The other night I found myself on what was… Kind of a date. Though, neither of us called it that. To be honest I think we both looked at it like a “test the waters” date, a pre-date date.
So I’m at dinner across from this guy and we’re talking, catching up about our families, life, God, the Bible… Halfway through dinner, all of the sudden, I saw him begin to squirm. I asked him what was up and he said there was something he wanted to talk to me about. Which judging by his body language he was nervous to bring up. I told him to just say whatever it was. He did then, I just did not expect what he was going to say.
He started talking about what the Bible says about women and their role–I mean, lack of role–in the church. Then he proceeded to talk about a woman’s role as a wife and mother, according to the Bible.
Now it was my turn to squirm.
Anyone who knows me knows I would be ready to cut dinner short and say, “Peace out, buddy!” But I sat, and listened, knowing this guy to have a good heart and knowing he must have a reason for wanting to discuss this with me.
We discussed it, I argued, I tried not to find offense–knowing he was not coming at me with any of this, he was just wanting to talk about it. And he was nervous to talk about it with me, since I’m pretty good at flying my feminist flag when any men are around. We discussed women leading in the church. We discussed a working mom vs a stay at home mom. I said multiple times that I don’t want to be “just a mom”. He asked me how I could belittle such a vital role. I said to him, “I’m not belittling it, I have a huge maternal heart, I can’t wait to adopt a bunch of kids and be their mom. But I don’t want the only lives I impact in my life to be my children’s.”
We made it through dinner without me dipping out, we then moved onto a coffee shop, and after the coffee shop we moved onto just walking around. The hours passed by and our conversation continually circled back to that discussion of what the Bible says about women.
And each time we came back to the conversation I think I unclenched more about the subject. It’s very interesting having a conversation like that with a man. I feel like I discuss it often with different women in different stages of life, but talking to a guy about it definitely made me more defensive, as if he was threatening to take something from me just by bringing it up. He wasn’t, we were just talking. It’s interesting though to hear from a man of God what an attractive woman of God looks like to them. What was more interesting was processing the whole conversation with my brother later and hearing him echo what my friend said.
When the guy and I parted ways at the end of the night I found myself laughing all the way home. I had a great time and we had a lot of really good conversations, but I guess I didn’t expect the theme of the night to be what a Biblical woman’s role is.
But now a funny thing is happening… I’m really looking at my attitude and opinion of what being a woman is.
If you’re a woman and you’re anything like me, you freak out at that word “submit”. But submission and roles are things that people who claim to be the church have royally jacked up over the years. Now we dread them, we fear them, we get defensive and lash out, feeling like someone is trying to put us in a box. Things that were intended to provide safety and freedom we now view as a cage.
It’s a funny thing to be challenged in an area that you feel you have every right NOT to be challenged in.
*My last intention with sharing this story was to start a debate on motherhood–all moms are heroes, period. The way you do what you do is up to you… I’m just trying to figure out how I want to do motherhood one day.