I shifted in my seat at the women’s ministry event; the speaker said it again.
“You are a beautiful, chosen, special woman of God. There is no one in the world like you!”
I’d heard this message dozens of times – on the radio, in books, at conferences – even emblazoned on coffee mugs and shirts at every LifeWay Store in America. It’s the same message directed at Christian women in every corner of western culture. And it’s a message that – while well-intentioned – remains deficient no matter how many times it’s preached.
You see, I’m not actually that special – and neither are you.
An honest look at our humanness reveals this truth. Any woman who’s done a degree of self reflection knows that her struggles, insecurities, and sins aren’t unique to her. They’re part of being human in a fallen world. Further, any woman who knows the depth of her own inadequacy will find these Christianized platitudes of beauty and “chosen-ness” entirely insufficient for daily victory.
I’m not saying these encouragements are false. We are God’s handiwork (Eph. 2:10). We are chosen (1 Pet. 2:9). We are unique (Matt. 10:29-31). The question is not whether or not these things are true, but whether or not this is the most important message women need to hear.
Personally, I don’t think it is (and I’m not alone).
If I judged Christianity by its women’s conferences, I’d be led to believe that the Bible is no more than a series of compliments from God to man. Instead, the real story is far less complimentary and far more humiliating. Jesus didn’t come to earth because we were beautiful, special, or great. He came because we were too grossly sinful to bridge the gap between ourselves and God.
That’s not a message we want to hear from the stage of Extraordinary Women, is it? But it’s the one we need, because women who think they’re pretty awesome don’t need a Savior.
Women wonder if we’re enough. Looking at the titles of the books we read, I deduce we’re entangled with insecurity, fear, and identity crises. We’re in this constant state of “struggle” with very little victory, never really living as “conquerors in Christ” (Rom. 8:37). These are real spiritual issues, but you know what? I’ve yet to see one woman set free from insecurity by being told – however repetitively – that she is beautiful. It doesn’t work, and it’s not the answer.