gets angry that I forgot something, and how much should I be trying to change?

            For example, he tells me that I’m different around men than women, that I am more comfortable and outgoing around men. I have always found men easier to talk to, they are much less intimidating than women in my opinion, and to me, that is a personality trait. I am VERY careful to make sure I don’t flirt (though some people can mistake friendliness for flirting, I understand that). I make sure I’m not alone with a man, I don’t have any close male friends, I don’t text men. But because my husband has made that comment several times, it makes me feel like I should try not to speak to men at all, period. I don’t know where the balance is between honoring my husband, and being comfortable with who I am, letting him deal with his own issues.

            I’m not sure if that makes sense or not. If my husband isn’t happy, is that indicative that God isn’t pleased with me, and how far should I go to honor my husband, how do I know how much of myself to change that would honor my husband in obedience to God?

          2. M,

            This requires great sensitivity to God’s Spirit – I probably can’t give you specifics here. But ultimately, your job as a disciple of Christ is to please Him. There may be times your husband is not pleased, but that doesn’t necessarily mean God is not pleased with you.

            Forgetfulness is something I have to deal with already too, probably due to severe and chronic sleep deprivation. My husband, thankfully, accepts that, and I try to make myself lists and reminders because I know I will forget if I don’t.

            What happens if you ask him for a bit of grace?

            Is he a believer?

            I understand feeling more comfortable around men. Most of my friends were guys in high school because I didn’t like the drama and just plain cattiness I saw in a lot of girls. Greg asked me sometimes, we dated in high school, why all my friends were guys. Of course, I didn’t understand that a lot of them were romantically interested in me at the time.

            If your husband says you are more comfortable around men than women, that sounds like an observation to me. He is not saying you need to change anything. If he asks you to back away or change your behavior, that is different. But at this point, he seems just to be making a comment.

            You will probably have to weigh your husband’s criticism against God’s Word and prayerfully consider if God is speaking something to you to sharpen you or if this is something that you need to let go.

            Hopefully, you will show your husband that his opinion is important to you, that you do desire to please him. But you may be able to ask for a bit more grace.

            Would you like to talk about a specific example of a time you didn’t read him correctly and he got upset? We could talk about ways to possibly handle it.

            Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom for you both!

          3. Being more sensitive to God’s spirit and seeking His wisdom in regards to criticism is definitely something I need to work on. Thank you!

            My husband is very much a believer. I’ve drawn closer to God since meeting my husband. When I’ve asked him for more grace, it’s been in response to my husband asking me how he can love me better. That’s my usual reply, “Please just give me a little more grace when I do things differently from you, or from how you’d like or expect me to.” He is incredibly understanding while we’re having those conversations.

            An example when I didn’t read him correctly would be just the other night. We were at dinner with a couple we’d never gone out with before (friends from church, I know them through our worship team but my husband had only met them a couple of times briefly). My husband was starting to get antsy and wanted to leave, but I honestly didn’t know that until we left and he was very irritated with me. That’s one thing I wish he could just let go – assume the best in me, that I would never ignore his feelings and refuse to leave. Rather, I just simply didn’t know he was so antsy by then.

            There was another time (I think I left a comment about this one a while ago) when we’d both had a stressful day, we’d planned on having a pizza/movie night so I texted him to ask if he was going to stop for pizza like he normally does or if I should order it. He never replied to that text (so I didn’t know when he was leaving work either) and when he got home, he was annoyed because I hadn’t just taken care of getting the pizza. Although I had tried, I had offered to order it, but he never replied to my text – and again, I didn’t even know what time he’d be home. He told me I should’ve known he was stressed out (although I was too, we both had a rough day for different reasons) and I should have known to take care of it.

            The worst of our “fights” have been when he got really annoyed with me about something, but when I tried to ask what I’d done wrong and why he was so angry, he told me that “we’ve been through this over and over” and he “shouldn’t have to explain it again.” Some of those arguments never really got resolved; I just apologized for doing whatever it was that upset him and eventually he cooled off.

            I feel like I need to reiterate the fact that my husband is an amazing, warm, secure, dependable, faithful, and extremely loving man. There are just some things I need to figure out to improve our marriage, and to be able to rest more peacefully in who I am in Christ.

