Story Spotlight: The Church, #MeToo, #TimesUp & well...me!
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately looking at the current climate of our culture with regards to sexual harassment and assault and have been wondering just exactly what role the church is going to play in these times. The #metoo and #timesup movement have caused a massive shift in cultural climate we are living in; a change that, I believe, was much needed. When the whole world began to talk so openly about sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment this excitement started to form inside my heart that, as a result of this frank openness, I might finally find the courage to speak openly inside and outside of the four walls of the church about my own experiences. I desperately desire the church to grab ahold of this shift and start to freely share the resources and answers that I know it has to offer.
My excitement was short lived. I quickly realized I was too afraid to expose the messy parts of the neatly package life I projected. Too afraid to type #metoo on any of my social media platforms. This fear of watching an image I had carefully constructed crumble under the shame I felt about my experiences overwhelmed me. Instead of coming along side each and every courageous women that had been brave enough to come forward I sunk back into the shadows and continued to only talk about my story behind closed doors and to people I trusted. Now I don’t believe for a second that is an entirely negative thing. I know the pain and hurt that is wrapped up in this is real because I’ve lived it. I absolutely believe that it is something that no one has an obligation or need to share with the world if they aren’t ready or don’t want to. The reason I’ve struggled with my own response was the thought of being vulnerable. I believe so strongly in the power of each person’s story and the ability to bring freedom and peace to those around us as a result of sharing those stories..
As someone who has decided to let Jesus into the messiest parts of my past and to allow Him to bring healing, I knew I should have been more honest about my own experiences of trauma and abuse. Instead, I remained silent about it for most of my life. I sat and I waited for the church to start to speak loudly about sexual harassment and abuse and then began to get frustrated when I felt like it was missing its opportunity to bring about healing to the millions of women that so desperately need it.
Just a few days ago I was thinking about all of this and I realized something that I had been leaving out of the equation. The church isn’t just a building. It isn’t just what happens on a Sunday morning. I am also the church. That hit me and I knew that is was time to make my way out of this safe place of hiding I have found in the shadows. I’m still not entirely sure what this looks like, but I know that I need to start speaking out, even if it feels risky, vulnerable and isn’t the perfect little package I would like it to be.