I am deeply blessed.
Can I just throw that out there?
I’ve got this awesome roommate. When we first started rooming together, we weren’t sure how this arrangement was going to pan out. All we really knew about each other was A) we both liked running, and B) we both considered ourselves feminists. But our shared love for running and women’s equality has turned out to be the perfect springboard for one of the most important relationships I could have asked for going into my final year of college.
For one, she keeps me in shape. Which is nice.
But two, I feel as if this year we have learned a great deal about what it means to be Godly women. So many of our talks wander into the realm of society, faith, career, love, the future, and what that all means for us as women who love Christ.
We spent an especially large amount of time talking about these things last week. As many of you know, the season of Lent is coming up, and my (brave) roommate decided that she was going to be taking away her freedom to wear makeup, and replacing it with concentrated, daily prayer; a continuous conversation between her and God concerning the future. Last week, I decided to join her. Our motivations are similar, but while I was wrestling with whether or not I should do something for Lent, and what exactly I should give up or add in, I was presented with a particular question:
What makes me feel like I’m not enough?
Earlier this semester, I began reading the book of Galatians. And in Galatians 4:6-7, Paul writes,
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
I wrote in the margins of that page, “I am an heir to all that God has.”
That’s a huge statement. But it’s true.
I have everything I need in God. Everything I will ever need. It is all contained within my relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So what makes me feel like I’m not enough?
Society tells me every day that I am not enough. That I do not have enough. Wearing makeup tells me that my God-given face is not enough. But one thing that has also stood out to me during my times of communion with God is that there is a much stronger message that is telling me that I am not enough coming in from every corner of society.
It’s telling me that I’m not a whole person by myself.
Every day, I am bombarded with messages that tell me 1 + 1 = …1? But we all know that math makes no sense. One half plus one half is what makes one. Every day, my mind is flooded with images, messages, and words that tell me I will not be whole until I am linked with another. I won’t be fulfilled until I’ve found that “special someone”. I am constantly told I need to find my other half, implying that I, by myself, am not enough.
Last week was hard. Occasionally, I am acutely reminded that many of my close friends are either seriously dating or engaged. Or married. With children. Recently, my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with either engagement pictures, or pictures of babies. And it brings up in me this strange mixture of happiness, loneliness, and anger. I am happy for my friends and family, but these images are far too potent reminders of…me. And just me. Not me, plus anyone else. And that feels lonely. And then I get angry. Partially because I wonder why not me, but more so because I’m sick of being told that I should be getting engaged and married and having babies.
I’m sick of being told I have a problem. That marriage is the end-all, the pinnacle of not only life, but of my life as a Christian woman.
I’m sick of women being told that we are half until a man makes us whole.
And now I sound like an angry, bitter, and lonely feminist, raging against the men of the world, hating marriage, children, and all things romantic as a way of empowering herself, which, as we all know is a lame way of making herself feel better because she hasn’t been asked on a date since her senior prom. And isn’t that a lovely stereotype?
Let’s get some things straight.
One, I’m a feminist. I’m a feminist because I believe women are beautiful. I believe we are strong. I believe we are necessary, and whole, capable, intelligent human beings that have just as much to offer the world as men, and that we should not be denied the same freedom and opportunities as men, just because of our sex. Moreover, I am a feminist because I believe God loves women just as much as He loves men, and that should be reflected in society and daily, personal interactions.
Two, I love men. I think they’re the greatest. Some of my best friends are men, and I treasure them. They have so much to offer this world, and I cannot wait to see how God uses them. Furthermore, I think fault for gender-inequality can be pinned on men and women alike. Men, be willing to sit down for a change. Women, be willing to stand up.
Three, I am definitely pro-marriage. I think marriage is a really beautiful and unique relationship, and one I hope that I can participate in someday.
But, and finally, I’m single because I’ve chosen to be. In the words of Elizabeth Bennett (or Jane Austen, take your pick): “Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony, which is why I shall end up an old maid.” I’m still trying to decide if this makes me laugh or want to cry. But, regardless, it is important: Feminism empowers women, giving us the space and freedom to choose someone that is actually good for us, instead of throwing ourselves at man after man with whom we are ill-suited. Is it better to be alone, or desperately mismatched?
I’ve wanted to post something to this effect since last semester, but could not find a time when my thoughts were coherent enough to say what I wanted to say. (They are, arguably, still not coherent enough, but I promise they are way more organized than they were two months ago).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would encourage all of you, men and women alike, to ask yourself, What makes me feel like I’m not enough?
I don’t expect everyone to commune with God or even want to commune with God the way I do. But one of the most beautiful things about my relationship with Him is that not only does He have a huge, redemptive plan for this world, but He has a specific redemptive plan for me. He finds me to be enough. All He asks is that I stay close to Him. There is nothing I can do to make myself more in His eyes – He’s got this radical love for me, just as He created me.
For Him, I am always enough.
Perfect? No. But enough to love, and to love deeply.
And if someday I am given that wonderful opportunity to link arms with some man and commit to love each other and live our lives together, that’s awesome.
But for now, I’m enough. I am one whole person, all by myself.
And besides, I’ve got an awesome roommate right now. So I’m feeling pretty good about life.