last week i was overseeing clean-up after an art show my church sponsored and one of our planners needed some things carried out to her car. the cleaning frenzy had subsided somewhat and a group of guys were gathered near the door, talking.
“men,” i called, trying to get their attention and assistance. “men!” i called again, boosting the volume when i didn’t get a response. “men!”
third time’s the charm for those of us who aren’t used to yelling, and they came over and helped us move what needed to be moved.
“were you shouting ‘men’?” one of them asked, laughing. “you should’ve said ‘hey losers!’ or something.”
maybe it would have gotten their attention more quickly, but i don’t believe in belittling people into doing things for me. and i could’ve shouted “guys” instead, but i chose “men” deliberately.
women run men into the ground far too much, and, even though almost all of the men in question were younger than me and were (to an extent) answering to me in a work situation, i wanted to remind myself that they were, indeed, men, and not boys. i wanted to remind them they were men and respect who they were as men.
maybe you’re reading this and think “my gosh, that sounds really weird and backward and victorian.”
let me explain. one of the things i’m passionate about is seeing women understand and embrace and embody womanhood as God meant it to be. i don’t mean situations where women are belittled, silenced, denigrated or beaten into submission. not at all. i also don’t mean attitudes where women think it’s fine and funny to emasculate men and blame every imaginable evil on the fact that men are, well … men.
part of being a godly woman is supporting and encouraging my fathers and brothers in Christ in being godly men.
we use the terms “boys and girls” or “guys and girls” a lot, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. however, i think it’s important to know what being a woman or being a man means, and to remind ourselves that we are men and women and have responsibilities and glorious duties before God as such.
i didn’t really think about the significance of using these terms in everyday conversation until i noticed a (male) friend had a habit of using the word “woman” rather than “girl.” i had never considered before how affirming it was to be acknowledged by a man as a woman. does that sound weird? i don’t mean it to be, or anything else negative you might be imagining.
but it was affirming to be recognized as a woman, with all the peculiar heartaches and joys womanhood entails.
it made me realize that maybe, just maybe, being acknowledged as men — not guys, not boys — would likewise be encouraging and upbuilding (is that a word?) to men.
i don’t pretend to understand men very well, and i find them alternately weird and funny, frustrating and delightful, but i want to celebrate that God created them each as purposefully and uniquely as He created women, and that we are all alike in that we are made in His image to reflect His glory.
so that’s the story of shouting “men.”