like this; "Move to the left, move to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight,!"
Sometimes being a woman has it's challenges in the mainly male world of Christian ministry. However, challenges come in all areas of our lives and are they are there to refine us. An old saying most of us have heard says; "it can make you bitter or better". It's really our choice of what we choose to fight, Spirit or flesh.
On a trip to India, I joined a team of presenters for a conference on leadership. The other presenters were all men, and our audience was men. With the exception of a couple ladies who were there that sat on the perimeter and the wives of a couple of the men on the team.
Each of the men presented their teaching standing to the group that had gathered themselves on the floor, sitting Indian style. However, before I was to speak, our host informed me that it would be best for me to sit as I spoke to the men so I would not be "over them" in standing. "These men", he said; " would likely be uncomfortable with a woman standing and teaching them. They would receive better if you sit as you teach."
There was the initial jab to my ego and feeling anger for the unfairness of the situation. Thoughts arguing for relevant points of rebuttal formed in my head. I painfully pushed them aside and said, "sure, whatever you want".
The presenter before me, finished up his talk and I was up. Or down, in actually.
I stood up for the introduction by our host, and then promptly sat down to begin speaking.
In all truth, it was perfect that I sat among these men and spoke on my topic on humility. Not only because of my submitted sitting, but their own humility in receiving a woman to teach on leadership! God showed up in wonderful ways and I had a whole new understanding of the power of humbling oneself. For the rest of the leadership conference, these Indian men openly received me, and my ministry to them.
Many years later, the Lord used this situation to teach me further on this lesson of humility. I was asked to be a "color commentator " for a specific training conference weekend I was hosting in my city. My job was to add relevant stories and points specific to the topics being covered by the other presenter. During one of these sessions, the other speaker asked me to "stand up" as I spoke, since I gave my input from one of the tables that everyone was sitting around. I remember clearly the Lord reminding me of this event years before in India, when I was asked to "sit down".
For those who know me, you know I'm not uncomfortable with standing and speaking at all. I had done and continue to do much public speaking and I am quite relaxed and enjoy doing it. However, something changed within me during that time in India. I became just as comfortable with taking the "lower" position and sitting, even when others had the more "honored" position of standing. It just was not an issue to me anymore.
Jesus tells us a story in Luke 14:8 -11 to illustrate this; "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both shall come an say to you; 'Give place to this man', and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you; 'Friend, move up higher', then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
So, sometimes in life we are bumped to the left or bumped to the right. We are asked to stand up or sit down. Let us fight, fight, fight, that we not become bitter, but better in the process.