So it’s been a crazy few days, we’ve been busy at home and at work. I’m particularly proud as I’ve just built a flat-pack desk and it’s clear except for my laptop! It’s probably the last time it will be like that! It’s been something I’ve felt really torn about. I’m a trainee priest/pastor and the house we live in is huge, and has a dedicated study. So far I’ve really failed to occupy it, feeling like we should instead share it as a family space. however because I am home-based, it’s really not practical, I need space to read and write, a storage area, and also somewhere to see people who want to talk confidentially in the house. So I’ve turfed out my gamers and cleared a space. I’m even going to import a comfy seat or two to read in. I might even attempt a pot-plant!
I think in previous jobs I’ve had such little choice over my workspace, often hotdesking in an open-plan environment, the whole decision about which desk to buy has felt very decadent. Not least when we are preaching about tackling poverty or engaging in social action, it’s weird spending money on myself like this. However I’m delighted with my desk. It’s going to be a great space to be creative, to pray, to meet with Jesus, and to get more organised with my paperwork and systems, so I can enjoy the rest of the house, without work papers being scattered everywhere.
I’ve notice that there’s been some discussion about female pastors on Twitter this week, and it’s nothing new that not everyone agrees with women taking on, what has traditionally been an established part of the patriarchy. What I find suprising is how engrained that is in my own imagination. I am the reason we live in this house, I work 6 days a week, I need to be able to close the door and walk away from it all, even if it’s straight into a pile of ironing! But still I’m doubting, if I really need a proper desk, if this job justifies it. And it wasn’t until my normally very financially shrewd husband said, Beck you need to get one, it sunk in it was something I’d been putting off.
I realise now I needed to tell myself that ……
Just because I'[m doing this role now, doesn’t make it any less challenging and difficult. Just because a woman is doing this role doesn’t make it any less radical or counter-cultural.
Just because a christian woman is raising a family and working full-time, doesn’t make our family any less loved, cherished and valued by the lord.
If I haven’t got time to bake for school, or call my friends, I’m still a child of God.
Just because my children don’t see me as much as they’d like, doesn’t make them any less amazing and special. They are fabulous, and I’m so proud of them.
I think that’s why so many of my friends and I just often feel exhausted. Because none of the above really matters, the only thing that really matters is how god sees us. If we love the lord our god with all our hearts, then however the world perceives us can really become secondary. If we love our families and do our best then I think that’s good enough for god too.
While I could debate gender all day long, it’s really not that exciting. People on the other hand when you think of them as individuals I think are much more fascinating. I am a woman, I am not a man, I am not into football, and my cooking is rubbish. I went to university three times, but still love reality TV. I know how to lose weight but love cake! Like alot of my friends I’m often just trying to make it through the day without losing anyone/anything/my temper/my mind or having to redo a task that’s already been done.
God needs us to rest with him though, to curl up and relax. If we don’t take those moments then what kind of role models are we? If I’m becoming passive aggressive in the supermarket, rushing to buy things for the foodbank before going to another child’s big performance and I’ve not slept properly, sometimes I kind of miss the point. That’s why I’m so into mindfulness. It really helps me stay in the moment, and anchors me in God’s love, today and tomorrow and the next day. It stops me analysing the past, and things people have said I might worry about. I don’t get so sidetracked by criticism. It allows me to enjoy said child’s performance even though I have a million other things I’d like to be doing. It helps me prioritise the things that give me joy.
One of those great time-wasting activities I really love is going to church. It’s not productive, I am really only there for my own need to worship the lord. It’s not even really leisure time. Many churches are run by an army of people who take their roles more seriously than most other things they do in life. Since I’ve become a leader, it’s sometimes a bit more complicated, but I mainly go because I love God and want to share that with others.
So lets all allow ourselves a space in this world to relax, be creative or just sleep! It’s so important. If that sometimes happens to be in church, then glory be to God, because he loves nothing better than hanging out with us and he doesn’t mind what gender we are, or what grades we got in school, or our career aspirations. But if that’s not your thing, then just know this…. God wants to help you seek out the glory and goodness in every one of us that is unique to us, and treasures the times when he gets to rest with us….
Genesis 2 v2-3 ‘By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.’