As a kid I thought my dad was super-human. Until I saw him weep.
As a young woman, I thought my male church leaders were untouchable. Until I saw them crushed by the inhuman weight of their work.
As a young wife, I hoped my husband would be the entire foundation of my security. Until I learned he was a human being.
Now, as a church leader, I see my brothers working under pressure to be strong for me and for the women in their lives.
The Burden and Responsibility
We all have a responsibility to one another, to live up to our part in any relationship and I love watching men who want to be faithful co-workers, fathers, husbands, or leaders. At the same time, I see my brothers feeling a burden to take more responsibility, more weight than is actually required. I see how often it means that my brothers are out of balance in relationships with women—either bearing the weight alone or feeling so overwhelmed by the burden that they flee, defeated. Fight and flight are not the only options.
I see brothers who feel so much pressure to always be strong for the women in their lives that they escape into addictive behaviors.
I see brothers who feel so responsible for their sisters’ spirituality that they feel they have to keep their own wrestling as a guilty secret.
I see brothers who feel so much weight to have all the answers and fix every problem that they secretly carry anxieties which eat away at their hearts.
I see brothers who feel such pressure to provide and protect that it breaks their bodies.I see my brothers feeling a burden to take more responsibility, more weight than is actually required. Click To Tweet
So I Say…
And so I hope it’s not presumptuous to speak on behalf of women but I want to say to my brothers—the women in your life don’t need you to be everything, just to do your part. The women in your life long to partner with you. It may be possible that your wife or female co-worker does not have the expectations you think she has. In fact, she may have something to contribute which would alleviate the pressure you feel. Not only will it release you from that burden, it will invite her voice, her gifts, her strengths so that you can bear the weight of family, church, the world together. Why not ask her what she actually expects from you and what she wants to bring?The women in your life long to partner with you. Click To Tweet
So to my Christian brothers I want to say, “I’m sorry for any way I have expected you to be God. I release you from the pressure to be super-human for me. Walk beside me. Let’s figure out together what it means to be humans following the God who is the source of our strength and security.”
For more conversations like this, join us on Nov 10 for Church Together, a She Leads Summit in Pasadena. Regional venues also available across the nation.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
3. Share your story.
One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.