Sometimes, “Being A Woman” Makes Me Tired
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Kirsten Oliphant. She blogs at stillhatepickles.com and tweets at @kikimojo. I read her submission with great relief and peace. It also reminded me a little of Hannah’s post, The Life I Discovered Inside of 13 Days Without Social Media. Enjoy the rest of your week, girlfriends! – Lauren
The past few months I have been branching out online, reading blogs and posts and sites that are a little outside the typical, comfortable easy space for me. It has been really enlightening to hear views from women I respect and admire about feminism, submission, marriage, oppression, and the Proverbs 31 woman. Many of these posts and voices are in complete disagreement with each other, which is great for making me think.
At first, I was taking in all these new ideas, mulling them over and letting them sort of steep in my head. I felt excited and energized and like I had so many things to think about, places I needed to grow.
But now I just feel tired.
Weary from the reading and the thinking and the weight of so many expectations of me – just one woman. According to these various voices:
– I am to be like the Proverbs 31 woman in all her success and busyness. Or, I am not to be like her, but to celebrate the victories in my day, small and large.
– I am to submit to and respect my husband. Or, I am to be his equal partner.
– I am to think of myself as my husband’s complement. Or, I am to think of myself as his exact equal, which is somehow not his complement.
– I should strive to be a homemaker. Or, I should strive for success wherever I feel gifted.
– I should dress myself in a way that doesn’t make men stumble. Or, I should know that it is a man’s responsibility to tame his lustful thoughts.
Do you feel tired yet?
I chose opposite viewpoints and over-simplified them just for the sake of example. In my reading, I have found that there are so many beliefs about who a good, godly woman should be – running all in between (and maybe outside) those polar points.
The bottom line, however, is that no matter what blog or viewpoint I was reading, I ended up feeling weighed down by expectations of being a Woman. Can I take a timeout?
I’m still not sure where I land on a lot of these ideas, but maybe I don’t want to pitch my tent in a camp with a title on it, whether that be complementarian, egalitarian, feminist, or something altogether different. I want a break from categories and expectations.
I want some rest in trying to interpret what every directive towards women in the Bible really means in today’s culture and in my life.
I want to take some time and stop thinking of who I need to be as a woman, and simply think of who Jesus wants me to be as a human being. As a follower. As a sinner, washed clean by his grace.
For this moment, that seems a big enough task without adding on top of that what kind of woman I am supposed to be.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Paul says in Galatians 3:28. Why? As he tells us in the prior verses, this is because we have been clothed with Christ.
The outer trappings of our selves are colored with the inner trappings of a heart washed clean, belonging to Jesus. This clothing transcends gender and culture and position. It transcends denomination and affiliation and movement. For a brief time I can rest easy in this truth, shaking off that feeling of pressure to be the right kind of woman. No, my affiliation is ultimately with Jesus.
Paul is not saying that those things do not matter, only that underneath all the divisions we have a unity that transcends them all. For a time, I simply want to rest. I want to rest at the feet of Jesus while he speaks, not busying myself with other things, as significant as they may be. At his feet, I see the grace of one who crossed barriers and social constructs and religious expectations. I see the grace of one who touched the unclean, who put his own spit in the eyes of the blind, who let sinful women wipe his feet with their hair.
The view from down here is lovely, and when I’m looking up at him, I don’t need to worry about what kind of woman he wants me to be. I think that he is pleased with me being right here at his feet in worship and adoration, in intimacy. I can just be.
I greatly appreciate all the smart, thinking women who are so eloquent in their written thoughts about womanhood. I will continue to read their blogs and posts and tweets. I’m not saying that womanhood isn’t extremely significant, or that affiliations and identity and persuasions do not matter. I simply need a break every now and then to put them in perspective.
My identity, beyond that of womanhood, is as a person of God.
So I am taking a break for a moment to get back to the well itself, from which I can drink deep, be refreshed, and then dive back into the fray of diverse thought on what it means to be a woman.
Want to join us & pass this along to other women in your life?
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