Chef and I have one phrase that can stop a debate, a disagreement, a battle of wills. We never pull it out willy-nilly, it is the big gun. Fortunately we both respect the rules of engagement, we understand the force of these words. They mean something. “My gut is saying…” means there is something deeper happening that maybe I can’t fully express and I don’t have to. I have a twitching, a twinkling, a clenching, that says,”Listen.” We trust not only our own gut-warnings but each others. That message means back off, let go of the argument, your spouse is hearing something and you need to pay attention. We have never gone wrong with this system, only the times we have individually ignored those warnings. As I talk to many of my female friends, I notice a tendency to dismiss that inner voice, to minimize their own early warning system, to find ways around it. But what if this is the Holy Spirit, what if this is God with us, speaking directly to us? No lightening bolts, no burning bushes, no angels, our own connection to God through an opened soul ready to hear Him say, “Be aware.” Would we dismiss this voice so easily?
My sweet friends are conditioned to ignore their inner voices, to challenge their own motives and look for the greater good. This is important, this is work towards a selfless life, one that Jesus asks us to live. Becoming accountable to each other is critical in our walk, ensuring our motives are not based in old drama, yucky patterns that distract us from growth and true soul searching. Yet my friends are just that self-aware, I think so many women are, and still they allow the external voices to drown out what is whispering inside of them. Excuses, allowances, bending, finding space for what feels wrong because that seems like what we are called to do. Yet I think we are so busy being nice we forget to be strong. The bible is filled with women who listened and acted, made some folks mad and furthered the work of God. Why are we afraid of making anyone mad? Where does our fear come from? Why do we have culture of being nice, of going along within the church?
When you speak up and are dismissed, when you ask questions and are gently rolled over, when you are not even invited to the table, you learn what is expected. You learn that while liberation may have come to the country, it may not have fully settled into the church. Just as we have a long way to go to find equality in government positions, look at leadership spots within the church, does that reflect the true make-up of the congregation? Do women handle education and men the finances? Is it really biblical that women follow quietly while men lead? I am a rebel, I want to find our Jaels, our Abigails, our Esthers, Lois and Eunices. I want to hear the voices of our strong women whom I know God is speaking to, I want to listen to what their guts have to say. I trust their wisdom.
I think about what my former pastor always said at each baptism, what if this is the one? The one to cure cancer, the one to stop wars, the one. He allowed us to see each babe as full of possibilities, swaddled in a purpose only God could see. Our job was to nurture that child along the way, to open the doors so that God could speak freely to this child. He didn’t just do this for the male babies. All babies. Somewhere along the way, we as women stop trusting our guts and so does the church. What a loss for us all.
What if you are the one? Would anyone know because you are too nice to speak up? Prayerfully considering what your gut tells you and then using the voice God gave you may just change the world. We might have to get louder, we might have to get mad. We might even have to flat out ask that our voices be heard. Thank God Chef accepts my gut as worthy, as enough. May we all be so generous to each other. May be find room at the table for loud women, strong women, women who are followers of Jesus, not men. That is a revolution I believe Jesus can get behind. My gut just tells me it is true.