My friend Grace recently got together with some gal pals for a bridal shower and had a great, girly time. This included applying makeup, watching chick flicks, and taking lots of photos of themselves. She's a seminary student, so this was a rare break from the books. The girl-time sparked something in Grace: While she used to think such things were a waste of time, these activities made her long for the soft, feminine part of herself. (And she liked the way she looked with a little makeup on.)
But Grace usually has little time to be a girly girl. Right now, she's mostly consumed by her role as a student. As she told me about her weekend adventure, I thought, Hmm, I think Grace has been so busy, she forgot for a minute that she's a girl! I know I've felt that way. I get so busy—consumed—that I often don't even feel human. I become either a robot stuck on autopilot, or a gray mass of mental mush. Often the first thing to go is my girly side, and it shows. I'll start wearing black sweatpants and T-shirts every day for weeks. (Black is easy to match, and it seems to mirror my mood during these periods!)
Since Grace had inspired me to think a real thought—which seemed like the first one I've had in some time—I seized the opportunity at sentience and pondered: What parts of myself have I forgotten? Are there important aspects of my life that I've let slide under the pressure of deadlines and expectations of other parts of me?
And I realized I'd forgotten a lot about myself. I'd forgotten I'm an artist … and realized I forgot because I haven't painted anything in more than a year. I'd forgotten I like to sing for fun … and realized I forgot because I stopped singing many years ago, out of fear that others would critique me. I'd forgotten my role as a daughter and a sister … and realized I forgot because I haven't kept in touch with my dear family members. Things that once were sources of great joy for me had slipped away. And sadly, I'd hardly noticed.
Thinking about my spiritual life made me even sadder. I'd forgotten what it was like to sit silent before God. I'd forgotten how it felt to read Scripture without analyzing it—just to enjoy it and be edified by it. I'd forgotten the feelings of gratitude, surrender, peace, and hope that I get when I write in my prayer journal. It seemed downright daffy to allow such important things to slip out of my life. But I knew this was about something more than mere spiritual practices, which tend to wax and wane depending on my season of life. Just as Grace had momentarily forgotten her identity as a girl, I've been beginning to forget my identity as a daughter of the most high God.
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For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.