“Play your position!”
I’ve read this illustration many times: ” If a goalie on the soccer team spends all his energy trying to score a goal, he hurts his team because he’s not playing his position.”
True, true. Great advice.
But then they continue. They always continue. “You’re a woman. You don’t need to be doing man’s work. You’ll hurt your family if you’re out pursuing a PhD instead of caring for your children. You’ll hurt your family if you are being ambitious toward your own goals rather than supporting a man’s ambition.”
Some of you don’t believe me. Some of you think I make this stuff up. I would like to direct you to CBMW.org. Spend a few minutes there and you’ll see that I am not exaggerating. The rest of you already know what I’m talking about.
It’s good to play one’s position. But what should determine one’s position?
If I were a soccer coach, I would observe my players and learn their talents–find out which position they would best fit into. I would probably also take their desires into account–find out which position they would be most passionate about playing.
I would not, however, say, “All the people with brown eyes can play defense. All the people with blue eyes can play offensive. You, with the green eyes! You play goalie.”
To do so would be disrespectful to the abilities of my players. I would not be utilizing their talents for the benefit of the team. I would instead be deciding for them, based on physical factors unrelated to soccer, that they must some how form their talents to fit certain positions. That would be silly.
Yet the church often tries to do that with gender roles.
If a man and a woman get married, they might hear their fellow church members trying to coach them: “Hey, you with the penis! You’re the breadwinner and the leader. You with the vagina! You take care of the children and support your husband. Now, play your position.”
Regardless of the woman’s actual abilities, we stick her at home, in a submissive, supporting role. We put her in the goalie position, even if she can kick that ball into the net like none other. Even if the man has no desire or talent to be a leader, we make him team captain and expect him to score some goals.
And this, this is what hurts a team.
You know how they say, “Marriage is not 50/50. It’s 100/100.”?
When we enforce gender roles, neither member of the relationship can truly give 100/100.
The man must break off any pieces of his life that don’t fit into the tiny box that is “manhood.” He must set aside any talents, desires, personality types, or spiritual gifts that don’t fit the mold. His wife must do the same to squeeze into the tiny position that she has been afforded by the church.
And what happens is, both end up only giving half of themselves.
Instead of two full people merging their lives together to become one flesh, we see two broken halves of a person, trying to glue those broken halves together and make them one cohesive relationship.
It’s time to step outside our gender roles and be ourselves.
It’s time really play our positions–the ones that God, not the church or society, assigned us when He gave us our individual talents and personalities and desires.
It’s time to give 100%, rather than holding back on the impact we could have in the world.
Let’s stop breaking off pieces of ourselves in the name of “Biblical” manhood or womanhood.