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Confessions of a Recovering Feminist

Photo By Tiffany Rogers, USA

Written By Tiffany Rogers, USA

Hi, my name is Tiffany and I’m a recovering feminist.

My interest in feminism started in college, where I saw many girls studying there only for the coveted “MRS degree”. For the uninitiated, this refers to a girl who attends college just to find and marry a well-educated husband with a bright future. There are even self-help articles and a list of schools to find such husbands made available for girls online. To me, it seemed as if these girls were attempting to find their worth in whom they might marry, instead of whom they might become.

In my pride and arrogance, I pitied those girls. I didn’t want to be like them; I didn’t want my identity as a woman to be found in my identity as a wife. I wanted to be distinct and recognized for what I could do—regardless of what my last name might be someday.

As a Christian, however, I felt like I was in the minority for having this opinion. The Christians around me seemed to believe that women served best as “helpers,” and I refused to accept that idea. I couldn’t bear the thought of marrying someone who would be the ultimate decision-maker for our lives—and of my life. Why should I be the submissive counterpart just because I was a woman? Why should I be seen as less just because of my gender? I felt compelled to stand up against this notion.

Most of the fighting happened in my own heart and mind, however. I wasn’t a feminist by practice, just by belief. With my ideals, I was determined in my heart to fight for equality and for my rights, but I never attended any rallies, marches or forums to discuss the issues. I simply made a decision to never end up in a situation where I was being stripped of my equality because of my gender, within marriage or otherwise.

One day, as I was mulling over these thoughts and trying to figure out the desired outcome of my feminism, I started to think: What was I really fighting and rooting for? Well, it was simple: I wanted equality. I wanted men and women to be viewed and treated the same. I wanted to stop hearing Christians say that women are to “submit”.

But then a question that I had never considered before flashed across the screen of my mind: “Do you care about your identity as a woman more than you care about your identity in Christ?”

Suddenly, I felt like I was being presented with two platters. On one was my feminism: my fight for equality, my standing up on behalf of my gender, my pride, and how emotionally and mentally invested I was in the cause. On the other was my knowledge of who I am in Christ, and my cross.

In an instant, I was overcome. Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). If God was asking me to humble myself and lay down the fights and desires I craved to carry in my feminism, could I do it for Him? Would I?

In that moment, I decided I cared more about God than I did my feminism. And even if He didn’t see men and women as equals, I would still care more about loving Him, serving Him and honoring Him with my life than I would about crying out for equal treatment. My love for Him trumps my desire to be seen as equal to a man.

The truth is, God does see men and women as equals. Galatians 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” All believers, whether men or women, Jew or Gentile, have the same relationship with God. He does not discriminate against any of us.

That said, I still believe it’s important to validate women and fight for rights not yet extended to us. There are women all over the world who are still being sold into slavery, abused, and disenfranchised. God calls us to stand up and fight for all people who are marginalized and oppressed.

So now I am a recovering feminist, because I have a much healthier understanding of the word “submission” and what that actually looks like in a Christian marriage. I’m a recovering feminist because before I dare cry out to be given rights I feel I deserve and treatment I believe is merited, I desire first to cry out to God Almighty. I’m a recovering feminist because this is where I spend my time as a Christian woman—not on my feet in demand for my rights, but on my knees in humility before God.

 

This article was originally published on the writer’s blog here. This version has been edited by YMI.

My Netflix Had No Chill

Written By Tiffany Rogers, USA

Let me tell you a story: A young woman comes home after a long day. She sets her things down, throws her hair up, and changes into comfy clothes in record time. Breathing a deep sigh of reliefshe grabs her laptop and flips it open. The screen illuminates, showing the last webpage she visited: Netflix. 

The familiar words appear on the screen: Playback Timed Out. Her muscle memory kicks in and she hits “refresh” as the episode she fell asleep on continues, right where she left off. 

