Yesterday Rachel Held Evans Wrote an amazing post about how we as women are enough. Just. As. We. Are. In her post she laments the seeming agreement between much of the messages given in the church about the “Proverbs 31 woman” and the media headlines and magazine covers which ask, “Are you beautiful enough?”, “Are you sexy enough?”, “Are you crafty enough?”, Are you woman enough?” or in the aforementioned cases, “Are you Biblical enough?” and of course, the recent TIME magazine cover, “Are you mom enough?”. In her post Rachel has this to say about being enough,
…by “biblical,” most pointed to a glamorized, westernized version of the Proverbs 31 Woman, who rises before dawn each day, provides food for her family, trades fine linens for a profit, invests in real estate, and works late into the night weaving and sewing. Christian books and conferences tend to perpetuate the idea that a woman’s worth should be measured by the details, rather than the message, of Proverbs 31, and like the magazines in the checkout line, often focus on fitness, domesticity, beauty, and success as ways of earning the favor of God and men.
But here’s the thing.
The poetic figure found in Proverbs 31 is not the only woman in the Bible to receive the high praise of, “eshet chayil!” or “woman of valor!”
So did Ruth.
And Ruth could not be more opposite than the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Ruth was a Moabite (a big no-no back then; men were forbidden from marrying foreign wives).
Ruth was childless.
Ruth, was a widow— “damaged goods” in those days.
Ruth was dirt poor.
Rather than exchanging fine linens with the merchants to bring home a profit to her husband and children, Ruth spent her days gleaning leftovers from the workers in the fields so she and her mother-in-law could simply survive!
And yet, despite looking nothing like the ancient near Eastern version of a magazine cover, Ruth is bestowed with the highest honor. She is called a woman of valor. Eshet chayil!
She is called a woman of valor before she marries Boaz, before she has a child with him for Naomi, before she becomes a wealthy and influential woman.
Because in God’s eyes, she was already enough.
The brave women of Scripture—from Ruth to Deborah to Mary Magdalene to Mary of Bethany—remind me that there’s no one right way to be a woman, and that these images of perfection with which we are confronted every day are laughable to those of us who are in on the big secret: We are already enough.
We are enough because God is enough, and God can turn even the smallest acts of valor—letting go of a grudge, cleaning puke out of a kid’s hair, inviting the homeless guy to dinner, listening to someone else’s story— into something great.
Proverbs 31:25 says the wise woman “laughs at the days to come.”
I don’t think the Proverbs 31 Woman laughs because she has it all together.
I think she laughs because she knows the secret about being enough.
For me the best part about getting older has to be that I have finally become me. By that I mean I am embracing who I am and how I was made. Surprisingly, rather than causing me to compare myself to all the amazing women I know, this has freed me to celebrate them for all that they are as well. My lovelies, the truth is we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses and it is only when we fully embrace the amazing women that God gifted us to be that we realize how much we all need each other. We are humans complete each other. We fill in the gaps. Like it says in 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ, if all are the eye, how do we hear? I submit to you: If all are Cindy Crawford, where is Mother Theresa? If all are Martha Stewart where is Amelia Earhart? If all are Rachel Held Evans, where is Michelle Krabill?
So, you know what?
I do not scrapbook, and I am enough.
Lots of days I don’t wear makeup, and I am enough.
My kids aren’t perfect (but they are awesome), and I am enough.
I am a horrible secretary and not well organized, and I am enough.
My kids only breastfed 6-8 weeks and I didn’t really enjoy it, and I am enough.
I didn’t cry the first day my kids went to Kindergarten, and I am enough.
I do cry when I get angry, frustrated or upset, and I am enough.
I don’t like confrontation, but I like to challenge the status quo and ask questions, and I am enough.
I laugh at the days to come. Eshet chayil! I am enough.
And you know what else?
You are too.