Joe Pesci has a great line in the 1990’s cult classic With Honors. He said, “If a woman is willing to give you her love, .. it’s the greatest gift in the world.” Now, he may have been advising a collegiate young man towards a romantic relationship, but I love that quote in a broader context. Women have so much life and love to give, and it really is a gift to work with, and for women, because of their sharing of themselves is the greatest gift in the world.
The most difficult thing about working with women though, is that they often have trouble working WITH other women. Especially if those other women are not “like” them. I’ve seen some of the greatest potential for fruit fall flat because women started fighting, criticising, and undermining each other. This is been such a frustration to me that I’ve spent a lot of hours just asking God, “why?” And “how do we end this?”
And as always, the answer has been to start by understanding each other.
Although there has been a lot of clarity over the years, one of the most instructive lessons I received came while I was watching “Sleeping Beauty” with my daughters. My favorite scene from childhood appeared. The scene where the three good fairies are preparing a birthday dinner for Aurora. And as I watched the three ladies interact, eureka struck. And so I will share the brilliant metaphor Jesus laid on my heart: the three types of women — blue fairies, pink fairies, and green fairies. (And yes, I swear, this is biblical. I’ll try to prove it. And yes, I realize literature and film often explores these three prototypes. Can anyone say “Downtown Abbey?”)
The Pink Fairies
The CONS: Flora, the pink fairy, has it all together. She has a voice, a brain, and resources, and she’s going to use them for the good of people. She sees things in black and white and considers her views superior to others because technically, she is. She is the leader. She really believes that she could save the world if everybody just listened to her and did exactly what she tells them to do. But she’s completely oblivious to the fact that she’s alienating people with her behavior. To work with a Pink Fairy is frustrating. If they are a leader, you won’t feel like your voice is heard. If they work under you, you might feel like they are trying to take control from you. In friendship, you never know where you stand with a pink fairy because they won’t be honest about their struggles. They won’t let you know they need you. She often has wealth, beauty, and leverage, and has often not had deep pain in her life. Biblical examples of pink fairies are Rachel, Merriam, Peninnah (Hannah’s sister wife), Mary (of Mary and Martha), Michal (1st wife of King David),and of course, the Proverbs 31 woman.
The PROS: Pink fairies are stable and they tend to create stable families. They know how to have fun and create beautiful homes and communities. When you do listen to their advice, things really do turn out well. They also don’t give up their femininity easily, and won’t let you either. To have a Pink Fairy on the team means that your organization will succeed. Pink fairies also know how to stay calm under pressure. Every time. (Think Mary Poppins and Queen Elizabeth)
The Green Fairies
CONS: Fauna, the green fairy, represents some of my favorite people in the world, and I’m sure you, too, because everybody loves a green fairy. They are the peacemakers. They are the quiet women who go with the flow. They are sweet. But that’s just the problem, green fairies are usually oblivious, absentminded, and incredibly hard to motivate. They don’t want to say or do anything that would make anybody upset, and usually tremble in fear in the face of a foe. Biblical examples of green fairies are Queen Esther, Dinah, Ruth, and Leah.
PROS: Green fairies call out the best in you. They’re the easiest people to talk to, and often, to love. And when you do get green fairies motivated, they are supremely powerful. All of their introversion means that they have a really great perspective on how people feel about things. They are extraordinarily compassionate, and green fairies often facilitate some of the deepest inner healing.
The Blue Fairies
CONS: Merryweather, the blue fairy, is feisty and strong. Maybe a bit too strong. And that’s often how blue fairies are perceived. Because they have seen great evil, they often are obsessed with being the strongest in the room. Blue Fairies see the writing on the wall, but then they either make war or give up. They lack wisdom. Their impulsiveness can create division. It can also get a lot of people hurt. And because some of their risky moves are life saving events, they often don’t learn easily. Biblical examples of blue fairies are Sarah, Rahab, Bathsheba, Deborah, Hannah, and Naomi.
PROS: A blue fairy is fiercely loyal and protective. They won’t let anyone hurt you — including you. They make excellent accountability partners because they won’t judge you for your actions (they probably already know anyway), and they won’t let you make the same mistake again either. They’re bright. They’re quick. They’re insightful and have ingenuity. And they don’t lie. And if you meet a mature blue fairy, one who has learned how to have self-control, you have a mighty woman on your hands. This is the woman you want standing behind you as you face a storm. This is the woman you want praying for you. She will simply NOT backdown. She makes a great coach, mentor, and sister.
SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE CHURCH?
I don’t know anything that can divide a church as quickly as women who don’t like each other. Because we are the relational glue of our communities, we have the power to make or break a church. If one of us isn’t being served, or worse, is being threatened, we all are threatened. If you are a pink fairy who has been assigned to lead the women in your church, think about how the blue fairies feel when you shut them down. You are not just pulling a power card. You are creating division. If you are a green fairy, realize that you might want to take your whole family to that nice, quiet, introvert church on fifth street because you don’t like confrontation. But you may be robbing the church you’re supposed to be at of your voice. And they might just need it to be compassionate. And my dear, fellow blue fairies. The next time who are distrustful of your leadership team, realize it may just be because you really are rebellious. You do have a voice, and it should be heard. But you need to seek wisdom about how and when and why. As much as it kills you, you’ll probably learn it from the pink fairies.
We can’t live without each other. As need the perkiness and perfection of a pink fairy to remind us of the beauty that feeds our souls. And we need the green fairies to teach us how to hear each other. And we need the prophetic voice of the blue fairies who remind us that we are in the midst of war, and we need to guard our hearts. The more we understand each other, the more we can appreciate the differences between us. It might not be our way, but we need to learn from each other. We need to love each other.