If there is one thing I hear come out of young women’s mouths more than anything else, it is this: “I’m too much.” Or maybe, “That was too much.” Perhaps even, “They were being too much.”
Bottom line: we as women like to think of things being “too much.”
I say it a lot. Almost every day I have the thought, “You’re too much.” It’s a weighted thing. It’s hurried and it’s harsh. We’ve bought into this idea that we are too much and therefore we are not enough.
We’re too emotional.
We’re too forgiving.
We’re too loving.
We’re too passionate.
We’re too deep.
We’re too ambitious.
We’re too sensitive.
We’re too bossy.
We are too much and we will always be. There will always be someone shaking their head, telling us to quiet down. Gain some control over ourselves. Get it together. Because no one wants someone who’s too much.
It’s an impossible standard where we are constantly being thrashed between the lines of not being good enough and being too much. If our loving doesn’t meet the standard, we are either not being Christ-like or we are too clingy. If our forgiving doesn’t meet the standard we are either being bitter or a doormat. If our feelings don’t meet the standard we are either hardened or too sensitive.
I guess the world likes their women in the medium, likes them lukewarm. Just right.
Well, I will say that I’ve never been good at being just right. I’m either too quiet or too loud; I’m either too shy or I’m too expressive.
It’s egregious, this standard. But nothing breaks my heart more than when I see women hold each other to the standard. It’s been hard, you know. Living your life trying to be perfect–calculated, precise, just right. We’ve been there, each of us, in our own way–been in that dark and lonely place of not feeling good enough. It’s suffocating, it’s hard and we’ll do just about anything to not be there anymore. So we strive. The fighter in us comes out and we work hard, we try to please, we make sure everything is done just right and before we know it there is someone disapproving, telling us we overdid it, telling us we’re too much.
We are defeated.
But we aren’t quite defeated, are we? We are too brave and too resilient to be defeated. So I say we rise. We are loving, are we not? We are passionate and we are forgivers, we are burden lifters and we are making an impact, a difference–we matter.
I wrestle under the weight of all I have been created to be, struggling with this idea that it is too much. But I ponder and pray–when did I start looking to abundance and start calling it excess? When did I start looking to art and expression and start calling it over-exaggeration?
This isn’t a call for the quiet to be louder or a call for the gentle to be more assertive–quite the opposite, actually. This is a rallying cry for women to simply rise up and be who they are. Be the quiet, the gentle, the fierce, the strong–it’s all the same. Just because you are gentle does not mean you are not fierce. Just because you are assertive does mean you are not gentle. We’ve worried ourselves too much with wondering what we should be and how we should act and we have simply forgotten to just be.
This world is dark, it’s scary, and it is becoming increasingly hostile toward our humanity. We live in a society that promises connection while simultaneously exiling us to our own worlds; we live in society that promises us wealth while simultaneously making us lonely.
And somewhere along the way, we’ve bought into this idea that it’s safer and better to keep our lights dim and our words hidden. We tell girls to shine–but not too brightly. We tell girls to express–but not too loudly.
What if we are not too much?
What if the standard was gone?
What if we are okay, right here, right now, simply the way God made us? What if the way we love and serve and connect is perfect, just the way it is? What if God doesn’t ask us to be dimmer, quieter, more hidden? What if our lives are about letting God move?
We know God is light and God is love. So when we let him move through us, it’s going to be bright. It’s going to be bold. It’s going to be different than anything the world has ever seen before and hallelujah, it needs to be.
What the world needs right now is exactly who God has designed you to be. So do not fear. You are perfect, my darling, and in you there is no flaw (Song of Solomon 4:7).