Today’s Feminine Friday is a guest post from my dear friend, Fiona. Fiona, a wedding and event planner, lives in Luxembourg with her husband, Rasmus, and blogs at Far Far Away.
My husband has taken up ”training for a marathon” with some friends of his. He says up front he’s not expecting to be able to actually run the marathon (he has dodgy knees) but that the training process in itself is good for him. He asked me a few times if I wanted to join in the training and I did the crazy-laugh at him and told him. No. That would not be happening.
Last week we were going over plans for the week and he talked about his running plans. I asked him who’s training with them now? And he mentioned a name. A woman I know. And I swear the blood stopped running in my veins that very moment.
She’s training with them? She’s running three times a week with the guys on their marathon training?
I pouted and my husband noticed and laughed at me. What’s wrong? She’s training with you? I said incredulously. Well that’s just perfect.
Why? he asked in complete befuddlement.
Because she’s already perfect and now she’s even more perfect and now I have to run too! I whined.
The amount he laughed right then was not the kind amount. I pouted some more and he laughed some more. What’s so perfect about her? he asked.
She’s pretty and musical and clever and everyone likes her, I whined again. And I love her hair.
Her hair? Now he looked actually confused. Really? You like her hair?
Yes! I proclaimed. I always wanted to be a brunette.
She’s not brunette, he said slowly, she’s got ginger hair. Maybe I got her name wrong…
And he continued to describe the woman he was talking about and as I realised who he actually had been referring to, my eyes widened and I blushed in embarrassment.
I’d been caught out.
All my whining and worrying was only focused on this one woman, who I thought was better than me. But another woman was named, and I realised in the split second I figured out who she was, that I thought I was better than her.
I do this a lot. And I’m sure it’s a human thing and not just a woman thing. But we woman are good at it, right? Taking the measure of a woman as soon as we meet them, figuring out how she compares to me and whether I have to worry about her being competition.
It’s a sickness that begins in me. Begins when I get out of bed in the morning and look in the mirror and refuse to like what I see. When instead of the woman with a nice smile who’s good at writing and makes the best ginger snap cookies, I see a woman with bad skin, whose business is not exactly flourishing and who can’t even keep the house clean.
I look at myself and see all the places I think I am failing. And I look at you and see all the places I think you are succeeding. It’s a terrible basis for comparison.
And it was not meant to be this way. The Creator thought up 8.7million species of animals and plants. And he imagined 6 billion unique people to live on this planet today. If I’m going to start comparing, I will never win. I will always be able to find someone who I think is prettier, cleverer, better at public speaking, better at praying, more generous, more patient.
Something’s wrong with us for us to value ourselves so little.
Ironically, I’ve found that sometimes the church does a better job at telling me horrible I am, than how valued I am. We spend a lot of time reminding each other that we’re sinners. And as true as that is, before there was Genesis 3, there was Genesis 1 and 2 – we are made in the image of God. And until I understand the magnitude of that, the amazing love that chose to form us in the image of the divine, then the rest of the story will not make sense.
Because of the predominance of the sin-story in our churches, we can find ourselves feeling guilty for thinking good things about ourselves. But this false-humility doesn’t serve God and it doesn’t serve the Kingdom. I love this quote my Marianne Williamson…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This is the person I want to become – a woman who is not threatened by the achievements, the popularity, the appearance of the women around me, but one who embraces all the glory of being a unique and gifted daughter of God and can encourage that same light to shine out of each woman I meet.
In summary: guest post.