Following So They Can Lead

by Brittany Velasquez

I’m sure many of you have seen numerous headlines loudly proclaiming details of the Women’s March on Washington. Between that and negative reactions to the presidential inauguration my social media is full of drama. But today one particular post by Dale Partridge caught my eye.

He spoke in regards to the Women’s March, calling on men to be true leaders and to fill the roles that God has called them to. I have no issue with what he said. All of it was and is true. However, the cogs of my brain began rolling and I began to think. Actually, part of this is something I’ve been pondering for quite a while. Ladies, I have a question for you.

Is it possible that the men of today are not leading because we are no longer willing to follow? I am extremely passionate about this topic because it is something that I have dealt with and am still dealing with in my own life. As a result I see the same problem being reflected in many other people and relationships.

God created men to be leaders. They are to lead the churches, their families, and their wives. A high standard of conduct has been set for men because so much responsibility has been handed to them. To a certain degree this is exactly the way it should be. But what about our role as women? What is our part in all of this?

Genesis 2:18 tells us that God decided that man should not be alone. He wanted to provide Adam with an help meet. So God created the animals out of the dust of the earth, but this still did not satisfy the need that Adam had for companionship. God then created woman. A beautiful creature who would love and cherish Adam. In the original Hebrew help meet (pronounced ay’-zer) is a noun that translates to help, succor, or one who helps. It is originally from a Hebrew verb pronounced aw-zar’ which is a primitive root that means to surround (i.e. to protect or aid).

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This is so true. Ladies, we hold the power to make or break the men in our lives, whether he is our father, husband, or brother. We are created to complement the men’s strength and dignity in their roles of leadership.

People have determined that men are no longer leaders, which is why Dale Partridge called men to fulfill their roles as men to show the women that they are indeed loved and cherished and that they will be protected. I propose that one reason men no longer lead is because we as women are no longer willing to follow. Somewhere along the line we decided that we are more spiritual and that we are strong enough to live our lives without the leadership of a man. I don’t think that this is a conscious action we have taken, but rather a subconscious one. The feminist movement has influenced how we perceive our femininity, and fed into the lie that we can live outside of masculine leadership. 

There is another side of this; perhaps one closer to home than the nationwide women's marches of last weekend. I believe that conservative Anabaptist women have imagined such a high standard of what they think leadership should look like that there is no way our men could ever measure up to it. When the men fall short of the mark, we step in and tell them what to say spiritually and how to perform their actions. We expect so much from them that we forget that we too have a standard to follow. 

The other day there were some things about my husband that bothered me. I felt like he wasn’t reaching my standard of spiritual leadership. In an attempt to open a door of conversation I asked him if there was anything about me that he would like me to change. His answer humbled me. I found out that he doesn’t think of things like that. He loves me for who I am. He doesn’t whip out an imaginary ruler and constantly use it to measure my actions and attitudes. Instead he trusts that God will reveal to me what I need to change. Of course there are times in conversation when my husband will gently bring something to my attention, but he doesn’t keep a running list of what I need to do differently.

So what is the point of that little anecdote? Throw away the list of things that you have mentally written down about the men in your life. Instead, do what you can to follow. Does this mean that you are to become a doormat and let yourself be trampled? Absolutely not. There is beauty in following. God created the headship order for a reason. When anyone, whether it is a man or a woman, steps outside of that order, chaos ensues.

You may not always agree with the decisions that your husband or father makes. That generally happens when humans interact with each other. I beg you to follow the leader in your life. Your willingness to submit to his decision is a beautiful thing. When you choose to follow it means that you are doing your part. You have taken your focus off of the earthly leader and instead are looking at your heavenly leader, God, and what He is asking you need to do differently. Does this mean men will automatically become perfect leaders? Of course not! However, you can have peace knowing that you have submitted to God’s headship order.

Ladies, here is the bottom line. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands. Daughters, obey your fathers. When we willingly submit ourselves and follow the leadership in our lives, I firmly believe  that it creates space in which God can gently work on the hearts of our men and show them where they need to improve. Remember, they are humans as well. They will make mistakes. Treat your leaders the way you want to be treated. Don’t belittle their decisions or act like you have a better idea. Follow them. When they do make a mistake, forgive them and extend grace.

Throw away your lofty expectations. Even more importantly, focus on your actions and attitudes. Search your heart. Ask God to see if there be any wicked way in you. What acts are you committing that could potentially strip away the leadership in your life?

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