Worship at my meeting today was very good but still a little challenging for me. My meeting is small, though today we had three visitors. A challenge that I face is that we have several men who are frequently led to speak during worship. Their leadings are pretty consistently valid, and I do not want to take anything away from any of them.
What weighs on me is that it is somewhat rare for any women to speak during our worship. It does happen, perhaps once a month. As a result, it is common for nearly every male to speak during worship, but no women.
This has happened before. A few months ago I sensed a leading to speak during worship. The leading was not as strong as it is most of the time. While I was in discernment about sharing it, three different men stood to speak. One of the men in my meeting has been appointed to choose an Advice to read during the worship, so counting him, four men spoke at that particular meeting, but none of the women. If I had shared the leading I had sensed, it would have meant that all men present would have spoken but none of the women. I felt that would be a bad example to set, and I chose not to share the leading rather than set up such a dichotomy.
For the most part, this has not been much of a problem. I normally only sense a leading to speak once a month or so. About two months ago, something happened that seemed to pull a plug in me, and I have sensed more leadings to speak than before. Since that time, I have sensed leadings to speak in meeting about three times out of four. It is this increased frequency that has challenged my discernment process.
Today, three men spoke, the one man read an Advice, and there I was weighing a leading to speak. Part of today's challenge was not just that I felt a somewhat strong leading to speak, but that this one seemed to be among the better leadings that I have sensed of late. I felt for a while today that one of the women visitors was weighing a leading to share, and I was hoping that she would do so. That would have allowed me to also speak. She didn't, so I didn't. As the Lord brought things to pass, meeting broke a little early and I did not speak.
I struggle with the rightness of this new policy that I have. I want to be faithful to the Lord, and in fact I am willing to break my new guideline. My reluctance is based on the message that it would send if all the men spoke at a particular meeting but none of the women. God does not limit Himself to using the Y chromosone, and the women who attend my meeting are all gifted people. This struggle with balancing two different types of faithfulness does not appear to be going away soon, so I may post here about it again.