Don't compete. Complete. The true heart of a feminist.
"Feminism" is a platform that gets a bad wrap, especially in the church world.
You are probably already feeling some emotion just with that first sentence right?
Either you are excited because this is something you are passionate about, or you are fired up because you hate the word "feminist", or you are pissed off because I put FEMINIST and CHURCH in the same statement.
The mere fact that we get so fired up, good or bad, is a good indication we are hitting on something important.
Some people believe that being a feminist means you hate men.
FALSE. (Said in my best Dwight Schrute voice)
Some feminists do hate men.
Some don't define all.
In fact, those "some" don't even define the true heart of feminism.
Webster defines Feminism as:
the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Unfortunately thousands of years of toxic masculinity and a broken patriarchal culture have made this definition difficult to live out. And sadly, the church has not been immune to the dysfunction either.
Now we have all been a part of NUMEROUS online debates about what the bible says about women. Women in ministry, women in the family, women in the workplace, etc. (And if you haven't, I am happy for you! What a blessing to not have gotten into that muck and mire!!)
So the point of this blog post is not to convince you one way or another about that. I know what I believe, I know what I have read, and I know what Jesus did to blow the roof off of the male dominated society at the time he was on the planet. (I'll save that for future blog posts!)
What I really wanted to say is that because of the toxic culture that has led us to this point, women have not always felt safe to just be themselves in their relationships.
Especially when it comes to how they interact with other women.
There is this deep need to prove ourselves. In the workplace, at school, in our neighborhoods, and yes, even our churches. We feel the need to compete with one another to find out who is prettier, smarter, kinder, a better friend, stronger, etc. It is like we have believed somewhere deep down that our worth comes when we can look down at others.
Let me be clear. Our worth comes from looking up at our creator. Period.
So we compete. We compare. We undermine. We judge. We try to appear confident and in doing so we become ugly.
We try to build ourselves up in front of others, desperate to make ourselves feel value, and somehow we feel even worse.
We have a very real enemy who knows that the key to us finding our strength and our purpose is deeply connected to our relationships with others.
We were never meant to do life as an island. We are made for community.
When we compete it divides us and the enemy wins.
When we work to build one another up, when we work to call out the gifts in one another, when we pray for and encourage each other, something really amazing begins to happen.
We start to find our strength. When we pour out our hearts, vulnerable to others, allowing them to pour into us. It is there that we are filled to overflowing.
We begin to find our completion. Complete in Christ and a healthy part of his body.
The #metoo campaign is a great picture of this. We are not alone and everyone has a story.
We are able to bring power, strength, courage, stability, worth, value, love, hope, etc to others when we link arms and say "we are in this together!".
This is the equality we are talking about in the definition of being a feminist.
It is making sure that we are all equal and on the same page and loving and accepting one another.
This doesn't mean we are all the same.
It just means everyone gets the same love, acceptance, and opportunity to live out their gifts as God may be calling them to do.
This is the TRUE heart of being a feminist.
No matter your gender.