I recently read a post by a friend. I call her a friend because while I know her, served alongside her, and ate meals with her, we haven’t spoken in years. All of that said, I call her friend because even in the distance, her words resonated so deeply and strongly with me. In brief, she wrote about how over the years she has been made to feel like she was too “much” for the church. I understood it as she spent most of her life feeling like she needed to be “less” in order to be “best”. I read her words over and over because while I’ve felt it all of my life, it wasn’t until that moment that I could explain the feeling that I have carried. As the weeks have gone by, I have continued to process this idea and how it has affected my life.
You see, her words resonated because as I read them, I felt as though I could have written them.
You are too loud.
You are too strong willed.
You ask too many deep questions.
You should learn what your role is and isn’t.
You shouldn’t push boundaries so much.
You should only speak when spoken too.
You should be more of a follower and less of a leader.
You should tone it down because you might intimidate someone.
You are too much, too brave, too fearless, too outspoken, too strong, too quick-witted, too driven, too confident, too emotional, too feisty, too motivated, too spontaneous, too courageous, too….too….too much.”
Church, can we talk about this for a minute? I’ve wrestled with this literally for most of my life and from the responses to my friend’s post, I was not the only one who felt that way. In the last few months that God has been working on my heart regarding this issue, I have found myself asking how we as a church came to the conclusion that “less is best” for our Christian sisters. I look at the traits that often get hushed and they are qualities that I believe I was created with. They are qualities that I believe God instilled inside of me in order to use them for His kingdom. They are qualities that so many women have stuffed deep down inside for fear of offending someone or stepping on toes because it may not be “her place”.
In this journey I have been studying about women in the Bible. I’ve been reading about ones who broke rules, pushed boundaries, and stepped up when others thought it might not have been “their place” and they changed the course of the world around them. I’m learning that they didn’t let others intimidate or scare them out of being themselves. What I’m learning is that gender alone doesn’t define my capabilities in the mission that God has laid out for me unless I let it. What I’m learning is that being a woman doesn’t mean that I need to be less than I was created to be in order to be the best version of myself. The best version of myself is the version that God created even if it tends to be outspoken, brave, and louder than others.
We women have to stop believing the lie that “less is best”. We have to stop letting people push us into a corner convincing us that we are too much. It’s time to embrace our true selves and allow the REAL best versions of ourselves to shine bright with purpose for the kingdom. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave this earth knowing that I didn’t let my gender define the strength of my impact. I want my four year old daughter to grow up in a church that doesn’t hush her strengths because they are afraid of them. I want more women to feel empowered to be themselves…fully and wholly themselves.
I don’t know what it looks like, but I can promise this; I’m not done learning. I’m not done searching. I’m not done stretching or pushing to find the real me because through this journey I have learned that “less is not best” and church it’s time more women feel empowered to be their best. I’m done hiding behind the lesser version of myself because I’m afraid because y’all…