This is how she spends her evening. Maybe she eats, maybe she showers, and maybe she talks to some people. But at any given moment, and especially in bed getting ready to fall asleep, she is watching Netflix. 

The end. 

Now, let me tell you a secret: For months, that girl was me.

Don’t get me wrong; I had a social life, I had friends, and I even had a boyfriend. But when people asked what my “hobbies” were, I had to lie by deflection. I said things like, “Oh, I enjoy reading. I write sometimes. I love the outdoors!” Because I certainly couldn’t tell them, “I literally spend all of my free time watching The Office on Netflix.” 

Here’s the thing: Netflix was my escape from life, from stress, from feelings, and from people. I used the shows I watched on Netflix to keep fear and depression at bay. If I was watching Netflix, nothing could hurt me. 

I know that sounds extreme because it was extreme. Netflix was my therapy, my shield, and my safety. I couldn’t even go in the kitchen to make food without bringing Netflix with me to play in the background while I cooked.

That was my reality. But it wasn’t that I was a lazy bum without anything better to do. It was that at the root of my incessant Netflix binge, something was terribly wrong. Something was awry in my heart, and it caused fear and depression to hover over me like an individualized dark rain cloud, and Netflix was my perpetual umbrella. 

Then, something happened. The relationship I was in was crumbling. I had known for a long time it wasn’t right, and I suddenly found myself at a place where everything I held dearest was slipping through my fingers: my future, my plans, my pride and my love.

That breakup was how the Lord got ahold of me. For a long time I knew I needed to turn back to Him and finally listen to His voice. He had been whispering into my soul, like a parent whispers too closely in a child’s ear when chastising at a dinner table, and the whisper makes them flinch and squirm because it tickles, but not in a funny way. I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves, He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12) 

In my life, I had stopped seeking God. I chased feelings and intuitions instead of prayerfully asking the Lord for guidance and peace. I listened to my own overly emotional and foolish heart over listening to the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit. In no uncertain terms, I was running. I had found what I thought I wanted, and I didn’t want to hear what God had to say, for fear it would contradict my desires. 

And on the surface of it all, I Netflixed the days away. While my heart was wasting in torture and turmoil, I naively believed the longer I watched Netflix, the longer I could put off the change I knew needed to happen. 

As a result, I gladly gave Him the attention I once rendered to Netflix and all my social media platforms. I found a year-long Bible reading plan and started reading the Bible as well as embarking on some devotionals. I also dove into Christian books by authors like Gary Thomas, John Bevere and Timothy Keller, among others. I used that time instead to seek Him diligently. My desire became to know Him intimately and to grow my love for Him unlike ever before. Now, I can humbly say that God is my greatest love, and my desire is for Him. 

Maybe for you it’s not Netflix. Maybe it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Maybe your job is your shield, or your spouse is your escape. Maybe a hobby, an addiction or a toxic relationship is causing your growing separation from the Lord. In any case, I want to challenge you to look inside your heart. Ask yourself honestly if you’re running to anything before running to God for guidance, safety, and peace. Is anything besides Jesus taking the first place in your heart? 

If so, be encouraged. Just as you are sick of running and hiding behind something or someone, Jesus is just as eager and ready to receive you with open arms. Matthew 7:7 tells us: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” It is a breath of fresh air knowing that as we seek Him, we find Him. He doesn’t hide Himself from us, rather, He pulls us out of our deep ruts (which we often create ourselves), and places us right next to Him with nothing but love in His heart and tenderness in His eyes. 

Are you ready to make a change? Here’s a prayer you can follow:

Lord, forgive me for placing other things or people on the throne of my heart. I surrender to You, and my desire is for You to be my greatest love. Give me courage to remove whatever is taking up my affection, that I may replace it with my earnest love for You. Teach me to love You more than ever before. I want to know You, God. Reveal yourself to me through your Holy Spirit, that I might grow in closeness with You, my Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

This article was originally published on the writer’s blog  here. This version has been edited by YMI.