DISCLAIMER. You can skip the lengthy disclaimer part if you just want to get to the part where I speak about burning bras. But I would read the disclaimer. For context.
Let me just say this: I am not scared to challenge my own opinions. Because where there really is Truth, it won’t budge. I will.
My first priority in exploring topics like the minefield I am about to approach is to humbly acknowledge that my mind is still very much in the process of being renewed. I desire a Biblical worldview. Biblical, however, also implies dismantling religious or cultural or personal preference notions that have been accepted as immovable truth, but are not.
So, before you church-peeps assume that I am implying that all the presuppositions of liberal feminism are worthy of consideration, can I just say that my deepest personal allegiance is to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Submission and sanctification is an ongoing process of dying to self, as you would hopefully know. Selah.
And before you not-so-church peeps write me off as a religious zealot, can I just say that I am also committed to using my emotional intelligence, brain and common sense to make sure that what I believe and how I act is the honest-before-God-truth of what I profess to be a living reality. If you don’t see love and reasonableness in me, you don’t have to listen to one more word from me about Jesus. Because then I’m not representing Him right. Selah.
So, can we sort of hear each other out, and then not judge, either way …
I believe that the Spirit of Christ who dwells in a born-again Christian enables us to know Truth, ie Himself. He has given us His living truth in written form in the Bible. He also gives us His living Truth through the gifts of His Spirit. Wisdom, for example, is one of the gifts where we are given insight into what God thinks about stuff, so that we can align with that, and walk in the delight and freedom of obedience.
So, yes, I do believe in Truth. And I do believe humans can know Truth through revelation. By grace. I desire wisdom.
That is why I dive into my own worldview foundations, to test if how I act in particular situations is not perhaps the result of wrong thinking, often based on wrong theology. Or plain untruth. Or being stupid.
The math is simple.
Truth = freedom. Peace.
Untruth = not freedom. Striving.
This is what has lead me to venture into the topic of power dynamics in gender relationships.
I approach it from the most obvious area of “figuring stuff out” context in my life. It applies to numerous other (probably more important) contexts too.
END OF DISCLAIMER.
I sort of don’t want to write another word.
But that would not be very brave of me.
So, here goes.
I have always believed that it is a guy’s honour to decide to pursue a woman he thinks he might like. Then she get’s to decide if she likes being pursued, or not.
That’s sort of the order of things that has been taught to, and by me.
Baseline: If he likes you, he will find a way to show you, somehow. You don’t have to like him back. You just need to be nice and truthful in the process of figuring out whether or not you do.
Now, that’s a very sanitized way of going about it if he likes you first. It sort of derails the theory if you like him first.
Us decent church girls don’t actually know what we’re allowed to do with that second scenario. Seduction and manipulation aren’t really open to us as options in this game … anyway.
So, we’re sitting with the following:
If he’s not that into you, there is pretty much nothing that you can do about it. The message we give girls is: Don’t embarrass yourself. If you’re not the one he makes an effort with, he’s not the one you should be spending your emotional energy on. Move on. Run for the hills. Delete his number. Boycott yourself from being that girl … We’ve all seen the movie. Ugh.
So, anyone who has heard any form of church-y type relationship teaching would know that gender roles are very much defined in that sense. In recent years, at least. I don’t really see it play out that way in Song of Songs. But anyway.
I am not contending that order. I prefer that order. It sort of feels safer for the feminine heart, somehow, to be pursued romantically than to pursue, initially.
I also know from experience that it “works” better that way. A man will do what is in his heart to do. If you’re not in there, you simply aren’t. And vice versa. I have the utmost respect for that freedom of will to desire and choose. Utmost. I show that respect, and I expect that respect.
But I realised recently that something within that acceptance of the “leave him alone to choose to act on what’s in his heart, and there’s nothing you can actually do about it …” way of thinking, actually bugs me.
Even if I’ve sort of picked up (from guys) that it’s just the way it is … deal with it … It simply doesn’t feel like freedom, if you are the girl in that situation.
Listen, I have sucked it up more than what you can imagine.
I believe I speak from the type of street cred that has recovered from a few heartbreaks by guys who never even knew I liked them. Because I chose to shut-up and back-off and let time show me what they feel for me. That mostly also involves rocking the friendzone, crying in my pillow, and then befriending their new girlfriends.
Others knew, because I told them. The ones I tell are the ones I need to get boundaries in place in order to preserve a friendship that I value more than a crush. They know who they are, obviously. Laughs all around.
On the other hand, some guys also hoped that I might reciprocate their feelings, and were brave in making their intentions known, and I had to be the one honest about what wasn’t in my heart. They also know who they are, and that I respect them immensely for acting on their convictions.
It’s not easy to be in either scenario of non-aligned affections.
So, this isn’t three years of waiting and honoring and choosing to let go, ladies and gentlemen. This is more like 20 years of figuring out how to live this stuff out for emotional freedom to be an experienced reality, regardless of what someone else feels or doesn’t feel.
And my recent unravellings has to do with me, not anyone else. I think I’m wrong in how I’ve thought about this, and how I have thought about myself in this. I need to change. I need to get a new perspective.
To some it might sound like feminism. Women’s lib. Burn the bra.
But I sort of like my bra. It’s practical. And pretty. So, it’s not really that. I think.
There’s the bra thing out of the way then …
Methinks this is probably actually just part of the process of being healed in my sense of self-worth.
So, here’s the fundamental problem I have with how I’ve personally been “waiting to be pursued”:
In this submission to my assigned gender role of being the one who has to wait to be pursued, I have learned to actually completely deny the legitimacy of my own desires.
I have never truly allowed myself to act overtly on what I feel for a guy. For some weird reason, I told myself that what I feel, doesn’t count.
My feelings are nullified. Made void. Declared invalid. By myself.
I think I have never valued myself enough to actually believe that what I want, as a woman, matters.
And that is obviously not Biblical. Even if you take ‘love does not seek it’s own’ into consideration.
I’m obviously going to have to deal with this, on a deeper level. A Jesus heals level.
This is not the “fault” of any man. I’m not contending for anything. You will never find me in in a “fight” for equality. You will find me grappling in the spaces where people’s worldviews are being liberated to simply live as equals. There is a fundamental difference. That applies to race as much as to gender.
So, in a sudden turn of events, from the girl who tells other girls to “wait for his move, and get on with your life”… I begin to wonder if what I have been practicing as relational truth, especially in the area of romantic initiating, reflects the truth of the liberty I profess to have in Christ.
Am I allowed to like a guy, and do something (pure and sincere) about it?
Experience and instinct says: No. Wait. You will be sought-after and pursued when it’s right.
Experience also says: You’ve been living under the fruitless tyranny of self-denial for years.
Can you see why this is a freaking minefield …
I’m sort of going to pull the pin, and then tap out there. For now.
Like I said in the beginning. My mind is being renewed. Terms and conditions apply.
May we have many more meaning, respectful and fruitful conversations that lead to liberty …
Freedom of choice is a basic human right, right?