I Used to Hate Women
I used to hate women. I honestly did. Well, hate is a pretty strong word. But it does encompass other strong emotions, like fear, intimidation, and distrust. I was always uncomfortable around them. I felt unsafe. Invisible—and at times, exposed. The sad memory of that hatred still lingers like the bitter aftertaste of a pill you’ve already swallowed.
The reasons why I used to hate women aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. We all have our reasons for the way we feel. But those reasons are never as important as the lies they’ve made us believe. And the fact that those lies end up controlling us and dictating how we do life.
I remember years ago being sort of hijacked to a Women of Faith conference. I conceded to go because I wanted to be seen as both likable and agreeable by the women who invited me. But as I entered the arena, I could feel my skin start to crawl, and by the time I was seated and the opening music began, I was positively cringing inside. Ugh! It was all so…so…women-y. I think if I had to pick a particular judgement I was making on the whole affair, I’d say I thought it was all fake.
Fake and superficial.
I mean, ten thousand smiling women praising Jesus? I didn’t buy it. No, I knew how they really were. At least I thought so.
But what really annoyed me was when I found myself getting sucked into one of the messages—even starting to tear up just like every other woman around me. For just a moment, I felt a part of something. But whatever camaraderie I felt with the women around me disappeared quickly once we left the arena. And then I was back to hating them.
Now, fast-forward a few years, and along came a woman who seemed somehow different. She was straightforward, honest, and kind, and she didn’t gossip. To my amazement, she pursued my friendship relentlessly, doing everything she could to let me know she loved me unconditionally. She wasn’t perfect, but she was consistently loving. And I began to trust her.
When you’re in a very dark room and someone cracks open the door, light floods in. No matter how small the crack.
And at that moment, my world began to open up, if even just a little. That friendship opened the door to more friends, because she was a magnet for women with similar hearts. Before I knew it, I had a group of girlfriends. A posse. A tribe. It was wonderful, but I was still hanging onto lies, and so I became exclusive about who I let into my circle.
Because I believed that most women, deep down, were untrustworthy.
Competitive. Jealous. Fake.
I tried to hold onto the few good ones I believed were out there. But seasons changed, as they always do. My beloved friend–the one who cracked open the door—got cancer and died. That loss ripped a hole right through my spirit. Several other of my friends moved or drifted away, and some even turned their backs when things got really hard. I was poised to embrace the hatred again.
One by one, beautiful, kind-hearted women showed up at my door. Steadfast, supportive, encouraging, and honest women. And as I let each woman through my door, the door was pushed open wider. More light came in. More truth.
And the truth I started to see for the first time was that a kinship exists between women that is unique, irreplaceable, and sacred.
There is a bond available between us that can’t be replicated across the gender-line. And it turns out that all women aren’t the way I viewed them, either. Some are, but most are not—the issue was mostly with me and the lies I believed.
Amazing women really are out there. They’ve been there all along. I just couldn’t see them for who they were because my lies were in the way.
And I got to thinking…what if you and I were ‘that woman’ who cracked open the door for someone else? And what if we linked arms with others committed to do the same?
Sisters, we need to band together! Not against men, not in protest. But in love, with love, for the sake of another sister out there who is hurting. She who needs a friend she can trust, one that isn’t out to compete with her. Someone who will have her back when her world crashes in.
I have watched, awestruck, as God has brought more and more incredible women into my life. Ones who have broken every stereotype I’ve ever tried to pin on other women.
And you know what?
It’s changing how I see myself, too. Because I am one. And I’m not going to leverage the same judgements against myself that I used to hold against other women.
A couple of weeks ago, I was sort of hijacked again into attending another women’s conference. I was going on a retreat with Encouragement Café, and I honestly didn’t realize there was a big event attached to it until I got there. Then I was stuck. It wasn’t Women of Faith, but it was still the kind of gathering I might have avoided if I had known.
The funny thing is, when God has softened your heart and you’ve been exposed to the truth, those old lies don’t stick like they used to. And here I was again, surrounded by amazing women. Women who know how to love, and encourage, and lift you up. Women that I can both aspire to be like and fit in with at the same time.
Turns out, women like that are everywhere.
And as I looked around the room full of a thousand, multi-generational women–smiling, hands raised, and praising Jesus—I had a brand new thought. A brand new truth. For the first time in my life I said to myself,
“I am so proud to be a woman.”
Friends and sisters, daughters of light and truth, don’t hide your light behind closed doors. This world needs you.
I need you, too.
Women, have you ever experienced anything like this? Reach out and share your stories! Your sisters are listening.
Men, does this happen to you too? Educate us girls.