Today is March 8th. Today is an important day for women as women all over the world are called to strike. I however, am going to work.
I know a response may be, “you are a middle class white woman, who doesn’t know the first thing about oppression”, and on the surface, maybe you wouldn’t think I know anything about oppression. But to me, going to work on a day when other women are striking is not out of ignorance, or lack of subjugation for that matter; I know what it is like to struggle as a woman. I am a single mother who has had to change her own oil, and fix her lawn mower. I was also a soldier in the US Army, where your capability to be a soldier has to be proved regardless of gender, and I succeeded.
I currently work in a male led place that has 13 employees, 9 who are women. We all come from different backgrounds and ethnicities. All of us would agree that on March 8th, we will be coming to work. Though our boss is a male, we are treated generously with respect, and we are valued in what we do.
It is easy to have this perspective in the West Texas Bible Belt, one might say, but my decision to speak out on why I’m not part of the strike on March 8th has so much more to do with what some would call betraying my gender; it is quite the opposite actually. It is out of a love for Christ, for my neighbor, and for those who are oppressed and hurt because of their gender, race or any other reason.
My prime reason for speaking out on this issue is that the perception of identity has been lost. My identity is not in my oppression or lack thereof. My identity isn’t based on my profession, sexuality, financial status, race, or anything else that is fleeting. My identity is rooted in Christ.
Because of this there is a responsibility to Him and to others around me. 1 John 3:1-2 calls us all children of God. I have been raised with Christ, where my heart is set on things above, my flesh (identity) died and my life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3). When I say that my identity is “In Christ”, it means that I am a Christ Follower. Through faith I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me, I was given grace before the world was created, I am chosen, loved by God, exactly as I am, and that I will struggle with sin the rest of my life. I am united with Christ, and with that comes partaking in the life of Christ, and His Holy Spirit dwelling within me.
To be in Christ sums up the greatest commandment, that is given in Matthew 22:37 in which Jesus tells us to “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind. However, the commandment that motivates me to go to work, on March 8th is in the second greatest commandment stated in verse 39: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I understand that not everyone in this nation is a Christian, but as someone who identifies with Christ, it is up to me to take every responsibility possible to share the love of Christ with everyone I encounter. My workplace is a place where I have an opportunity to share the gospel, even if it’s just helping a customer who may be down. When I go to work, I am able to serve my neighbor regardless of who they are and what they believe because of Christ. The opportunity to go to work is a Christ given gift that I do not want to take advantage of.Today also falls on a Wednesday. Every Wednesday night I am given an opportunity to serve teenagers from all walks of life. As a volunteer for music and youth ministry, I get the opportunity to share the love of Christ with teenagers that have never heard the gospel. Many of them are there for the free food or the socialization, and many of them come from difficult backgrounds. There are some Wednesday’s when I get to pray with young girls who are struggling. Instead of enabling the oppressed to victimization status, I get to help them heal, and help them understand they are loved, and they are important just as they are. If I choose to strike in the very name of the thing I am out to help heal, it is not only irresponsible but hypocritical to who I say I am.
I’m not here to pretend that being a woman is easy. I’m also not here to be hypocritical. I’ve judged men based on their gender, made jokes about them, and given undeserved stereotypes many times. I’m guilty of what you would call “locker room talk” and I’ve not appreciated men for the God-given roles that they have been given.
By striking today, we are not going to change President Trump or any other man who may not value women. If anything, we are giving them another reason to stereotype us. Trump, like the rest of us is a sinner in need of grace and the love of Christ.
What if instead of staying home, we made each day an intentional day to help each other make the world a better place. I for one will never claim victim status. My mission, whether it be March 8th or any other day, is to love God, love others, and live loved. I encourage anyone else reading this, man or woman, to do the same.
This is a guest post from Chelsi Woods.
Chelsi is a Jesus loving, tattooed soccer mom, who’s passionate about music, theology, sound doctrine, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. She is a weekly devotional writer for the women’s magazine “Whole”, and has a heart for discipleship and the study of scripture. Chelsi hopes to honor Christ through writing, music, and humor to offer a solid message of a supernatural peace and hope in Christ and Christ alone. She is an Army veteran and is a member of First Baptist Church in Farwell, TX where she plays guitar and bass on the worship team. Her hobbies are Pinterest fails, dad jokes, and embarrassing her 11-year-old daughter Kirkland with her solid dance moves.