It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
“The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence, an artist of her life... the resurrection of the world begins.”
The other day, I found myself sitting around with nothing to do (remember that I gave up busyness for Lent). Then something profound happened.
I found myself getting into a really long, deep, meaningful conversation with someone. It was the kind of conversation that takes its time. The kind that you could only get into if you have nothing else pulling at you. The kind that stays with you and makes you think a lot about life, relationships, and yourself—both how you see yourself and how the world sees you.
The topic of conversation was about whether one could "choose" themselves and be happy even if they have not been "chosen" by someone else. "Is it possible to be happy with yourself if you’re not in a relationship?" we pondered. "Is it better to be in a so-so relationship than to not be in one at all? What do people think of those who have not been 'chosen' by someone, and what do those walking the path alone think about themselves?"
The conversation then turned to asking ourselves what choosing yourself even looks like. What does it feel like? Is it possible to choose yourself even if you're in a relationship or a family structure? Is it possible to feel special and also be alone?
Long after the conversation ended, I found myself thinking about the power of our minds and the thoughts we have about ourselves and others. I thought about the beliefs we are raised with and how it takes courage to clear your mind and choose your own life. As we head into Women’s History Month, now is as good a time as ever to think deeply about what it means to be a strong, secure, fully-realized woman. A woman who chooses herself first. A woman who stands in her own power and beliefs and who is courageous enough to speak her mind even when she is scared. It’s about being a woman who is vulnerable enough to open her heart and still get back up when it’s broken.
Being a fully-realized, imperfect, beautiful, loving woman has everything to do with knowing yourself. It’s about believing in yourself and moving yourself forward when you’re in a relationship and also when you’re alone. I, myself, don’t think one woman is more chosen or worthy than another simply because she is in a marriage or a relationship. Yet I see so many young women worried about their relationship status or lack thereof. They feel incomplete or somehow damaged because they aren't in the arms of another. I get it, but watching them twist and turn and fret and moan about being viewed as “alone” or single, well, that’s crushing.
Women have made such historic strides since I was a little girl. They have made historic gains in the past several years in every area of life, and yet so many still feel invisible. So many feel broken by the weight of all that is on their plates. So many are battling a system that is unfriendly to mothering, caregiving, and single parenting—not to mention to race and age as well.
Many years ago, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote: “The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.”
So if you are raising a daughter, fortify her to choose her own path. If you are married to a woman, celebrate the qualities that made you choose her. Choose to lift her up (because she probably does a pretty good job knocking herself down). And if you are a woman still raising yourself, choose to honor who you are and the choices that have brought you here. Honor the courage it’s taken to survive all that you have.
Becoming the artist of your own life, that is on you to do. Because at the end of the day, if you can stand in your choices and understand why you made them, then you can tell your story and bestow kindness upon yourself. And then, my dear, you will have chosen a life others can only dream of.
What a triumph you are. What a gift you are. What a gift you have given to subsequent generations of women. Choose you, and when you do, know that you've made the best choice you can make.
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Dear God, may I stand firmly in the choices I’ve made. May I honor all that’s brought me to where I am, and give myself grace for all the courage and strength it’s taken to get here. Amen.
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