Women Can’t Have it All

I wrote this post a couple of years ago at a very hard time in my walk and in my life in ministry. I didn’t share it because I decided to sit on it for a long time and see if it still rang true and might resonate with others. I decided that it still rings true today.

I read something by a pretty controversial author on Twitter, that said…”there’s no other people group on earth who has it easier than women.” Typically, I’m fine with blanket statements like this one as long as the author has experience in the area. But, seeing as how he is a man….it’s pretty hard to take him seriously.

While I agree women in America have it easier than women in let’s say…Iran…there’s no doubt that women in America simply do not have it easier than men. They just don’t.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about so many things lately and that tweet put me over the edge. So, I decided to put my thoughts on paper. Some may call me angry, some may call me bitter, but I just call myself a woman who happens to be in ministry. And a mom to 3 girls.

*These experiences DO NOT all directly relate to my time in ministry. They span my time in the workforce in general.

In large ministry settings one of two things are assumed: I’m the children’s minister or I’m the wife to one of the pastors.

I’m seen as cranky and bossy when I disagree. I’m seen as “irrational” if I become emotional.

I’ve got too much on my plate because I’m busy. My counterparts are successful.

If I’m a leader in direct contact with a male boss, it must be because there’s something fishy going on. Or, it “looks bad.”

I’m interrupted more.

My opinions are recycled as their opinion and idea. If they like it.

I was once told it was shocking I was so smart.

I don’t want to be a stay at home mom. And I’m a Christian who truly LOVES the Lord. This is hard for people to accept or even agree with.

People have used this reason as an excuse for being sexist when I’ve called them out. They say something like: “But, I really love women.” No kidding. All men do. They love their moms, if they are heterosexual they love women in a physical way, if they are a girl dad they love their daughters. Don’t mistake love for women as respecting them in the workplace.

This is not a pity post because I’ve been so oppressed and discriminated against. That would be a lie. I’ve had it pretty good and live a great life. However, if you think women aren’t discriminated against you are lying to yourself. Some of the biggest ways the church has blatantly gotten it wrong are primarily female issues. Our narrative about abortion, sexual assault, premarital sex, women in the workplace, etc.

I have to think the reason is this. In ministry Jesus surrounded himself with women. I have to also believe He heeded their counsel if needed. However, we’ve primarily set up our leadership in ministry to be men riding solo. Sure, they may have women on staff but they typically aren’t in the room outside of women’s or children’s ministry decisions. I just don’t believe Mary was excused when Jesus was finished talking about the little children.

On the flip side this often happens. Perhaps women do have a leadership position. Perhaps they have a seat at the table. Perhaps they are smart and their opinion is valued by another leader. For whatever reason that is often threatening and must be shut down immediately. It must be stopped. So how do we stop it? Take away their credibility. Yell affair. Yell emotions. Yell irrational mother. If they push for change, accuse them of not really understanding how it works. Try to talk above their heads to prove this point even more. Shake your head when they are talking and cause others to question their credibility. Keep it up until they decide it’s not worth it.

Because make no mistake they will decide it’s not worth it.

Women have an advantage over men. They can walk away easier because they have been trained to do so. Women will make the decision their family is worth more. Of course there are some women that allow pride to stop them from doing that, but it’s not the majority. Pride brings down men in the workplace and in ministry far more often than women.

So can women have it all? Yes. How? Because we will choose Jesus and our family most every time. Our success may not happen in worldly terms, but it will happen. And we will be closer to the Lord because of it. Jesus was the ultimate champion of women. He didn’t just love them as a man loves his mom. He respected them. He gave them authority. He surrounded himself with them. He leaned on them. And he valued them. And just to be clear: Women don’t have it easier.

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