Is it just me or is difficult to be a woman and still effectively show the love of Christ to all people? (And by "all" I mean "men.") I love to love. I am a people person (with introverted needs...but that's another story for another time). Relationships are kind of my forte--where I excel. It's a beautiful gift to have when you've been called into ministry.
But here's the thing, I feel that I have to be on my guard around members of the opposite sex. Now, I don't really feel this way inside the church doors. Most of the men I know from any church make me feel comfortable and at ease around them. My problem is not even with "men" in general.
The problem comes when I'm out in the public arena. Walking to the bank. Browsing the aisles at Save-a-Lot. Working outside in my yard. Going for a run. I feel vulnerable; gawked at. (Sometimes audibly, oftentimes with a look.) And this puts me ill at ease.
How does a woman embrace her beauty, the body God has given her, with confidence and dignity, purity and modesty, without drawing uninvited attention? I like to look nice, to dress myself tastefully, fashionably. But I think (I hope) everyone who knows me could testify that I don't wear anything to purposefully draw attention.
And yet, the attention comes; and not in an encouraging sort of way. No, unfortunately this is more the "cat call" sort of way. And it makes me very uncomfortable.
I want to be able to walk down the street, smiling at everyone I meet, greeting them with cheerful hellos, and perhaps engaging them in meaningful conversation. But I just don't feel the freedom to live that way.
So, I ask you--
Is it our world, our culture? Is it just me, being overly cautious, overly sensitive? How should women deal with this? Is it possible to sincerely love with Christ's love, without attracting the wrong kind of attention?