Right now I am reading the book Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere, and it's challenging me to rise up as a woman of God and affect change in my world. My personality is not very confrontational, and I tend to be easily intimidated and fearful. But this book is stirring so much in my heart.
I love it when Christian women recognize that we're not subjugated, subordinated, or unequal to men. I once wrote a paper about this in a graduate course--that the Church has long used authority, intimidation, and fear to "quiet" women. But Lisa's book urges us to step out of that place of "quietness." Like the paper I once wrote, she, too, is disappointed in the historical position the church has taken: "I am saddened that the church was not the first to confront gender inequality" (p. 44). Instead, she is calling for women to awaken as lionesses--fierce and capable of changing our world. She writes, "Strength is not to be feared; it is to be embraced. Do not make the mistake of imagining meekness to be weakness. It is tempered strength or might under control" (p. 24).
Although I'm not all that outspoken on most issues, I have long been frustrated to see women put down in the Church, in the home, in the workplace, etc. Maybe it's because I've been around academics for the last 8 years, but I've come to see inequality on so many levels. A professor of mine once joked with me that it's okay to be a Christian feminist; in fact, he said, Jesus was probably more of a feminist than anyone else in the Church since then. And he was right--study scripture, and you'll see that Jesus stood up for women, gave women positions of authority, and did not silence women.
So, reading this book, I've been asking God what it means to be a lioness. I feel a little funny even saying the word... but what does it mean for me to rise up, be fierce and capable, and affect change in my world?
Well, I'm thinking He gave me a trial run yesterday...with a spider. Hal has been out of town this week, and yesterday, I had to kill a big, brown spider in our bathroom. I have a dreadful fear of spiders, and I spent a good 15 minutes in the bathroom, standing there frozen, crying, staring at the spider, and knowing there was no one there to kill it for me.
It's a silly thing, and I know it, but it was no small feat either. I really hate spiders that much. All I could think was, "You've not given me a spirit of fear..." After I had put on Hal's jeans (for some reason, I felt the need for big and baggy?) and his boots (yes, again, about five sizes too big)--and I felt as secure as possible--I whispered, "Daddy, help me" and let out the loudest scream. In seconds, it was over, and I threw off Hal's boots and sat on the edge of our bed. Heart pounding. Crying. And then I laughed at myself for being so ridiculous. I mean, while living in London, I chased the man who mugged me for four blocks before giving up. If that's not bravery (or stupidity?), I don't know what is.
If God is awakening a lioness in me and if He's calling me to be fierce and capable, then what if yesterday was not just about killing a spider? What if the spider means something more?
I have so much to learn about fear and intimidation--two words God has been teaching me about for over a year now, but I open my heart to learn, and I open my ears to listen for His voice: "Awaken Lioness."