I was afraid but now I am me.
I love Sarah Bessey’s work. I found her blog in 2013, as I was beginning to understand that being a Christian feminist was possible. For many years, I’d embraced being very pro-women in many respects but never thought calling myself a feminist was ok. I had seen just how powerful, lovely and capable women are. And I was confused at why they weren’t allowed at pulpits, why I almost never saw them on stage at chapel and why there was only one woman in the Biblical Studies department (who taught a women’s only version of an evangelism class).
I went into Christian college knowing I didn’t fit with their ideals, knowing I probably wouldn’t fit with the theology of many of the people there. And at first, I was ok with that. But then it began to get to me. In my weakest points, I felt like I didn’t fit. Because I struggled with my assignments and didn’t want to leave the school engaged. Because I believed that women should be on the chapel stage just as much as men. (Aside: when I told a male classmate this, he said it was harder for men to relate to women. How do you think I feel buddy?)
But it was in one class where I embraced that I was a feminist. Because with every piece of theology I was presented, with every piece of worldview I was supposed to hold onto as a good christian, I found myself almost always believing the opposite and yet I still loved Jesus just as much. I believed women had as much rights as men and that egalitarianism was okay, that it was the best fit for me. I believed that we needed to listen to scientists when it came to climate change, instead of dismissing it. I believed that we needed to treat the LGBT community with respect and love, rather than shaming them or deliberately misunderstanding them.
I wish I could tell you that decision made me feel freer, but it didn’t. Not at first. I felt like a fraud, like maybe I wasn’t listening to the voice of The Spirit, but myself. This despite knowing that the whispers to my soul could only come from The Spirit. But now I do. I feel more like myself, like I am capable of loving the way I’m supposed to.
And there are still times I feel out of sorts. There are still things I’m working through. Hearing sermons are still hard. I can’t watch chapel from my old school, and I don’t know if I ever will be able to. I don’t worry, now is not forever in my journey. Instead I go forward, knowing I will go where I am meant to be.
This is a synchopost linking up to Sarah’s blog, in honor of her book release. Check out Sarah’s site and the other stories there. And be sure to check out Sarah’s new book Out of Sorts. My official review will be going up in the next couple days.