Hello there everyone!
I cannot wait for you to read today's column. Molly's heart worship is so sweet and genuine. For more info about Molly and her ministry, you can check out her blog www.itsallrightthere.org.
I love being a woman. I love everything about it. I love femininity, I love relationships and all the “lovey-dovey” stuff we get stereotyped for, I love the chick flicks and the flowers and the dresses and the makeup. I love the strength of a woman - the ability to overcome great obstacles, to fight fiercely for the ones she loves, to rise to any occasion, and to do it all with grace and beauty. It has saddened me to watch our society slowly, but surely, change the expectations on women. We are, in short, being forced to be just like men in order to feel equal and look equal and to be respected by our female peers. The message I feel I am receiving is this: If you don’t want to be just like a man and have all the things a man has, you’re failing as a woman. I know this has leeched into every area of life already - I fear it may leech into the worship/church leadership area of our lives as well.
I am not a feminist in the traditional sense of the word. I am comfortable with the differences between men and women and I want to keep it that way. On the other hand, I’m not a person who claims that “women belong in the home and nowhere else.” I believe women have a lot to offer the Church and historically we have been called on to fill gaps and lead where there has been desperate need. I also believe that what a woman brings to the worship table, specifically, is really beautiful and unique. My dear desire for women everywhere is to experience the freedom to be exactly who God made us to be, as females and as leaders. It can be both. We can be both gentle and strong. We can be both relational and visionary. We can be both humble and confident.
In my experiences of leading, both on and off the stage, the struggle has been coming to terms with who I am and what my gifts can offer to a group of people. We each, as individuals, have to learn to love our own gifts and personalities and to be confident in who God made us. We also have to come to terms with our weaknesses and address any issues that may arise because of them. On top of this, women have a little extra work to do. We need to be confident that we are where God has called us to be. We need to be aware of the environment God has put us in, the challenges that may exist with our co-workers and the volunteers under us, etc. We need to be sure we know who we are and what we’re about. I feel that because there’s often already a hidden (or maybe not so hidden!) attitude about whether we are right for the job and whether we can handle it, women need that extra dose of confidence and grace under fire. This comes from being deeply rooted in the Vine, tethered to His will and drinking directly from the Source of life. Keep in mind, confidence and servant leadership are different than defensive, territorial guardianship of your position. It may feel like you need to be on guard with your fences up, but I promise - serving is better. Grace is better. Humility is better. It pays off in the end, even if only to save you from sinking to the level of those who would see you fail.
Remember that while women have struggles and strengths unique to being female, our male counterparts have struggles and strengths as well. Neither side should be seeking to put the other down or become the better sex. Being a confident female leader should include blessing the men in your life, offering them respect whenever you can, and choosing to build them up. Men have a unique calling from the Lord and they also have unique weaknesses which make them vulnerable to the attacks of the Enemy (as do we!). You can choose to celebrate them for who they are, just as we so often wish to be celebrated! I believe if women are to be “equal” in all eyes, it will be because we chose to be gracious, while not being ashamed or chased away from leadership. I believe it will be because we served well and built up those around us, not because we competed and beat them in every arena. That is not how the Kingdom of God will advance. That is not His design for the Church or for the sexes.
On stage, I know that aspects of my femininity, the things about us that make us different from men - these are often the very things I rely on to be effective and these are the things that I know God uses so often to reach the congregation. When it comes to music, especially worship music, nothing can make me cry faster. I am relational and transparent - I love to share! And don’t we all? Isn’t that what makes our women’s retreats and our girls’-night-outs so great? I am also strong in what I believe and know is true. So I use that on stage! I share my heart, I share what’s been true for me the past week, I encourage people to lean into Biblical truth, I cry so often, it’s become a running joke at our Church! But I wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither would my people. They feel comfortable opening up with me, the feel comfortable being vulnerable in worship because I have gone before them. That is the job of any worship leader, and I feel as women we have so much to offer in this area!
In wrapping up, I suppose my encouragement is this: be who you are. Be who God made you to be. Be strong & confident in your gifts and your talent and your leadership. Don't try to be a man, don’t try to be like another leader you admire. Find what makes you you and go for it. Focus on loving God and the people around you, becoming more like Jesus each day and giving His love away to the world. I believe God created us male and female for a reason. I believe that together, we reflect the wholeness of a perfect God. You have a purpose - to reflect a beautiful part of who God is. Being a woman is a fierce and wonderful thing. We have so much to offer the worship world and the world at large. I am so blessed to be part of that.