Yesterday I preached on the call of Jeremiah (Jer. 1:4-10) and talked about a few of the great female leaders in the last 150 years including Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Gloria Steinem. We, too, have a calling that is no less important… it is to love and to share our unique gifts and abilities (no matter how small you may think they are) with the world to make it a better place. (Listen to the full audio of the sermon here.)
Coincidentally, there was a documentary on last night about Gloria Steinem. It was fascinating to hear her journey in her own words. From the outside, people like Gloria are heroes who seem almost invincible. From the inside, we find that they are just people like us. As a young journalist, Gloria had one of those aha moments while reporting on women’s right to control their own bodies. That moment changed the rest of her life and led her to strive for full equality for women. Still, it wasn’t easy. She said she had plenty of doubts, and when the press or public treated her especially brutally, she swore she was quitting. But she didn’t. Gloria held on to her vision and surrounded herself with other women she could lean on. Around the time she turned 50, she experienced a few years of “depression” where she found herself thoroughly exhausted in every way. In starting to write a book about self-esteem, the great Gloria Steinem found that she had very little herself. It took some serious introspection and self-reflection to determine why. In the end she came out of it stronger and more secure in herself and her vision.
I’m sharing this with you because it reinforced a few things for me. First, prophets in our day still have a hard time. They still deal with ridicule, anger and open hostility. Second, no one is invincible. Life gets tough sometimes and people crash sometimes… even those we think are braver and stronger than the rest of us. Looking within is an important part of our journeys. Third, don’t give up. Even when God calls us to love and we get bruised, betrayed and burned, we shouldn’t stop loving. Even when God calls us to share who we are and what we have and people ridicule us, or take advantage of us, or we fail in some way, we need to get up, brush ourselves off, and start over again. That’s life.
At the end of the day, it is worse never to have tried, never to have loved, never to have risked, never to have lived to the fullest extent possible. We are all called to be instruments of Love. Perhaps we can open ourselves to being that instrument today by asking, “God, where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say?” Then remain open to the nudges, the opportunities, the intuition… if you watch for the answer, I believe you’ll find it.