We’ve spent the last four weeks in the H.E.R. series, where we’ve looked at the ways we treat and think about women in our world. It is very important to us that Pulpit Rock Church be a safe place for people to tell their stories. Here is one of those stories.
I was raised in the church by very wonderful parents. I was taught the usual things on how to be a God loving woman. While most of what I was taught was good, I have in recent years realized that there are points of shame that were placed on me. One of which was the overreaching responsibility to make men have pure minds by how I act and dress. It caused me to feel responsible, ashamed and trapped when men gave me inappropriate attention.
The earliest I can remember feeling afraid of my own beauty was about nine years old. I remember an older man, around 25, commenting on how I would grow up and turn men’s heads. That is when I resolved to be a tomboy and try as best I could to hide that beauty.
At 16 I felt stirred in my heart to fast and pray for 30 days. It was in that time that God worked in my heart to connect me to my femininity again. I sensed that God was saying, “I made you a woman for a reason. Be who I have created you to be.” The journey of embracing my identity has been a long one filled with conflict. Over time I developed ways of getting rid of unwanted attention with humor, or politely embarrassing someone to make them stop once they went too far. I worked hard not to “make men sin” and to dress and behave appropriately.
But advances still came.
In several of my past jobs I experienced continual sexual harassment and inappropriate propositions. This is normally the moment when I would explain my action, I would describe how I was dressed to prove that I was in no way provocative, I would tell in length what my behavior had been to prove that I had not encouraged their actions.
But I don’t do that anymore.
I drew my line in the sand two months back when I was given a powerful revelation. I was listening to a Christian program on my way to work. Two men were talking about raising teens. One of the men shared proudly that his daughters had been trained by an expert in biblical “modesty.” Suddenly, I was filled with righteous indignation. I shouted in my car that this was wrong! I was sick of the shame placed on women!
My mind was flooded with references to what Jesus taught. I couldn’t think of any teaching on modesty. Jesus seem to charge men to mind their minds, he taught ownership of actions, and loving others as God would. I was angered at the out-of-balance ownership placed on woman for being what we are … female.
I could see that modesty teaching comes from fear and cowardice. And perhaps a misunderstanding of what happened in the garden so long ago. The unwitting doctrine that woman caused the downfall of man and therefore she can’t be trusted.
The H.E.R, sermon series filled me with hope! Hope that we could get these false ideas cleaned out. It also encourage me that our church will not allow beliefs that hurt the body to be foundational teachings any longer.
Written by a female single professional who has been attending Pulpit Rock Church for four years.
Do you have your own story to tell? Email us.