Monday, October 14, 2013

On Why Being Called a Strong Woman Sometimes Bothers Me…

I get called a strong woman a lot. At first, I took it as a compliment. And I usually still do.  I am a strong and assertive female who knows what I want with my life. I take care of things. I put coolant in my car and change my furnace filters. I do on-the-fly plumbing and plan birthday parties and work and go to graduate school. I am a strong woman, but sometimes I feel like by using that is just a label that keeps people from knowing the true complexity of who I am.

First of all. All women who rely on the strength of the Lord do to whatever work God calls them to are strong. I am not strong simply because I choose to operate in a male dominated field. The stay at home mom is not weak because she doesn’t. That choice requires a level of strength I will never understand until I have children of my own. While it is true that my personality can be strong and my dreams are strong and my God is strong, I don’t want strong to be a new badge women use to start organizing ourselves into greater thans and less thans.

Another issue I have with being called a strong woman? The assumption that I am always strong. Coupled with the fact that I am an introvert who is unlikely to share lots of personal information, I often feel left dangling on the edge of a cliff. People assume that I am ok because I am strong and I clearly must have it figured out. I am strong, but sometimes I am also weak. Sometimes I am at a loss and I don’t know what to do but because I am “strong,” I don’t know how to ask for help.

A lot of that is on me. I am continually reminded how I need to be more open and vulnerable with people. I can’t really expect people to know when I am struggling if they don’t know me. But some of that is on other people, particularly women. In our desire to be strong (whatever that means for that particular woman), let us not allows our strength to keep us from having support when we are weak.

Let us not allow strength to become another label we hide behind. You can be strong but you are so much more than that. If you are strong, you can also feel free to be weak. Because we serve a God who is always strong and it doesn't get much better than that. 


Tiina Mitchell said...

You know I can totally relate.