Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Why I’m Tired of Talking About “Women’s Roles”


This post is part of a series called ‘Redefining Biblical Womanhood.’ You can check out the other posts here.


It’s been 404 years since the Bible was first translated into English, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly how women fit into the design of Christ’s church.

What are women allowed to do in a worship service? What role do they play in the family of faith?

Where can women teach? How can women serve?

I’ve asked many of these same questions, and I’ve been given a wide spectrum of answers.

I’ve been told to be quiet, stay seated, or to go bake all the things.

I’ve been told to empower myself and preach the gospel to the masses.

But it seems to me that biblical womanhood lies somewhere between head coverings and head pastoral positions.

I stand with all the women who wish to have their voices heard in their churches. I see your impeccable communication skills, and I nod my head in agreement that you could fill so many relational gaps that our beloved men don’t see.

I affirm that you should be given an avenue to share the ways God is moving in your life…that you could mentor, disciple, and train so many if you were only given the chance. I understand that you need to be recognized as a human being and not just a woman.

I’ve done all the chanting and pleading for the woman’s place in her church. I’ve challenged traditional beliefs and proclaimed my fair share of outspoken thoughts about women’s roles.

I’ve begged to be heard. I’ve prayed to be acknowledged. I’ve cried for equality in a man’s world of religion and theology.

But what the Father taught me through all my stomping and fussing and searching for validation is not at all what I expected.

God has not yet given me the authority to be a feminist. He has not exalted me above others. He has only challenged me further.

He’s pushed me to do the one thing I reject from Scripture the most.

Daughter, submit.

Submission is the word He has clothed me with.

When I’ve lost respect for my church leadership: Daughter, submit.
When I feel empty and unnoticed: Daughter, submit.
When I’m not given an outlet to use my giftedness: Daughter, submit.


You’re looking for validation in all the wrong places, He said.

And now I’m beginning to understand.

I don’t need a man to tell me I’m worthy. I don’t need a church to give me a voice.

As long as I’m seeking a title or a role given by a man, that’s exactly what it will be.

A title given by a man.
A role given by a man. 

I don’t need to be asked my opinion. I don’t need to be placed on a committee.

Because while those things are nice, my place in the Kingdom has nothing to do with my own personal entitlement.

The Father has given me a path to walk and a people to serve completely separate and apart from whatever man might say is my role in the Body.

I’ve found myself exhausted from asking what I can and can’t do. I’m tired from questioning whether I have a place in the church of Jesus Christ.

When I’m sitting with Scripture and I’m talking to my Savior, those thoughts are so far from the way His Spirit is leading me.

The Bible doesn’t speak to women apart from men, you see. 

Sure, there are specific verses that are directed towards specific genders. But as a whole, the Bible was written to followers of God. And there are a lot more verses that clump us into a body of one than separate us into male and female.

So, as I see it now, biblical womanhood is about my personal journey of obedience to the Creator.

I’m validated. I’m loved. I’m accepted by the only One who can bestow honor and glory.

I can move and work within the freedoms Christ has opened my life to, and that is where I’ll continue to focus my time and energy.

Loving the unloved. Giving to the poor. Teaching the lost.
Respecting my husband. Caring for my children. Honoring my elders.

Glorifying God in everything I do.

These are freedoms and roles that no one will argue with. Maybe because they’re mundane. Maybe because they seem dull.

Still, I suppose if I’m filling my time loving, giving, teaching, respecting, caring for, and honoring others, I don’t have time to worry about what man says I can’t do in the church.

I’ll be too busy doing the business of the church.

That’s a God-given role that brings so much affirmation and so little resistance.

Living the gospel instead of arguing for my feminine needs…

This is the atypical kind of biblical womanhood I want to define my life. 


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Colossians 3:23



Dwina WillisFebruary 12, 2015 - 7:22 am

Excellent! This is what I’ve been saying in my classes for years, but you said it better than I ever have. Thank you. Do you mind if I share this with the girls in my class?

I’m enjoying having your sister in my biology class.

Deena TrimbleFebruary 12, 2015 - 8:28 am

Well said, Lauren. I, too, have struggled with my place in the church but not my place in the kingdom. Jesus taught us that to be first, we must be last. In this glory hungry world we live in, that is a daily struggle…. for men and women. But I ask the Lord each day, how can I serve you? And the message is to serve quietly with the people around me each day, to love more and more. 1 Thess 4: 10-12 Think Kingdom, not church, and serve, serve, serve!

Matt PhillipsFebruary 12, 2015 - 8:32 am

I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled greatly with this topic. It seems that what you’re describing above is how the oppressed can remain faithful to Jesus’ kingdom vision while living in their present situation. It is the heart of Jesus.
But the heart of Jesus is multi-faceted I think. That same heart that submitted to the cross also condemned the pharisees for their hypocrisy. Jesus both loved Chiaphas and whipped the people running his temple racket & drove them out.
I guess what I’m saying is that we all have certain roles in the body, and perhaps for a woman, it is right to submit on this topic (although admittedly I struggle with that too). But I think for men, it is undoubtedly part of OUR submission to the father to confront this issue (and any other oppression) in our communities.
Jesus has invited us to join him on his mission, and that means he has (in the words of Isaiah & Jesus) “…sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”