In Which I Would Gag if it Didn’t Sting so Bad

Tonight I heard the song “Lead me” by Sanctus Real. Normally if that comes on the radio, I switch stations, but this time it was playing from my friend’s ipod over dinner. I politely stay hearken to our conversation, but inwardly, I am distracted. The song echoes,

“I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying…
“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?
Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life.”

In this song, the woman is portrayed as a helpless, passive, beautiful person who longs for her husband to rescue her from whatever pain or challenge she is currently facing.

Some Christian music is hokey and makes me want to gag. Others are beautiful, leaving me in awe of so glorious a Creator. And still others hurt like a slow wound as I curl my lip, unsure of whether I will cry or whether or I will become angry and outspoken.

I ponder the song for a moment and wonder what the reaction would be if the song went like this:

“In picture frames I see my handsome husband
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear him saying…
Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?
Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life.”

Doesn’t sound like any song I would hear on Christian radio.

Hearing that song again tonight brought back dismal memories of my college ministry leaders instructing us women that we “need to be willing to be led” and addressed the men to “step up and lead.” I am reminded of being encouraged to read “Captivating” by Stasi Eldredge in which I was told that deep down every woman longs to be seen as beautiful and to be rescued by a man, precisely the message that Disney princesses taught me too for that matter (Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Shrek… I am surprised at how many movies one can make from the “damsel in distress” theme). Also during that time, a friend of mine was reading “Made to Be His Helpmeet,” in which Debi Pearl warns women that there is no excuse for her not to provide sexual gratification to her husband, even if it hurts her (i.e. vaginal dryness in menopause).1

I don’t like to criticize others’ work, be it books or songs, but I have reached a point where I would like to remind young women that there is freedom in Christ beyond prescribed “gender roles.” There are marriages outside of husband-as-decision-maker-and-leader while-his-wife-stands-back-in-adoration. Ephesians 5:21 tells us that we are to submit mutually one to another. Galatians 3:28 tells us that there are no male nor female, but rather, we are one in Christ. Jesus taught and talked to women, against Rabbinical Law (Luke 8:1). Then Jesus didn’t even mention the word “headship” when talking about marriage; rather he just encouraged people to stay together if they do get married (and even if they don’t, I’m quite confident that Jesus is the ultimate forgiver and welcomer of divorcees).

And so as I tend to the wounds of past teachings on gender and leadership, I ask God for healing, for fresh influences, and to use my voice to speak hope and freedom to all of the daughters of the church. I celebrate with other young writers, write some of my own thoughts on this topic and make up my own songs. And then, when I’m tired from staying up late at night to write about all of this, I pray for GOD to lead me with the strength of the Spirit, who is able to stand while I find rest and renewal in living a life in which I am a Child of God, no more, but certainly no less.

1. Chapter 16 of “Made to Be His Helpmeet” by Debi Pearl

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2 thoughts on “In Which I Would Gag if it Didn’t Sting so Bad

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