Today I’m irritated because of my gender

women-leadersToday I have been irritated. Almost all day. For me, that in and of itself is enough to drive me crazy as I usually have a somewhat cheery disposition. But today is just not meeting my standards or expectations.

Some days are just like that. I guess today is that for me.

What got me off of the good ship lolly-pop and onto the train of irritation is a bit confounding. I mean six months ago, I wouldn’t have even noticed that which is currently under my skin like ringworm. I was happily naive, but now… well… my eyes are being opened.

I do not fit. I am single and 38. I am female and am gifted for leadership. To dream and scheme with other like minded folk, I usually am the only woman at the table. To have a co-hort in all the dreaming and implementing for  Kingdom good, has been a challenge to say the least. At least for the past few years. It was not until a year and a half ago that I’d ever experienced being on the outs because of my gender. In my previous contexts, I almost got annoyed with how much attention I was paid and how carefully people sought to include me, because of my gender. Now I’m in a context where I’m not a natural part of a circle of dreamers who think to include women.

I feel a bit odd even writing this as fear being labeled a woman’s libber or someone who just isn’t getting her way. Someone who is blaming difficult circumstance on her gender so she can point a finger at someone else. Isn’t that how it always goes? Women who want to be in leadership, should be content doing women’s ministry, working with children or dreaming with other women and those who want something more and are caught in a place of discomfort or exclusion are discontented women who are by their very nature complainers.

I am neither a complainer nor am I discontented by nature. But I am living in a place where I feel as though I must say something about the lack of inclusion to be heard or seen. This irritates me, mostly because it stirs inconvenient emotions and propels me to action that is uncomfortable. I now notice how regularly women are excluded, categorized or dismissed. I have to speak.

Today, I must bring these emotions and irritants to Jesus and ask him to show me what to do with them. I must first seek His wisdom before I react. I must weigh circumstances, words, perspectives and assumptions.  I must face the fact that I am tired of feeling different. I am tired of the reality that my femininity might actually keep me from being invited to the table, from having a voice that is heard, from having the freedom to use my gift mix, from being included in discussions because socially I don’t hang with the guys.

I know that there are women all over the world who desire to be heard. I know at the same time that there are women who have not felt the tension or exclusion of their sisters. I know that this subject creates discomfort. I know that there will be those who read these words and immediately dismiss me. I know that these words may bring tears to some for they too can identify  with this reality.

As I type I feel my irritation being turned toward compassion for those who have suffered greatly for circumstances out their control. We do not always choose our circumstances, but we can always, always choose our response to those circumstances. So tonight I choose hope and belief in a Savior who hears my voice, knows my frame, and prepares a table for me every day.


2 thoughts on “Today I’m irritated because of my gender

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Just yesterday I was really struggling with these same feelings in church, realizing that if I was a man, I would be up there preaching. But I’m not. I’m a woman in a pew who is relegated to speaking on Mother’s Day only. I only get asked to be a part of ministry leadership events if a woman is needed. It is frustrating. I hear your heart and share your burden.

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