Not Sure (or, The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Written)

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist. To be fair, these days there are a lot of things I’m not sure about, but right now, this seems to be at the top of the list.

You see, “feminism” has never been something I’ve thought about or prayed about or engaged with. Its existence has always been in the back of my mind, I guess, somewhere in that part of my brain where all of the yes, that is a thing which exists, but that’s all I know about it things live – but that was as far as it went.

Until, all at once, it went a lot further.

I took a required course on the role of women in the church, and what had once been a non-issue suddenly moved to the forefront of my academic thinking.
Soon, it moved from my academic thinking to my heart’s questions.
I got mad.
I cried a lot.
I wrote an angry letter to my old pastor, then I burned it.
I read A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and I felt peace. A lot of peace.
After the peace, I had a lot more questions than answers.
But this time, the questions were tinged with a knowledge that everything would be okay.
I subscribed to some blogs.
I wasn’t looking for feminism. I wasn’t looking for anything with a name.
I read blogs from all across the board.
I got mad at Mark Driscoll, so I tried to figure out why.
I read the Bible. Especially New Testament instructions to the church
I emailed a feminist I had mutual friends with.
She wrote back.
I subscribed to more blogs.
We ate donuts together and I asked her a million and twelve questions.
She gave me a hug.
She was normal.

And now, here I am. I’m not sure if I’m a feminist or not. I’ve done some research, but I don’t have time to fully immerse myself in the study. There are still some things I can’t reconcile, some questions that haven’t been answered, and some implications that I’m not fully comfortable with. I am pro-life, and I am 100% convinced that homosexuality is a sin – those are two big ones. I want to get married and I am pretty sure I want my husband to lead me – but I also know that I want a voice, and that I will not be silenced based on my relationship status. I’m not sure how to deal with the hundreds of people who are smarter than I am, who have interpreted Scripture differently.

There are a lot of things I am sure of, though:

I am sure that Jesus does not think less of me, as a woman, than he does of men.
I am sure that I have been called to serve Him.
I am sure that call will not change whether I am married or single.
I am sure that justice will not come to millions of oppressed women around the world as long as the Church continues to believe that women are worth less than men in the eyes of their Savior.
I am sure that I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my life, and that He has brought this issue to the forefront of my life for a reason.
I am sure that I will have somewhat of a nervous breakdown after I hit “publish” on this post, because a lot of people I love very dearly will misunderstand it and be offended or assume I’m “struggling.”

I’m not sure if I’m a feminist, but I might be on the way.
I am a little terrified.
I am a lot unsure.
But I am asking Christ to guide me to freedom as He intended it; to His truth.
And I am sure that He will do that.

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This post is part of the three-day Feminisms Fest linkup, which today is being hosted at Love is What You Do. Please do yourself a favor and peruse the other blogs participating; they are really wonderful and encouraging. Join the discussion by adding your own blog to the linkup or on Twitter using the hashtag #femfest!
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9 thoughts on “Not Sure (or, The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Written)

  1. Audrey Bearup says:

    I’m proud of you, Alyssa. Keep asking questions and seeking for truth. I’m still seeking and will continue to do so until I sit at Jesus’s feet.

  2. J.R. Goudeau says:

    Alyssa, this was beautiful. Your authenticity shines through–thank you for sharing where you are in the journey. I’m a staunch feminist and deeply, deeply pro-life–we’re in the middle of an adoption, this really matters to me–so I want to keep encouraging you that these issues are really complicated, that there is no us/them binaries, but lots of shades of gray. I don’t think you have to give up important things to you even as you embrace other aspects–I’ve found there’s a lot more room for my big ideas to work together than I thought even a few years ago. That’s what it sounds like to me you’re working toward–finding your way through the gray. I love, love, love that you wrote this today. Thanks.

    • Alyssa says:

      Thank you (!!) for your kind words and for reading my post. I’m finding that so many of these issues are faaaar less black and white than I grew up believing. That almost makes it harder, but I’m trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide me to the truth.

  3. Juliet says:

    I felt so nervous too when I officially published my post. Sharing our thoughts like this makes us very vulnerable but I do believe it helps us all on our different journeys. We won’t agree on everything but we can support each other as we grow and learn.

  4. Alyssa, thank you for opening up your space and heart to us. I hope you walk through the questions, the confusions, the accusations with a full heart and the reminder that YOU ARE OKAY. You are with Jesus. You are figuring this out. You are in process and whatever part of that process you are in is okay with me. I so appreciate people who don’t have it all figured out (or pretend to, because really, we’re always on the journey, even when we’re able to stake out specific truths) before they speak up. Love to you!

    • Alyssa says:

      Thanks for your comment, Emily! I was telling my roommate last night that I don’t know if I ever want to be able to label myself as “Calvinist” or “Feminist” or “Complementarian” or “Republican,” or any label, because that implies that I’ve figured it out. And I never want to figure God out. I want to discover more and more of Him every day, every second. The only label I wish to wear is “beloved child of God” and hopefully, someday, “woman of valour.” I feel like your comment echoes that sentiment 🙂

  5. Alyssa, thank you so much for your authenticity and your vulnerability. Thank you for being brave and publishing a post that may have been difficult to write. I feel a lot of the same confusion you feel and stand by many of the convictions you also hold, so this post was really encouraging to read. I don’t know where your journey with feminism or mine will end, but affirm you for being willing to take the journey and I know our gracious Lord and Savior will continue to lead you as you seek his heart. Eshet Chayil.

    • Alyssa says:

      Thank you so much for reading. I read your post too, and loved it. I go to Moody and I’ve always been so conservative in my theology and politics, so this is a little scary. I’m just praying that God will lead me to His truth, whatever that truth is.

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