Maybe you’re less judgmental than me, in which case I salute you and can we please trade. Because today, I’m talking about a specific type of Christian woman who I, most decidedly, am not.
She wears two different type of denim at all times, and looks adorable in those beanies with little pom-poms on top. She likes richly-colored wildflowers because they remind her that she is unique and beautiful – which works out great, because she is. She probably has a very huggable dog or cat, or even a hedgehog (something adorable and cuddly for instagrams of jewel-colored upholstery and her prayer journal), and perpetually has an anthropologie mug in hand. She has a shelf for all her completed journals, which she’s filled with beautiful penmanship and watercolor, and she makes her own cold brew. She is the kindest person you will ever meet —we’re talking genuine kindness here — and she’s also relatable and hilarious. You feel like you’ve known her for years; she’s great about eye contact and advice and rubbing your back when you’re stressed out. You can’t possibly resent her for any of it, because she is the sweetest person you know. So instead you scroll through her instagram and wonder God, why didn’t you make me like her?
Yep, we’re talking the comparison game today.
And not between coworkers, which is a whole other issue of unhealthiness, or even self-image when we look in Vogue, but I mean between the you and the flowery and intimidating Christian women in your life.
When I was still in school, I was very blessed to be a part of a Christian sorority. Through it, I met so many sweet and amazing girls. They were marked by a gentleness and a sort of softness; the type of girls who you meet and say ah, so that’s what grace looks like. They were such amazing women of faith, and they built me up in mine…until I started comparing.
The women whose faith could’ve built mine became roadblocks in my mind, and the things that I should’ve celebrated in my sisters, I began to resent. When I looked at their purity, all I saw was my dirtiness; their faith just highlighted my doubt. Their grace revealed my cumbersomeness, and their joy showed my complacency.
It was like every ugly thing you think about yourself in middle school, but translated to a spiritual playing field.
She’s kinder. She’s more genuine. She knows her Bible better. She leads better. She is better.
The ironic thing about thinking all of these things about someone else? They aren’t about her at all. See all those adjectives are just descriptors of great women…it’s throwing the modifier in there that trips you up. The implied ‘than me’, at the end of each of those sentences.
It took me far too long to understand that Christianity doesn’t mean walking the same path at different times. It means having the same destination. Some girls get there on rollerskates and others by kayak, some people fly and other backstroke. Some women just walk.
Stop comparing your walk to hers. It is not the same, and honestly God has no use for duplicates. If He’d wanted flower crowns for your head, you’d wear them; if there aren’t dahlias around, then He’s picked (puns lolz) them for someone else.
If you’ve been in the church for long enough, you know the verses to speak over identity: His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), chosen (1 Peter 2:9), beloved and called as His (Romans 1:7), daughter and heir (Romans 8:17). We recite them as we’re taught, recalling that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made the same way we’d say ‘starbucks was out of earl grey, so I had english breakfast’. We know we’re unique, we know we’re His handiwork; we remember it when we look at magazines and billboards, but not when we’re sitting in church. For some reason, I know better than to compare myself to celebrities and models, but when it comes to the girl leading worship, next thing you know, I’m a puddle of insecurity.
God didn’t create us the way we frost Christmas cookies – one being the clear and definite best, and all others having too many or too few sprinkles (and thus not enough Christmas cheer). He has the universe to run, planets to keep in motion, hands to hold and hearts to touch, and in all of that, He made you. Formed from nothingness, from dust, shaped into the person you are today. Each hair accounted for, each nail shaped, every freckle dotted. He gave you your laugh and imagined your voice; He’s preparing a place for you in heaven. And He’s not saying “If only I’d made her a little more like so-and-so.”
Friends, if we believe that God made us exactly who we are, stuck us exactly where we are, and breathed life exactly when we are, then why do we have such a hard time accepting that He made us how we are?
Think of the ‘perfect’ Christian you know.
Could you pray the same way she does? Could you pursue relationships like she does? Could you journal or Bible study (yes, that’s now a verb) or craft or have adorable pets like she does?
Just as you could never live her life, she couldn’t do yours. Because it’s not what she was created for. She is chasing after Jesus, and she is owning her gondola of a journey to closeness with God. And it might look prettier than your subway, but I promise that the joy of her journey is the same one in yours: the joy of a relationship with Christ.
Second point: if you are aligned with God’s word, then you are the right kind of Christian woman. That’s a pretty big if/then, but as long as you are following God’s word, you are living His best life for you.
When we think of Christian women, we think of Mary above Martha, Ruth above Rahab. Tirzah doesn’t often top the list, nor does Deborah, or Anna, or Lydia. And none of these women had ‘better’ faith than the others, they just had different colors of faith. God has different uses for different types of women. Some are warriors, some prophets, some businesswoman, some homemakers. And each honors Him. But none is better than the other. God is glorified in someone’s eloquence, and in someone’s hospitality. He smiles at someone’s boldness and at someone’s humility. God made women who are graceful and elegant and ambitious and clever and He made them all with a capacity to give and receive love, albeit in different ways.
I spent a long time thinking I couldn’t glorify God with a career in business the way my friends in ministry and in education could. And I wasn’t wrong. I might not shape up children to know Jesus, but I can be a light in industry where there aren’t many. I’m not writing books that encourage young mothers, but I can cultivate a corner of the internet towards seeking Christ. I can do my best, where I’m planted, and God will honor that, in the same way He honors women everywhere else, growing their best.
You are no less a Christian woman because you don’t look, dress, or talk like someone else. You are only less if you let the differences get in the way of your walk with God. The things that differentiate you from the Marys of the church? Those are the things that God will use to touch people for His kingdom.