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.
I've always felt that talk of hospitality is akin to taking an Emily Post course where you should get the cleanness of your house, the decor, the food, etc, all perfect. And then the whole Spiritual aspect is tied into everything, so if things aren't perfect, it kind of makes you not as good of a Christian woman.
1 Timothy 6:10, the verse about the love of money being the root of all kinds of evil, is always assigned to rich people. It's a rich people verse because all of those rich people need to know that they better not get too attached to their massive wealth. But the truth is, you don't have to have money to love money.
In trying to be thrifty, I've got to be careful that my motivation isn't just to have money. Am I being wise with my money so I can be generous, debt-free, and prepared for the future, or just so that I can have more wealth and possessions? Being frugal is often seen as virtuous, and it often is, but I have to look past appearances and into my own heart and ask myself what my motivations are.
When you're single, sermons, books, and Bible studies are focused on telling you that only the love of Jesus can fulfill you. When you're married, the same sources are focused on teaching how a husband and wife can love each other in a fulfilling way. For all our talk when we were single about how no person could fill the place of God in our lives, we sure started acting like it was possible when we got married.
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.
I replace prayer with guilt over the fact that I haven't prayed. When I do pray for something, I feel like one time is not good enough. This guilt is toxic to what my communication with God could be right now. I don't feel the freedom to just come to Him and talk...or listen. I feel like when I come to Him, I have a backlog of 10 year's worth of prayers.
Since Junior High I've had pastors, youth pastors, mentors, teachers, and friends telling me about quiet times. Telling me about Bible study methods, prayer methods, ways to relate to God, how much time I should spend doing this, and that quiet times are always best in the morning with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by my side. Things are more holy in the morning. Plus, God is an early bird so He's extra attentive then. The problem was, I took those suggestions and methods and made them into rules. I pasted them all into this giant rule book until spending time with God became a crippling activity, a balancing act of doing everything right.
You probably feel guilty just like I do. This all feels sacrilegious or sinful because we "good Christians" are masters at saying "I struggle with distractions when I spend time with God" or "It's hard finding time to spend with God." Or my favorite "I'm sometimes tempted not to spend time with God." It's easier, isn't it? It's easier to use words like "struggle" and "temptation" than to truthfully say "sometimes I dread having a 'quiet time.'" See, I don't just "struggle" with not spending time with God right now. I flat out don't feel like spending time with Him.
"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.