Here’s what I want you to do: Make a mental list of your top 5 leaders in the Body of Christ that you learn from or you consider to be a mentor to you. They don’t have to be people you personally know. They can be authors or preachers that you follow online.
Now how many of those people on that list are women? MANY of the people I ask to do this, even egalitarians, pick all men or mostly men.
Could it be that we as women subconsciously don’t trust women?
Moment of truth: When I tried this same little exercise, almost a year ago, I picked mostly men theologians on my list too. As I got to thinking about it, the teachers I had favored in college were normally men, every gynecologist I’d had throughout my life was a man, my kids’ pediatricians were all men, and if I needed big advice…. yep, you guessed it: without ever even realizing it, my wise counsel consisted mostly of men.
It wasn’t because I don’t know any credible women teachers, pastors, theologians, leaders, etc. In fact I realized that even my “inner circle” of trusted people in real life didn’t contain as many credible women as it did men.
This opened my eyes and made me really examine my heart to ask myself why was I not trusting women leaders to speak into my life? Sometimes we have subconscious thought tendencies that we have to address and confront within ourselves. Sometimes it’s that we were wounded when we were younger. I think part of the healing process is forgiving any women who hurt us over the course of our life, whether they meant to or not.
If we want to further the egalitarian cause then here’s a list of things that I know need to change:
WE NEED TO TRUST ONE ANOTHER.
We need to support one another.
We need to stop competing with one another.
We need to rejoice in one another’s victories.
We need to mourn with one another’s losses.
We are sisters. Your victories are my victories. When you hurt I hurt. When you win I win; our daughters win. We are not enemies. We are not a problem. We are solutions to problems. We are princess warriors. We are not afraid. We are not alone. We have each other.
Let’s talk about Mary and her cousin Elizabeth:
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:39-45
What would the Body of Christ look like if we could run to our sisters during our most vulnerable time in life? Mary was carrying a promise but life wasn’t easy for her. She was able to run to her cousin. Not only did Elizabeth already divinely know Mary’s news, but Elizabeth was able to rejoice with Mary who this great honor was bestowed upon. Why? Because Elizabeth knew she carried her own promise. Different, but equally wonderful.
I pray that we can be an Elizabeth to someone in our lifetime. I pray we can each be a safe place for a sister, protecting her, protecting her promise, protecting her calling, and nourishing that sister with joy.
Women: Will you trust me? Will we trust one another?
It’s time to be intentional about promoting our sisters. It’s time to consciously decide to trust the women teachers, women theologians, preachers, prophets, etc. Can I promise you won’t get hurt? Nope. I’m sorry, but I can almost guarantee you WILL experience hurt.
But we will heal together too. We will forgive together and we will love with now restraint. I love you sis. Let’s do this.
Check out Amber Picota’s Book, God’s Feminist Movement. Find out more about Amber at amberpicota.com.
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Coming from a guy…excellent! (Not that you need affirmation from me…)
We must come to an understanding that both men and women have something to share. Men could learn from women mentors. My favorite two teachers–and one was indeed a mentor–when I was in High School were both women.
Lillian Cohagen (Mz Co) brought me out of myself as a theatre, speech, and English teacher. My life was completely changed because of her influence. I am proud to call her my mentor, friend, and leader during that time in my life!
As I thought of 5 mentors I would say today 3 are women and 2 men. If asked me several years ago I would have listed maybe 1 woman and 4 men.
It would not be due to not trusting women it would be because I was involved in evangelical churches that didn’t allow women up front and center of anything. Only men were allowed to be in charge and visible.
So since all women had to stay quiet and in the background and for support and submission only there were not really any women to share and lead or to learn from, unless you wanted to know how to organize your house better, to train up your children , to cook great meals on a responsible budget, be a good little obedient and submissive wife, then yes there were plenty of help with that. But what was funny those classes teaching these things in church of course were men. The women were present to shake their heads yes in total support.
So now that I no longer attend these type of churches and no longer am forced to drink the cool-aide. God in his blessings and mercy has brought me out of this. I now am getting to know, grow and learn from some pretty awesome women. I can’t thank and praise my God enough for rescuing me and growing me. The best thing of all is my relationship with my God.
One more comment. To complete the list as a guy it is not surprising that most of my mentors were men. But I would say the five most important people I have learned and grown from were three men and two women. I mentioned “Mz. Co” who was perhaps my first mentor (and who still exerts a profound influence on my life even though she passed away over 20 years ago). I would add that my wife of 36 years has profoundly shaped me. She is the analytical perfectionist while I am the laid back slob. I have learned how to be disciplined from her.
The three men are 1) my father (unlike some, I had a fantastic relationship with my dad), 2) a senior minister (I was a youth minister for nearly two decades) I respected and admired, and 3) a veteran minister and author who was well known in my tribe and circle. Interestingly enough, while my father would have been called a complementarian (I think he would have eventually changed his view–because I know him well), the two ministers I mentioned welcomed the day women could stand and be recognized.
I appreciated what you had to say about Mary and Elizabeth and am looking forward to reading your new book.
That being said, I honestly don’t feel the same way as you do. Maybe it’s because I was brought up in an all-sister family, and went to an all-girl school, but I have found so much encouragement and love from women in my life. I have been nurtured and blessed and strengthened by the ones who have stood with me. I didn’t have a mentor, but that’s because back in the day, when I began to minister, there was hardly a female minister around and those that were, were concentrating on their own ministry. Because of that, I determined to be a mentor and have mentored dozens and dozens of women in leadership (and guys as well) and have found those women to be good friends, and all the more so as they grew to their own stature and it was no longer a mentoring relationship but one of sisterhood. We put each other forward for all sorts of stuff and it’s a reciprocal thing.
I value men, but I value women also, and look any of them that I am in relationship of trust with. I think that ‘mean girls’ are as common as ‘mean guys’. Some people are just like that, but they’re not as plentiful as people would have us believe.
Thanks for putting yourself out there, because it’s a great message that we need each other.