It’s Women’s Month and I’ve been honored to speak in two places on March 8 for the occasion. I’m no feminist. Even back in college, I was inclined to read Marxist and Psychoanalytical theories than Feminist.
Much of that I feel is because I never had the need to be recognized as a woman. My family is one of dominant and hardworking women. I never felt my brothers look at women as a gender too weak, too shy or that we should be less opinionated than men. And that had a lot to do with my strong and wise mother. They didn’t have a hard time believing women can because my mother can.
But why does it have to be the wives to submit?
When I married, I must admit that submission became a struggle. But that’s because it is simply hard to follow someone’s orders. Think about how we all know this from childhood. No one exactly wanted to obey one’s parents all the time, right? Add that the Biblical definitions of leadership and submission are not exactly like how the world thinks it to be.
Very briefly, godly leadership is servant-leadership which takes after the model of Jesus. We, women, are not asked for some blind submission to an authoritarian or tyrant husband, but to one who will serve his family best, as Jesus served the church best. (Remember: Jesus died for the church. That’s how He served us all.)
Now, submission also takes after the model of Jesus. If He is equally God with the Father, why does Jesus have to be the one to die on the Cross? Why not His Dad, right? But Jesus, nonetheless gives the gift of submission as a loving act to the Trinity. And we all know that His choice to honor His Father only led to Jesus’ own exaltation.
Carefully studying the Bible should open our eyes to the truth that even when Jesus chose to humble Himself to the point of becoming a human, it never became an issue of hierarchy between the persons of the Trinity. Instead, they served, complimented and praised one another with no regard for their individual rights. In short, they truly worked as One God, which is how man and wife should be –as one.
Biblical leadership and submission are not about who gets who to do what. But that when one is leading, the other benefits, and in their selflessness, the best of benefits go to their marriage. I guess that only when we see leadership and submission in this light, will it cease to be a contest between a man and a woman, and be a picture of the selfless nature of God’s love, isn’t it?
Now that was not very brief. Sorry to have been sidetracked. Yet, I could not go on without explaining such crucial information that others might miss and mistake me as giving in to longstanding biases and stereotypes for women. This is not true. I am well aware that in some areas of life, in some parts of the world, inequality for women still abounds. Or, that man-woman relationships still boil down to a superior-inferior kind of relationship.
At the women’s day celebration last Wednesday, I was asked “If you had a daughter, what would you tell her today?” With such a brilliant question like that, I told myself I had to blog my answer.
Here are the ten I came up with:
- Don’t let your gender get in the way of your calling. If you know you are the person to do the job, do it. Lean in, even when you think it is getting in the way of other people.
- If God gives me a chance to do life all over again, I’d still choose to be a woman. I am happy being a woman. I love being one.
- Your Papa’s life is enriched by so many women. You, me, his mother, his staff, his peers. Men need us and we need men too. A wise woman once said, “It takes us all.”
- If you will marry, make sure he is a man who is for women. He must be like your Papa, who is deliberate in creating opportunities for women to prove themselves worthy of leadership positions. Don’t choose a man who think women are less. You will be an unhappy wife, with not even a thriving hobby at home. Better be single for the rest of your life than hide your brilliance just because of a man’s inability to appreciate such valuable team members in women, especially in you.
- Femininity is not a weakness. Being soft, gentle, nurturing, emotional, kind, do not cancel out one’s strength. In fact, these contribute to the wisdom, insight and power that are unique to women.
- Women are leaders. Well, just think about the following: Who does all the logistics for the kids? Who births the babes? Who nurses them and puts them to sleep? Who fills the pantry, goes on a weekly menu planning, oversees house staff, plans parties, makes sure to get the gifts? And who still has enough energy left to take on a business or a corporate job?
- If you feel biases against you as a woman, acknowledge it. If it’s there, let it be. Don’t deny it, yet do not be trumped by it.
- If you feel like being a woman limits you in some areas then do remember that the other gender is limited, too. Both genders are. Stereotypically, you might be challenged to be rational. Stereotypically, men might be challenged to be more relational. This may be your issue, may be not, but the point is, we all need to improve. No one is spared of the need to develop. So don’t fret about your limits as a woman, but spend your time instead on how you can improve yourself.
- Queens don’t carry their belongings but her staff does. It’s because her dress is heavy enough, and so is the weight of leading an entire nation. You’re a queen, baby. And queens are not sissies, they’re extremely strategic and strong.
- Don’t let the world define you. Instead, find your definition in the Intelligent Designer and I promise, you’d be so encouraged at the kind of blessing He has made women to be. (You can actually read my series about it this month. Or maybe, just browse the book I may have already published come your time!)
Happy Women’s Month, ladies. We’re a lovely gender!