How To Be A Good Enough Woman
Seeing as August is Women’s Month, I thought I’d post this awesome blog written by my amazing wife, Jess Basson. You can check out her blog here.
Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try it’s just Not Good Enough? Although August is about celebrating women, all these stories of incredible overachievers defying the odds can be quite depressing. Oh, you started a non-profit that educates underprivileged girls, teach yoga to the elderly and wrote a best-selling recipe book? That’s nice. Today I made snacks, tidied up, and got the cat down from the tree. I did have a shower, though. As Christopher Reeve says, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” That 3-minute shower was my act of hygienic heroism for the day. You’re welcome, world.
There seems to be this impossible standard of womanhood that constantly leaves us feeling Not Good Enough. From career to kids, from your relationship status to your bra size, we are being bombarded with advice from all directions on how to improve ourselves. Do more. Try harder. Be better.
Work more so you can further your career.
Work less so you can spend time with your family.
Try harder to get fit this winter so you can look good in a bikini.
Try harder to care less about how good you look in a bikini.
Make sure you have time on your own.
Make sure you have time with your friends.
Do something new everyday.
Simplify your life.
Be gentle with your children.
Be strict with your children.
Don’t go on a diet.
Don’t eat carbs.
I heard of a mom who had a chalkboard in her kitchen where she would leave herself notes and lists. After one overwhelming day she just wrote across the whole board, “Be Better At Everything!”
No wonder one feels Not Good Enough. No wonder one gets sucked into a comparison game with other women that leaves you resentful, or depressed, or momentarily smug as you watch another mom negotiating with a screaming toddler until five minutes later when it’s your child having a colossal tantrum in the shopping aisle.
Is there any other way to do this potentially powerful but often intimidating identity called womanhood?
I think there is. It’s called Grace.
I don’t mean grace like someone who is elegant and sophisticated. I don’t mean Grace like the most popular middle name for girls EVER. I mean Grace like love that hasn’t been earned. Grace that is acceptance just as you are. Grace that is an endless supply of forgiveness no matter how many mistakes are made.
Grace isn’t denying that there is a standard. Grace is what makes up the difference for our shortcomings. It’s love that fills the gap when we feel Not Good Enough.
But here’s the secret…
Discovering true contentment in your role as a woman doesn’t start with giving grace. It starts with receiving grace. It’s hard to accept love when we feel like we don’t deserve it. It’s hard to accept forgiveness when we know we’ve let someone down. We even struggle to receive a compliment without saying something negative about ourselves! What do you do when someone pays you a compliment?
“Oh, this shirt? I’m so overweight it’s the only thing that fits me.”
“Thanks, I think it did go well – but I really could have finished the project sooner.”
“Ah you’re sweet, but my hair is so frizzy. I wish I had straight hair like you.”
Many of the women I know have high expectations and can be hard on themselves when they don’t measure up. So receiving grace feels very counterintuitive. We are so used to working hard for everything that it’s tough to accept value that isn’t related to our performance. But grace is being loved, appreciated and worthy because of who we are, not because of what we do. We are loved because of who we are, not because of what we do. That’s how grace saves us from the tyranny of Not Good Enough.
There aren’t a lot of relationships, religions or ways of life that offer grace, but as women we need it so desperately. I know I do.
This Women’s Month, perhaps it’s time to push aside all the fanfare on what’s so amazing about women, and go on a intentional journey to find out what’s so amazing about grace.