A friend admitted to me this morning that she suffers from the envy monster. I confessed that I do, too. I am often afraid that I am not good enough—that the good things others do somehow keep moving them further and further away from the mediocrity that I’m in.
I suggested to another friend this past week that I believe we all look at our own story as normative. And because we believe our own story to be normative, we can’t see the extraordinary things that all of us do. We assume that it is only other people who do amazing things.
I believe this is especially true of women, who are taught not to self-promote, taught to believe that taking credit for the things they do makes them less humble and therefore unattractive. Our role instead is to serve others. And, of course, we should serve others . . . but that doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves in the process. My seminary president, Molly Marshall, once asked me if I worked as a journalist so that I could tell other people’s stories instead of my own. She encouraged me—urged me—to be willing to share myself.
I have attempted to follow that advice. I have tried to use this blog as a place to share my story. I attempt (sometimes with great effort) not to downplay myself in conversation. My natural instinct is to let people know that I can do something—but that I don’t do it particularly well. My husband always scolds me when I do this, rightfully suggesting that I need not make decisions for other people. I now try to offer samples or examples instead. But it is hard.
Yesterday I started a facebook page to have a landing point for the book project I’m working on. My book does not yet have a title, so the page is instead a personal one. Sharing the page on my profile was difficult. What right do I have to call myself a public figure? Of course, the good voice in my head quickly responded that I never felt that way when my writer friends invited me to “like” their pages. I was excited for them—why couldn’t I do the same for myself?
This book project is an attempt to help promote women who don’t always see the uniqueness and beauty of their stories. I am also following the advice of Molly Marshall—my own call story will be part of the collection. This is my small step to reclaim a voice that has been long hidden—the voice of the divine that dances throughout all of our lives. Women, if we are made in the image of God, we can no longer hide. We have a responsibility to display the divine image.