“No. I am not strong “for a girl”, I am JUST STRONG.”
…this is all I have to say to those who have ever fetishized a woman’s physical strength, mocked a woman’s spiritual strength, misjudged a woman’s mental strength, took for granted a woman’s emotional strength.
I love wearing this tank because it makes others conscious that I am willfully freeing myself from & rebelling against the single narrative that women are told they must accept. “No…”, I say gently, but firmly. “To be a GIRL is to BE strong.”
I love sharing the confidence that lifting has given me because I want other girls to experience that confidence, too. I want to share because knowledge is power. Because it feels great to smash your goals, to see progress, to take care of yourself. I want to show men that women deserve respect in the gym sphere (& everywhere else, for that matter), & I want to show other women that they can do what I am doing. I want to inspire women to take up space, exude confidence, learn the benefits of lifting that will strengthen both body & soul. So I share it.
I am not your competition.
How easy is it to look at the love or attention that other women get & feel “less than”? None of us are fully immune, because it is what we are taught. But we don’t have to be cut-throat. It is not a competition for worth or purpose. Here’s why:
God made us exactly WHO we are supposed to be & He put us exactly WHERE He wants us to be.
We can have radically different looks, & that does not make one somehow better than the other. We can have all the same talents & interests, & that does not mean that someone else is better because they are pursuing them in a certain way. You can find yourself wanting that job or position, or wishing you had those features, but you will just be wasting your time being miserable. Understand that they are their own person, their own entity, with their own path. We can also have very similar looks & very different talents & interests, but that does not make each of us worth any less.
Someone else’s beauty is not the absence of your own. And just because you think someone who is very different than you is beautiful, does not mean they would not also find you beautiful. There is not one type of beauty. No matter what society tries to tell us.
The fact that we grapple with & attempt to refigure our thoughts on beauty so much only shows just how truly pervasive the message of beauty = worth really is. It’s like we must knock this wall down before we can really get to talking about the legitimacy of our feelings & hearts & minds.
This world’s fixation on physical appearance is so sick, so toxic. How is a woman to respond when she’s both bullied by peers & objectified by men the minute she hits puberty, or even before then?? Women are worth so much more than their beauty & their bodies.
I want the world to know how precious God’s gift of women are.
So I write this for ALL women. For the little girls who starve themselves because they think they are “fat”. For the women who are “too big”, “too loud”, ”too muscular”, “too much”. For the ignored beauty of women of color, gay women, trans women, physically disabled women, mentally ill women. For the women of every race & religion & tribe & tongue.
For the women around the world & on our own block here in America who are put into boxes & handled as objects, not because of what they wear or what they say or what they like, but simply because the idea of “woman” has the entitlement of others weaved into its inception. Because frankly, women are still not regarded as “human”.
(Look up Immanuel Kant’s “Less Than Human” philosophical argument to see how masculinized morality & worth really is).
Can you so heartlessly brush off their humanity? Hastily push aside the fact that they carry the image of God? Can you see their worth, even if you don’t understand or agree? Is it really about you in those moments? Or is it about meeting a woman where she’s at?
So I write for the women who aren’t believed, who are brushed off. For the women who are unapologetically brave & angry & speak up & only get met with scoffs & eye rolls & mansplaining. For the women who don’t get to make decisions, who don’t get a voice. For the women whose dignity was stripped away. For the woman who had cried & screamed & endured so so much, who has hated being a women, because of all the pain it brings.
You are strong. You are so so strong.
But oh girl, I know the pain is so real.
In case no one has told you, let me assure you. You are allowed to feel the pain you feel. It makes sense why you would be upset or angry. You don’t have to explain. You don’t have to justify it. To me or anyone else. You are allowed to LET yourself hurt. You need to. Please please don’t stuff that down. Find a safe friend, a safe space. This gift from others can help make it so much easier for you give yourself this gift of kindness, to find hope that you CAN heal.
It feels unfair for anyone to tell you to “get over it” or “change”. So lets be rebellious together.
I believe it’s a rebellious act to love & accept yourself in a society that is constantly trying to convince you that you need to change, to conform, to be quiet, to be small, to be pretty, to squish yourself & shrink yourself until you fit the mold they made for you.
This is my secret power, as a woman:
I don’t have to save myself, because I have a Savior. He held my pain in His wounded, bloodied, heaving chest as He died for all the pains that we inflict & feel. He feels the full weight of my hurt because He is nearer to me than my own breath. He sponges up my hurt & scoops me up & whispers, “Just Be. Just Be With Me.” And I can breathe & fall asleep.
I have scars & I bet you do too.
But how sweet is it that if we trust in Jesus we will one day be given new bodies, robed in righteousness, as we fully experience the freedom & safety & joy this world can no longer provide?
In this I have hope.
In Christ, I am redeemed & beautiful & free.
I am choosing to accept myself today, just the way that I am, because Christ saved & accepted me. I will fill my heart for myself & others with His heart, not the world’s.
Can we build a community that values the heart of a woman who loves God? Can we dream big heaven dreams together? Can we sit together in our pains & laugh together in our triumphs? Can we hold on to God together through it all, as He holds on to us? Fellow woman, dear friend…
Will you join me?
Because girl, your strength is beautiful.
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Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30