The media is full of women archetypes and stereotypes. While some women esteem to reflect a certain image, others avoid the same image all together. Either way, we have been filled with messages about what "success" and "failure" look like as a woman at any age and in any role depending on our values and beliefs. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, wives and moms at all life stages may have very different life priorities and values but most share the constant barrage of expectations placed on us by either society or ourselves.
I can personally attest to the expectations and pitfalls I have encountered along my own journey in womanhood. The constant lie that "I'm not enough" or maybe even "just a little too much" have paced through my mind one too many times.
I've had ENOUGH.
Today, I choose to believe I AM ENOUGH...not in the world's eyes...never have been, never will be...but in God's eyes. I am, after all, the woman He created me to be. Aways a work in progress, no doubt, but unlike all of the archetypes and stereotypes this world tries to fashion for women to fit into, I am uniquely crafted, uniquely broken, and uniquely restored. We all are.
This is the birthday insight I have gained today.
I was blessed with the gift of time alone with my Creator this morning to celebrate 31 years of life. What started off as a normal morning of routine to-dos and daily goals turned into a spontaneous trip to the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe where I was greeted by a quaint dining room slightly swaying with the ocean's rhythm.
As I ordered my two scrambled eggs sprinkled with cheese (delivered on a piece of wax paper, mind you) I sensed an indescribable novelty as I sat in "my pocket of peace" embraced by the rolling swells of ocean surrounding me. In the distance, I watched as the waves traveled from directly under the pier I was sitting on toward Sunset Cliffs where they crashed with sudden resolve before returning back to the ocean.
When the early morning clouds began to break, I moved to an outdoor table to take in the view with more clarity (compared to looking through the cafe window glazed with a fresh layer of ocean mist). I sat in awe as I watched wave after wave respect the Creator's boundary once it hit the shoreline. God used this scene to remind me of His omnipotence and my reliance on Him.
He not only cares enough to hold the ocean back but also cares enough to "sit" with us and spur us forward in his abundant love and grace. This is the ENOUGH I choose to live in, embracing His limitless love instead of grasping for the world's limited attempts to define us.
Proverbs 31, describes a woman who is clothed with strength and dignity and speaks with wisdom. I suppose if there is any woman I want to emulate in my 31st year, it is her. Otherwise, I choose to let go of the other archetypes and stereotypes that try to define what "enough" looks like, because these versions of "enough" all have limits while God's "enough" is limitless and tapping into the limitless is a creative habit worth pursuing!
My heart swelled with joy as I witnessed my 2 year old son bounce uninhibited to the mariachi band playing at the 60th wedding anniversary celebration we recently attended. His white helium balloon bounced along with him juxtaposed against the backdrop of a wise crowd full of years and experience. While he brought the average age down, he lifted many spirits up with his constant giggling face drowned out by the loud trumpet behind him.
His exuberant dance moves were the opitomy of carefree, a reminder to his often care-filled mama, that sometimes, you just need to let go and dance. It doesn't matter if anyone is watching or not watching. What matters is showing up with all the gusto you have to offer.
As I caught my gaze wondering from my dancing son to survey the room, I was touched to see the couple we had all gathered to celebrate dancing together equally uninhibited. There we were, my 2 year old son with his bouncing balloon, Charlie and Annie representing 60 years dancing hand in hand, and this inspired mama - all enjoying the moment together. All experiencing the gift of now.
Oh to be like a child, filled with constant wonder and curiosity combined with the wisdom of the ages. This is what my almost 31 year old spirit longs for - release from all of the unnecessary cares and judgements ingrained in my mind, mindful simplicity, and a consistent creative habit of embracing the here and now. I wonder if the other 60th wedding anniversary attendees would support this creative habit. If only I had time to sit with each of them to soak in their decades of knowledge and advice. How I would have loved to hear their perspective on childlike faith in their late 80's and 90's.
As my son turns 2 today, I hope my husband and I can give him the same gift Charlie and Annie gave me at their 60th wedding anniversary - to dance freely and joyfully amidst life's many unexpected twists and turns and to exude both wonder and wisdom. In the meantime, I'll give him his new Strider bike knowing his real birthday gift is his mom's dedication to instilling in him the creative habit of living in the here and now as she strives to do the same!
In light of the pending presidential election results, I felt inspired to write today. Soon the confetti will fall and the music will play to ring in the much anticipated inauguration of our nation's next leader. Inevitably, some will be pleased while others will be dismayed by the result. Either way, one candidate will be elected while the other will likely feel neglected by voters as they prepare to concede.
Concession is never fun and yet a necessary part of life. The recent election coverage has reminded me we all have a daily choice to elect which emotion will govern our decisions. We can elect fear or we can elect faith. Either way, choosing one means conceding the other. There is no bipartisan agreement between these two parties. One will win, one will lose.
So which candidate will win, not only in our presidential race, but in our hearts? Will our internal ballot be filled with fear or faith? I can assure you, from experience, your creative gifts will always campaign for faith because faith is being sure of what we hope for. Faith requires moving forward with confidence even when we don't know exactly what the next step holds.
November 8th may be our nation's official Election Day, but make no mistake, every day is election day in the process of stepping into our gifts and using them to serve others. No matter what the presidential results are tomorrow, we each have the power to choose whether to move forward in fear or in faith today and every day hereafter.
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