“Your wings are too big,” he said on their date. Her heart sank because she knew she couldn’t operate as anything less. This winged warrior is beautiful, dynamic and intelligent. Her zest for life and compassion for others is what drew him to her. It’s ironic isn’t it? The very thing that makes us attractive can sometimes be held against us.
This has been one of the tensions I have wrestled with in my single life. How do we fully live out our belovedness when that means it alienates men who have been socialized and theologically conditioned to think they have the monopoly on accomplishments and ambition?
For instance, I recently connected with a man on a dating website. He’s a pastor with children. His first question to me was “How ambitious are you?” I replied, “In terms of worldly desires to reach some sort of self significance, I am not ambitious. However, in terms of following the call I feel God has given me, yes I will obey God to the end.” I never heard from him again.
My parents raised me with an unrestricted, fully supportive understanding that I can do and be whatever I want. Couple that with a strong and clear call from God to serve others and well…I guess I now have wings too big for some. This all relates to complimentarianism. I’m going to have to blog about gender equality on a new post, but for now I’m just calling out the issue Christian women face in relationships. Our wings can be too big for some men. Not all men, but some.
I can’t imagine stifling my gifts or setting aside my passions so my partner can feel more significant. I want a relationship where we can both pursue our calls. I know that in relationships comprimise has to happen and that there are instances where both people can’t pursue conflicting goals at the same time, but that’s something that can be worked on together.
During my Esther Salon year, I saw images of how God would use a husband in my life. I won’t go into those personal details, but I will say that we were a team. His strengths and weaknesses complemented my strengths and weaknesses. It wasn’t about gender roles, it was about what we both brought to the table and how we could both encourage and uphold one another. From that time on, I have prayed for the husband God showed me in my prayers. Anything other than that would not be enough. This image and understanding has allowed me a peace in my singleness.
I am making a distinction here about what I have asked for in a partner and what God has shown me. When I ask for certain qualities in a partner, it tends to center around filling my needs and desires. But when I prayed with God’s desires in mind, I was able to see a completely different vision for relationship then I had ever dreamed of. For the first time, I was able to see a relationship that didn’t compete with the call God has given me, but a relationship that actually strengthened that call for both my partner and myself. It was such a beautiful picture. Instead of picturing a relationship that fixed my insecurities and needs and desires, it was a picture of a relationship that thrived in living out God’s call in both of our lives. In this picture, the husband wasn’t the end vision, the husband was a part of the greater vision. A PART! Suddenly longing for a husband wasn’t the greatest idol in my heart. The bigger picture for how and where God is moving and my part in the divine narrative became much more important.
Exercise: Ask God to show you God’s desires for your life and ministry. Ask God what desires you should hold on to and what, if any, you may need to let go of. Sometimes, when we’re ready to let go of something we think we need, God comes in with something greater than we could have imagined for ourselves.