When I inevitably proved not to be the kind of woman I was supposed to be over and over again, it wasn’t something wrong with what I was doing; it was something fundamentally wrong with me as a person. I always felt like the black sheep, I was passed over a lot because there was something about me that wasn’t quite right. It sometimes felt as though calling me a “Christian woman” was as ironic as calling me a name that means “peaceful and quiet.”
I’m realizing that all the things about being a woman that used to make me feel weak have actually revealed the strength I have. This is true for all the women that I encounter every day. We consistently show up for our jobs, families, friends, and communities, often while dealing with additional and unseen physical, emotional, societal, and systemic realities that simply come along with being a woman.
When we eliminate 50% of our possible leaders, teachers, writers, counselors, and speakers from the majority of our church ministries, we are hurting ourselves. We are pushing men to step into roles that just don't fit them and concentrating the skills of women into a very small amount of ministries.
So where's the line? That's what we always want to know. Fingertip length? Cover the shoulders? One piece swimsuits? No cleavage ever? Where is the line between abaya and hooker? Because all of us have an unspoken line somewhere between the two and deep down we want an actual rulebook to give validity to what we've always thought.
"Love your neighbor as yourself." Definitely one of Jesus' teachings that is hardest to swallow. It demands unconditional love and care for others. But as I think about this teaching, I realize that if most of us loved our neighbor the way we truly love ourselves, we would actually treat them worse than we do now. We would be constantly critical of them, not letting any small mistake, annoyance, or flaw go unnoticed. We would pick them apart, trying to make them more like everyone else.