Sometimes, we must pause, take a deep breath, believe and as we exhale, release all our preconceived ideas and emotive reactions.
It’s been a long, interesting, and challenging year of politics.
Australian General elections, British ‘Brexit’ and the USA Presidential vote.
To say it’s been tiring would be an understatement. To say I’ve learned a lot about people and myself is also an understatement. The roller-coaster ride of emotional reaction, crazy lack of understanding, and the bizarre platforms that have turned all three of these countries on their heads, has left me slack-jawed and confused.
How can decisions like these be made with such obvious and blatant divisiveness, discrimination, anger and hatred, acted out under the banner of democracy and freedom?
The challenge throughout all of this has been to search and understand authenticity and, for me, what that looks like for a woman.
Much has been made about women rising to leadership roles, and in the past, I have laughingly said that to get a job done give it to a busy woman. I am now at that point where I need to know the truth.
To ease my increasingly agitated state of mind, I went to the source of my life. My creator. The word of God says that he would make a woman for Adam.
“I will make a power [or strength] corresponding to man.” (Genesis 2:18)
Other translations say:
‘I shall make a helper fit for him’ (RSV);
‘I will make a fitting helper for him’ (New Jewish Publication Society);
‘I will make an aid fit for him’ (AB);
‘I will make him a helpmate’ (JB);
‘I will make a suitable partner for him’ (NAB);
‘I will make him a helper comparable to him’ (NKJV).
Gender has become a pawn in many debates and campaigns. Women have fought for generations to fill the role that God created them for with authenticity. To correspond to man. To be a helper. To fulfil their role as a child of God.
Our Western culture has placed an unbearable and unrealistic expectation on women which has been accepted as the norm for generations.
I may be wrong, but my observations have led me to feel that there is something illegitimate about women being in any position at the top, be that business, politics or organisations. If they get there, it is expected they are not just better than any man, but perfect. No flaws are tolerated. Through the many political and public changes, it seems that some have judged women in leadership more harshly than men. Particularly when – as all humans do – they stumble and make mistakes. Do we expect them to be more compassionate and unselfish than we do men? Do we demand they be humbler and more self-abased? These are questions I have struggled with as I watched the world stage seemingly spiralling out of control.
Just look at the weird equivalency people have made about Hillary Clinton’s mistakes, damned for being “careless” over her emails, but above all standing beside her unfaithful husband and working towards reconciliation in her marriage. Julia Gillard’s every move was ruthlessly scrutinised when she was PM. Her empty fruit bowl, earlobes, unflattering jackets, and “deliberate” childlessness were discussed, criticised and judged without mercy. Anna Bligh, Joan Kirner, Kristina Keneally, Carmen Lawrence, Cheryl Kernot, the list goes on. The corridors of our parliaments are littered with the bodies of scorned, vilified and ridiculed women who had the gall to aspire to lead.
I am a woman.
I believe God created women to be warriors. The man to be the protector. Both equal in God’s eyes – both inexhaustible, ferocious, relentless co-creators with God. He had a reason to create gender, but relationships between two people are not two halves that make one whole, but two wholes that make a partnership.
God made us each individually, unique. As a woman, I am learning that I am not made whole by being with another, I am only made whole when I am doing God’s will and purpose for my life.
The warrior in me needs to fight for everything that’s worth having: truth, grace, forgivingness and faith.
To be authentic is to ‘represent one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.’
I want to be brave, I want to be a warrior, I want to be authentic.
The bravest people are those who’ve walked through the fire and come out the other side. They have overcome. They are not those who’ve had nothing to overcome. They are those who have walked through pain, frustration and the unknown, conquered their fears and doubts. They are authentic.
Men and women, faithful to God and always willing to admit they may be wrong.
As a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife and a child of God, I want to walk through the struggles in myself and others, supporting hand in hand to reach the final goal. Now that may be all different things, but being a loving, open witness and participator, means I am willing to be a helper. I want to do the hard things, say the hard things, feel the array of emotions and above all follow my calling.
I want to be a person who is willing to sit quietly and hold the space for another, stand vigil over any obstacle that may be in the way, but ultimately be strong in the knowledge that God is truth and love, and this is what will prevail.
Threats, language that disparages another, exclusion, discrimination, behaviour that stirs strife or humiliates – these things will perish. It’s part of my journey to learn to stare at pain, fear, doubt, anger, hatred head on, and simply surrender to God’s grace and mercy and move through as a warrior.
I have often quoted scriptures that confirm that God loves me. I’m saved from sin by the cross and the blood; there is redemption and forgiveness for me. I am now adding to my consciousness and my words, that so is ‘every other human being’ regardless of gender, nationality, beliefs, skin colour, language or motivation. God loves ALL.
There’s nothing that you or I can do to make God love us any more than He does. We are loved.
Life builds beauty on the inside. What you read, what you watch, what you say, like, and admire its filling us up with the things we love and cherish. I do not need or seek for the beauty of this world; it changes with styles and opinions. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes that just means they pursue ‘the look’ the ‘trend’, but beautiful people are concerned with what they see and look at.
Beauty is authentic. It is within me: warm, safe, and curious. Willing to seek for more.
It’s not for me to judge, ponder, worry or influence others’ lives, I only have to remember that God loves them and me.
Not surprisingly, when anyone is put under constant surveillance and deprived of meaningful privacy, most people eventually reveal human flaws. It’s a sad reality this now seems the norm in the media, broadcasted and publicised, until the flaws become more famous than the person. Until they come to define and contain, and render character destruction.
I want to be real, not being complicit in the disparaging of another’s reputation or their life with lies and innuendos. I don’t want to share in the seeming pleasure that is taken in demolishing or turning anyone into a two-dimensional villain.
I want to be a strong and powerful, authentic woman. One who forgets to look on the outside and judge what I see, and one that has enough of God’s beauty on the inside to cherish that person just by being in their presence.
I have a role and a purpose. From today I’m going to learn the ways of fulfilling that role with grace, understanding, reflection and personal scrutiny of my authenticity.