Janelle Alberts writes pithy Bible synopses and is a regular contributor to Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership. For more on Alberts visit janellealberts.wordpress.com.
Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of how-to-be-godly messages for women and they regularly circle around the same theme: don’t mouth off to men. Especially husbands.
Right. Good. Unless you’re Esther. Or Abigail. And your husbands are being idiots. In which case God says to stand up! Speak up!
Instead, churches tell women to strive for the Proverbs 31 Woman. I just now read that passage and no wonder everyone wishes to be her - the woman had servants.
How did it happen that the “godly” woman message from the pulpit began pushing women to be docile and sugary sweet?
What about our salt?
I get it that Eve is the one who gave the apple to Adam. Eve, Eve, Eve. If only you’d had a support system and access to an online chat group.
As for speaking up, if only Pontius Pilate had listened to his mouthy wife who warned him not to do it, no matter all the hollering going on outside.
As it stands, women feel guilty and confused. As a result, we shut up at all the wrong times.
Perhaps we have done it to ourselves, we women. We’re so competitive. Once we sink our teeth into how something is “supposed” to be, we stop reading/thinking/wondering/searching/praying and instead we’re ruthless in our pursuit to put an absolute label on those around us.
Many a righteous girl gang has cut me down to size with a look that says, “Your highlights look dull. You can’t quote the Luke Christmas verse on command. You don’t have an Honor Student bumper sticker for your minivan. Why you so happy?”
It’s not as if men benefit from homogenized preaching concerning women either. No guy comes home from a Sunday afternoon of golf without penalty to pay. The shiny church glow has worn off, the house is a wreck and the kids need a bath. Everybody pays.
Let me blaspheme here by taking liberty with a Helen Gurley Brown quote on what it takes for a woman to really be a woman. She said, “It takes guts.”
It takes guts to be an Esther. It takes guts to be an Abigail. It takes guts to approach and really know this God whom you have chosen to serve.
Take heart. Yours is the God who went to the home of Lydia, who gave Rahab a place in Jesus’ lineage and who saw it through with Sarah even though she laughed at His promise.
Yours is the God who longs for you to hear His still small voice, no matter the hollering going on outside.
That’s liberation if ever there was.
Janelle Alberts spent her early career in PR departments for Microsoft and UPS, boiling down logical, clear corporate messaging. She now attempts the same for Scripture, often featuring bits we’ve never heard, but wish we had, since knowing things like even Noah got tipsy & embarrassed his kids can help a girl rally to the end of the day. Find out more about Alberts here.