This fall I was given the greatest privilege in the world — working with the Women of Faith conference. Each and every weekend I would travel to a different city and spend a few days with an arena full of women. I was probably only one of a couple dozen or so men present. But in-spite of the abundance of estrogen, let me tell you, those weekends were awesome!
And because I’ve worked with live entertainment and produced live events for over 15 years, I can say with pride, it truly was an honor to work alongside such tremendous speakers and entertainers. Some of them I now consider to be friends and allies.
As an Experience Architect, one of the most important things I value is sacred space. In my opinion, there is nothing more crucial to impacting lives from any experience, whether that’s conversation in a coffee-house, or an event with an arena full of women, than curating trust, through sacred spaces.
I’ve learned throughout these years, that sacred space and trust can be built various ways, but most importantly, they will always be lead with vulnerability. And in the arena of vulnerability, boy do we men, have a lot to learn.
As a matter fact, vulnerability isn’t the only thing I learned about from these women.
Here are 5 more things I learned from arenas full of women.
1. When it comes to worship, you women have us men beat hands down. I dare say there is any sweeter sound than the sounds of women worshipping with all their hearts. As a worship leader myself, I know this to be true. This fall convinced me once again that the path to restoration and healing, presupposes our adoration of Christ. Our worship will always take us immediately to His lap, where we can be met as we are in His perfect love.
2. Women are stronger than any man realizes. There’s a couple reasons why I say this but mainly this: men, have you ever heard a woman cry tears of brokenness? True authentic, gut-wrenching tears of brokenness? That sound comes from a place of strength few men ever brave the conditions to reach. And boy is that a beautiful sound. It’s where The Father’s love and mercy swoops in, picks us up, and speaks to our hearts, saying, “Now let me carry you for a while.”
3. The issues women deal with make my stuff look small in comparison. Women of course, read that and nod their head, they know it’s true. Men, however, probably read that and start to give a yeah but. Yeah but this or yeah but that. So let me just put this to bed for us all. Aside from all the deep arrows of the heart, the ones that oppress and kill the beauty of true womanhood, there is one thing women have long suffered through that men will never fully comprehend, childbirth. Enough said, right?
4. Though this could technically just be continued from #2 above, men, we frankly have it easy. All we have to do is turn our heads and cough every once and a while. I’m not trying to be graphic here, or cross any imaginary boundary but seriously, as a man I can speak firsthand to the fact that we do not spend enough time thinking about or fully understanding all the various tests, procedures, and otherwise not so fun things that women go through on a routine basis. Trust me here men, throughout this fall, I have heard more than my fair share of stories of exams, certain unwanted relatives coming into town, and a whole host of other stories leading to lots and lots of laughter. All things that have made me say, I’m the lucky one.
5. Last but certainly not least, women you are capable of more than any man comprehends. It’s unfortunate that the debate of gender roles in and out of the church spark such vitriol and heated reaction. I tend to see it more as overreaction and largely due to fear, especially when led by men, but the beautiful lesson I was reminded of this fall is that the gospel is just as present in the lives, stories, and words of a woman than they ever will be in a man. Women have been just as uniquely created in the image of The Father as men have. They are our co-image bearers and the idea that they would be viewed any less is flat-out disgusting to me.
I was honored to work with Women of Faith this year and hope to do so again in the future. The voices and leaders that are a part of that movement are some of the absolute very best and are no doubt leading some awesome experiences in the lives of many women around the country!
If you attended any Women of Faith weekend this year, I’d love to hear your stories of what you experienced over the weekend. You can send them to stories [at] thejoshcollins [dot] com.
Question for you: Women, would you add anything to this list above? Is there something you think I’ve left out? Something that needs to be added? What about you, men?