          4. M,
            I would love for you to agree to a signal ahead of time with him, when he is not stressed or upset, about how he can let you know he is ready to go. I think if you are on the same page about communication, it will not even be an issue anymore. If he doesn’t want to arrange a signal ahead of time, then you are going to have to learn to really study him and recognize the little clues that he is getting impatient or ready to go. But I have a feeling he would be willing to agree to something and this issue will be put to rest. 🙂

            Sometimes, both spouses have a bad day. It can be unavoidable. You can agree ahead of time if you know he is stressed, because he tells you, that you can try to be in charge of supper. But it is pretty impossible for you to read his mind. I am a horrible mind reader, myself. I would not have ever figured that one out! But Greg and I do have an app on our phones Find My Friends, that let’s me know where Greg is. That comes in handy when a husband doesn’t call to tell his wife when he is on his way. 😉

            It may be that when your husband is not upset, you could ask him to spell out the things that matter most to him and write them down or ask him to write them down so that you are clear and on the same page. Sometimes husbands may think they have been clear, but we heard suggestions. Or we didn’t understand the priority level our husbands attached to something that didn’t seem like a big deal to us. But the time to have that discussion is latter when things are going well. If at all possible, get these things in writing so you know you are both clear and you can even refer back to what you wrote down or he typed up in the future if necessary.

            I think your husband sounds like a keeper. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you both!!!

          5. “If he doesn’t want to arrange a signal ahead of time, then you are going to have to learn to really study him and recognize the little clues that he is getting impatient or ready to go”

            April, I think you’re a little off on this one. I believe this is one of those areas I think we need to be a helper and not an enabler. If he chooses not to arrange a sign, then he’s assuming responsibility for ending the evening. It is not a wife’s job to scrutinize her husband to figure out if he’s getting antsy. He’s a grown man that is capable of speaking up and airing his preferences. Expecting a wife to observe her husband trying to learn what antsy looks like could really backfire later when she reads him incorrectly.

            Boundaries: You are not responsible for his feeling uncomfortable. You are responsible to him to respond graciously when he says “It’s getting late” or “I’ve enjoyed the evening, but we have to be getting home”.

            We are wives, not mothers. Our husbands are men, not boys. I think most of us tend to mother our husband a bit more than we should already. 🙂

      2. Lol, I second or third the comment about looking for things to be upset (or worried) about. Gotta trust God’s peace. HE is in control, not us, and we are safest when we’re resting in him.

  5. “Childbirth is easier than this…” Ha! I love it! 🙂 I don’t have any children yet, but I can relate in that there have been days where I have felt so overwhelmed by all the ways I’m missing the mark of being a perfectly loving, feminine, submitted wife that I start to get overwhelmed. I realize at times that I’m trying to change myself instead of just enjoying Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work in me. Certainly it’s my job to be available and to pray and to put good spiritual ingredients into my mind, but only God can transform my heart and give me revelation knowledge of truth.

    The truth is that I’m loved as is and not as I will be one day and that God actually enjoys me right now, even while I’m immature in my love walk. I read the book Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning recently, and it talks about how God loves the whole person, not just our good parts. I tend to reject the negative parts of myself, but this sets me up for failure- honestly how am I going to love and respect my imperfect but wonderful HUSBAND when I reject and berate MYSELF half the time and have such super high (prideful!) expectations? I can’t give what I don’t have. We love because God first loved us, so for me, accepting and embracing my lovableness-flaws and all-is a really important part of this process.

    I like what the other commenters and April have said about the finished work of Christ.- Sometimes I find myself fighting back and forth with my flesh, but in truth I need to count myself as ALREADY dead to sin. The battle is already won. Jesus fought it, and I get to enjoy the spoils of his victory. I am a recipient of his grace and power. Sanctification is a process, but we go victoriously from glory to glory by the power of GOD, not of self. We don’t have to strive in the flesh. Thank God!

    1. Love this, Growing up spiritually, Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

      And I will get to work on a post about the whole looking for negative things and “enjoying” being upset idea! 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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