I shared a table with a woman this past week who felt within her a call to write and had a story to tell. I know nothing of her ability to tell her story, but I saw the lament on her face when she said, “But I’m not shaped like the women who get book deals. I’m not pretty or skinny like them.” My heart splintered.
I remember the first time I realized I was not a pretty girl like the pretty girl who commented on the size of my nose at age eleven. Eleven year olds should care little about the sizes of their noses but with more and more frequency, the age lowers at which girls begin to care about the sizes of not only their noses, but also their hips and budding breasts and thighs. They make bras for toddlers these days.
Some are born pretty and some starve or surgically alter themselves to make them so. I was neither born pretty nor given the financial means to pursue a nose job or braces or a constant stream of hair highlights, lowlights, or extensions. I was given this body and given to this body, and this body has known its temporality since a young age. A big nose is the least of my concerns as I grow older, now it is the womb that cannot hold children, the torn meniscus I never got properly repaired, and the hill toward 40 I am nearly cresting. I know my form and it is dust.
But I lament with the woman who shared my table because if all women see in the women teaching them is the embodiment or pursuit of perfect bodies, families, homes, clothes, hair, intelligence, appeal, marriages, understanding of God, how will they know they are fearfully and wonderfully made too? We can know it because it’s in the Word of God, but how can we know it with our hearts? Our bodies? Our souls? Knowledge is only one part of who we are. It matters that we believe all truth with all of who God has made us.
This isn’t to shame women naturally given to beauty, or those with the means to make themselves more so, but is it any wonder women are drawn to quick, easy tropes for what ails them? Is it any wonder we’re still taking the fruit that promises us godlikeness? Biting off bits of it in the form of Instagram images, Pinterest perfect homes, four steps to finding a good husband or having a good marriage, or swallowing the many iterations of diet culture in the form of food restriction? Is it any wonder we’re googling how to make our pores look smaller and have drawers of unused anti-wrinkling creams because each one promises to do it better? I have a smattering of persistent gray hairs on my part that no amount of color covers for long and still I try.
My friend Andrea and I have been chewing on these quick fixes, tropes, and mantras that women around us believe and asking ourselves, “Why?” and “What can we do?” We can’t do much—especially because we are two people who are familiar with sorrow and feel it most acutely in these bodies we’ve been given—but can we do something? Can we speak to these spaces where women discount themselves from the work of God because they wear a size 18 or no amount of primer can mask their pores or “believing in themselves” just hasn’t had the same effect on them that it seems to have on the Insta-stars?
We want to bring you along to 14 conversations with men and women on some of the unique struggles we see women facing in 2019. We’re calling our conversation Good Enough: Finding the Good in a Never Enough World, because we want women to realize God created them as complex bodies, minds, spirits, and souls and called them “good.” Sin has wrecked our world in many ways, but God in us is renewing and building and forming and ushering in his new kingdom. The old kingdom says we’re never enough, but the new kingdom says, “Christ in you, Sufficient!” How does that apply to things like social media and diet culture and friendships and meditation/mindfulness and “clean living” and more?
Coming in May 2019, Good Enough.