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Being a woman in the service of Christ – a personal reflection17 Mar

This is my story, but perhaps many of my Sisters in Christ can relate…..?

After some particularly unpleasant gender-related encounters within the church space, over the past 4 years I found myself reflecting on this issue. I always feel that I lose so much of who I am in the presence of gender prejudice. One is always minimised and not in a good way, within these encounters.

So I was asking myself the other evening – Where is my sense of self? …..my internal vision of me? Where there once was peace, this has been replaced by affrontery, a constant battle to defend who I am as woman, as a person of value, as some-one in the world who wants to contribute her gifts, her life and to embrace others in the love of Christ.

What is the way forward – to stop fighting and to do these things? After some reflection I believe that there is a letting go that needs to happen – there is a re-envisioning of who the enemy is, that needs to happen. The enemy is not every male entity, more highly defended through self-doubt and fears of insufficiency than I am. So who is the enemy? I think the enemy is my own inability to let go of me, and to reach into the deep existential paradox that my life is, at the present moment. To turn it on its head and embrace the fullness of love that God has for me however and whenever I am. Until then I don’t think I can give the world anything, no matter how gifted and talented I may think I am.

I need to forgive those who have hurt, for they are no less conflicted than I am. I need to allow them to walk their own journey towards enlightenment, because theirs is not mine and if I try to make it mine, I am nothing but an intruder who by her trespass will only cause destruction instead of standing back and allowing God to do His work. By being an intruder in another’s life, I am deserting my own, and I will never walk within the richness of God’s glory in a way that was meant for me and me alone.

My new favourite spiritual author, Sr Joan Chittister, brings a flash of enlightenment – she asks :

“In the last three things that bothered me this week, whom did I blame and was it really worth the emotional energy that I gave to it? It is time to realize that it is not what happens to me in life that counts, it is what I do with what happens to me that is the measure of my happiness.”

Food for thought?

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About

Dr. Elaine Saunders – Industrial Psychologist

Phd in Leadership Development
Author of Assessing Human Competence
Specialising in online competency-based assessment tools, leadership development and performance counselling
Based in Sandton, Johannesburg

My key areas of intervention revolve around helping individuals to achieve their potential in the work context. To this end, my consulting practice comprises of three key applications which are related. These are the application of competency-based assessment in recruitment and leadership development, counselling as it pertains to performance, wellness and the recovery from trauma, and leadership development coaching.

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