For The Girl Criticized For Not Having A Quiet Spirit
Editor’s Note: Today’s post by Taylor is on a topic that really fascinates me. Most women in the Bible had radically strong and “vocal” spirits, yet many of us are raised to be quiet, introverted, and ‘gentle.’ I grew up believing that I didn’t have a gentle spirit and I needed to fix myself, until multiple close friends insisted I was a quiet person. Whatever side of the fence you fall on, be careful when you let others speak into what kind of spirit you should have as a person, or as a gender. It can alter your life. Taylor blogs here and tweets at @tayholder. – Lauren
There really aren’t many things that annoy me more than gender stereotypes, and that’s mainly because I just don’t feel like I fit into any of them. Specifically, the ones the traditional Church has promoted.
In my eyes, I am too opinionated. I’m too loud. Too strong. Too tall. Just too much. I just need to be more dainty. No matter how hard I try, my car ends up being a mess. Maybe I should pluck my eyebrows more regularly… yeah, I probably should.
Over the past 6 years that I’ve had a relationship with Christ, I’ve had many victories, disappointments, lessons learned, heart aches, and relapses. The beautiful thing is that Grace has always been there to pick me up. Every single time. And somehow we just keep on trucking, together.
But somewhere along the line, I stopped being the too-strong girl.
That loud, obnoxious one who wore the puke shade of orange and argued ’til she was blue in the face about why Phil Fulmer and the whole Clausen family could all go to hell (For those of you who don’t know, that’s a football thing).
It first hit me a couple months ago when I was told, for the first time ever, that I’m kind of a quiet person. I was taken aback. Quiet? Me? No. Then again, yesterday, when I said to a friend, “I just have too strong of a personality,” he quickly refuted it.
Where did that girl go? And when? Is she forever gone? Is that even a good thing?
I think in the end, it all depends on why she left. Was she transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit? Or was she scared off by insecurity and a need for approval in this new community? A new community in which women look very different than she used to look.
Bottom line is that yes, I think we can all agree that the girl who willed sports players to eternal damnation can kick rocks, but why is the opposite of her a quiet girl to the extent that she’s a coward?
Why can’t the opposite of her be a strong-willed girl who is loud for the right causes?
Like the cause of justice? Of truth? Of grace and love, in a culture filled with judgement? Can I use my loud-ness in favor of Love?
I haven’t become that girl. Somewhere along the line, expectation reached out and grabbed me. And I didn’t even put up a fight, believing that the expectation came from those around me, who pointed fingers at me, or whispered about me behind my back. And it came from me too. I joined in and threw rocks at myself in judgement, while Jesus stood in the gap, drew lines in the sand, and defended me from my own hatred.
When I’d become a Christian, I’d resolved to know who I had to be so that I’d fit into the church. Who I had to be in order to have a Christian man desire me, value me, and even want to keep me around.
I was so far from being that kind of girl, and I hated myself for it.
Instead of going after Christ whole-heartedly, half of me was always stuck on being a better woman, or at least my perception of a better woman. I kept wondering when Jesus was going to transform me into the perfect Christian friend and wife.
All I wanted was to be a different person than I who was before I knew Christ, but I took it to the extreme, and in the end I kind of lost myself. Not completely, though. Sometimes the “old me” comes out, but I’ve resented her, and have quickly reprimanded her.
Sometimes, I still get a little loud. I feel like it’s the old me that comes out and fights and fights. Sometimes trivially, and sometimes for the best reasons.
Sometimes she says, “MEN, WOMEN ARE NOT DISPOSABLE.”
Sometimes she screams, “STOP RUNNING TO THAT THING, IT WILL NEVER SATISFY YOU.”
But this week I realized that maybe that girl isn’t the old me, maybe it IS still the new me. The me who is in Christ, but is still just me, “The too-tall girl from the wrong side of the tracks.” (If you know that reference, you get me.)
I can’t wait to get to the place where I can put down expectation and be who God has made me.
I want to be her fully.
A woman with a quiet spirit, but not always a quiet mouth. A woman who has a really weird, goofy, over-the-top side. A woman who likes to debate, but is open to being wrong. A woman who challenges those around her, hoping they will challenge her back, because at the end of the day, she just really wants to learn. A woman who always wants to be the best version of herself.
Maybe this girl doesn’t fit into the perfect gender role molds, and maybe that’s okay.
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