In my conservative, evangelical background, girls were raised to believe that we weren’t as important as men. Only men got the “good” gifts, like leadership and teaching. Our job as women was to teach children’s Sunday school and bake casseroles for various functions.We were taught to be silent and submissive, and never to question “God’s order” of things.
After marriage, my husband and I began attending a charismatic church where we were introduced to The 10 Lies the Church Tell Women by J. Lee Grady and Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM. Many of the Scriptures that had been used to teach submission were explained in the Greek, and they were not what we had been taught to believe.
We learned that Christ died to free women from every curse, even those brought on by the Fall (Gal. 3:13). God’s original plan for me was to co-lead and co-rule alongside my husband, and Christ died to restore that order (Gen. 1:26-28). For the first time in my life I felt affirmed—I was just as powerful and as important as a man! It took me a while to accept those truths. I felt rebellious just reading those books. “Submission” had been hammered in hard.
My husband had some un-learning to do, but with a minor in Women’s Studies, he was quick to champion me. He supported me as I led the prayer ministry at our church for seven years, designed an inner healing ministry (which turned out to be the most popular class at church), and eventually coordinated county prayer events under the National Day of Prayer. He now fervently backs women and violently opposes them marrying “below” themselves just to get a husband.
A while back I dated a girl who was extremely insecure and for some reason I took on the responsibility of “fixing” her. I made it my goal to make sure she knew how incredibly beautiful and lovely she was.The problem was, I was very insecure myself and we had both put each other in a place that only God should have had in our lives.
No matter how much I tried to love her, she struggled to receive it because she didn’t think she was worth it. And to add to that, I had some trust issues that weren’t helping matters. I recognized that there were various things damaging our connection, but I never addressed them because I was afraid of hurting her feelings. I also realized I had gotten into the relationship for the completely wrong reasons. It was unhealthy, co-dependent, and smothered by insecurities. I began to build a case and get frustrated, and she didn’t seem be getting any less insecure. With insecurity comes a lack of trust. There was such a low level of trust that we didn’t feel safe, which makes sense, because when you don’t know who you are, it is impossible for someone else get to know the real you.
Trust takes time to build and should increase as the relationship progresses, but there was very little in this relationship. Not only were we individually not whole; we didn’t trust one another enough to protect the other’s heart. The relationship became stagnant and did not develop. For a relationship to work, you need to fully trust that you are seeing the real person and that you like the real them. I learned this the hard way by entering a relationship with little trust already built. Since learning my identity, not taking on other people’s responsibilities, and choosing to trust, my life looks, and is, so much healthier!