#Write31Days – Post 24 – I am Woman

skaterboi

“I immediately prepared to deliver my ‘She’s allowed to use this park just as much as you guys’ speech,” Thomas wrote in a letter to the boy posted on Twitter after the encounter.  Instead, the boy told Peyton, “Your feet are wrong.  Can I help you?”

I came across a story yesterday on the internet.  A little girl had always wanted to learn to skateboard, but worried she couldn’t because it was a “boy’s sport”.  Her mother wanted to instill confidence in her daughter, and encouraged her to try anyway.  Skateboard in hand they walked into the local skatepark.  Her daughter struggled, as teen boys whizzed by.  Suddenly one of the teens approached her daughter.  The mother anticipated that he was going to chide her for even being there.  Instead, on bent knee he began to help the little girl, spending over an hour encouraging her and sharing his experience with her.

When I first read the story, I was just really impressed by the young man’s willingness to help.  As a mother of three girls, I am always encouraged when I read accounts of the fine young men who still exist in this world.  It is an affirmation that moms and dads are out there raising amazing young men.  When my sixteen year old came into the room, I decided to read the story to her because I thought it was cute.

I started to cry, almost from the beginning.  She thought I lost my mind, it was a cute story.  I couldn’t even get through some of the sentences without stumbling over words and blubbering.  Later we were talking about it and she asked why I was crying.

This is why:  I was that little girl, well over twenty years ago.    I remember being an oddity, and I honestly thought this mindset was something that changed long ago.  We have female skaters who are featured in magazines and skate competitions.  How in the world could a mom today walk into the skate park concerned that her daughter wouldn’t be accepted??

I remember being at a skatepark in 1996, I was a teenager and actually pretty good.  This was a new course for me, and I wasn’t familiar with all the of quirks of it.  I was there with my boyfriend at the time and a crew of six other guys.  We had a few runs in, and since I wasn’t exactly inexperienced I decided to try something new.  I wiped out, hard.  Really, really hard.

I started to cry, not heaping sobs, but just a response to the pain I was experiencing.  This wasn’t a common response for me, I nearly broke my hip once and still kept on skating without the bat of an eye.  So clearly, I was in serious pain.  My boyfriend skated by, glancing down briefly, and chided “skaters don’t cry” and kept on his way.  Perhaps he was trying to toughen me up, I don’t know.  It was the six other guys from the crew that came over, helped me up, and made sure I was ok.  They also gave him a stern ribbing for being such a jerk.

I was so embarrassed over crying, I did my best to let it roll of my back and move on with the day.  Into the evening, I was still hurting.  It would take a few days for me to fully recover. 

Now I look back on that time, and I wonder WHY.  Why did I think it wasn’t ok to cry?  Maybe skaters don’t cry, but I was a girl and I was hurt.  I responded in a perfectly normal way and hated myself for it.  When we bought into feminism, we bought into this idea that not only could women do everything that men could do… but that we would share their response.  If they could take a licking and not cry, so could we.  In toughing ourselves we were suppressing the very thing that made us women.

When God created man and woman, they were created equal.  They were also created differently.  Our approach to the same task will be different, our response to adversity will be different.  A difference in response doesn’t negate our ability to do the job or complete the task.  There will be things that come more naturally to men, but this doesn’t mean women can’t learn those same things.  There are some roles that come more naturally to women, but it doesn’t mean that men can’t learn to fulfill those same roles.

As women we need to be confident in our role as women, instead of putting barriers in what we can or can’t do because of gender…. I’d rather embrace that whatever I do, I will do it as a woman with her God given sensibilities.  I will learn, like a woman.  I will love, like a woman.  I will lead, like a woman.  I will worship God, like a woman.  I will read with a woman’s perspective.  I will write from a woman’s experience.   I can be wise, like a woman.  I can also be strong, like a woman.

And in those moments when I begin to question if I am strong enough…  or if I am being too strong.  I will cry, like a woman.

And some days…. I will laugh, like a woman.

I may have cried at the skatepark… but we all cry sometimes….

WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO, BUT WE DO…

cpiece

A very commonly reference scripture, that is thrown around for a myriad of reasons, is “be in the world, not of it”.   We use the scripture to explain why we are to behave differently, talk differently, act & react differently than non-believers.  For many it becomes a badge of honor, when ever they are living a “holy” life.  This holy life can be everything from not EVER using a curse word, drinking a drink, homeschooling their kids, dressing your kids in certain attire, not watching television, listening to only classic hymnals vs. contemporary praise music, Christian private schooling, demanding church attendance or service, etc.

So, if you have your daughters, dressed with their long hair in buns, no make up, dresses to their ankles, sleeves to their wrists and collars as high as their jaw line…. and someone of the faith says “hey, why do you do that?” — Your defense is “Duh, because we are to be in the world, not of it.”

And then, you (or I) will get offended that we even needed to say something to explain why we are so “different”.

Now before you get upset with me, just set that aside for a moment.

In the world of tattoos, it’s a common to hear complaints about being treated differently because you have a tattoo.  Same could be said of dying your hair a different color, or choosing to dress a certain way.  You’ll find this same mentality amongst anyone who chooses to be “different” than the status quo.

It’s an interesting paradox.  We act differently or look differently than the rest of society, yet we want to be treated the same way.  We purposefully go out of our way to be different, yet get offended when someone dares to ask us about it, comment about it (especially negatively), or even goes so far as to mock us for it.

As Christians, we make the conscious decision to be IN the world, not OF the world… and then take offense when that gets noticed & talked about.  And yes, I could agree that we shouldn’t HAVE to explain ourselves, but when you choose to be different you are choosing to defend that choice too.

Going a bit deeper, there are two reasons why we are not to be IN the world, that is behaving, acting, thinking, talking, spending, et’al like the rest of the world.

1)  It’s about our personally holiness.  If we do not allow ourselves to be put into places of temptation, we are actively working against sin.  No one will be sin free, Jesus was the only perfect person.  However, we can greatly diminish our sin capacity by removing ourselves from things “of this world”.

2)  It’s about reflecting Christ to others.  Others will take note of that difference in us, and thus are pointed to Christ.  Why, we do something becomes more important than the actual act itself.  When others notice that difference in us, it will cause conversation.  In those conversations, we are able to plant seeds.

Will we be mocked?  Certainly.  Jesus, himself, was mocked.   But, there will be those who are drawn to that difference & want to understand more.

So, when you choose to be “different”… be confident in that decision.  What ever you are doing (or not doing) is a conviction, laid upon you by the Holy Spirit.  There will be those who don’t understand… and some who don’t even want to understand.  And that, is ok.  You cannot expect the world at large to understand, accept or respect that difference.  It’s almost like you are speaking a different language.

It’s equally important to remember that how you respond to those critics is being watched too.  It not only blemishes us, but also the reflection of Christ in us.

We may hate having to explain ourselves, over and over again.   We need to examine the circumstances of our situation.  If it is a new person, then we have to remember that while we may have repeated this info a million times in our lifetime, it may be their first time hearing it (or attempting to understand it).  If this is someone we KEEP having this conversation with, yes it is frustrating, but if they are still asking… they care.   They are trying to understand, and yes… they may be even trying to convince you to change your mind.

We know that the things God asks of us as a group of believers, or individually, will be tested.  There will be those who speak against us.  How many called Noah a food for building an ark.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if they understand.  It only matters that we are obedient.   The choice to be angry, defensive, etc … that is your choice.  Instead of being surprised or upset by it, choose to anticipate the questions and reactions.  It takes the sting out & you are more likely to respond positively to the negative reactions of others.

“Obedience does not require understanding.” (The Matrix, Reloaded)