Dear girl who thinks she's not enough

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.54.27 AM Dear girl who thinks she’s not enough,

My best friend's sister just had a baby girl, and already I'm praying that her baby girl will grow up feeling confident in her worth and enough-ness. But I'm not that naive. I know when you're a person trying to find your place in this world, your inadequacy shouts far louder than your gifts.

Each day I wake up and try to choose that I am enough, and still there are days where I am crippled by my insecurities. I used to think I could get to the point where I would always feel enough. Now I'm realizing that enough is not a feeling, but a choice.

I could tell you a million times over that your worth is far greater than all the stars gathered up together in the sky.

I could tell you that I'd pour your worth into the sea, only to hear it clang like a tambourine and come crashing back upon me, its tidal wave astronomical in strength, gushing across the plains and hills and valleys, cresting along the barriers of the Earth.

I could tell you that I'd like to take a measuring tape and wrap your worth around the circumference of the globe, only to see it wrap around a thousand times, immeasurable, a never ending ruler of your worth.

We could do these things together; I could show you your strength and dazzling significance, but still, if you haven't chosen to see that you're worth far more than all of these, you'll stay weary and crippled and believing you're not enough. You and I both know that you have a great deal more to offer the world than a weary and crippled girl.

Sometimes I like to dream about what the world would look like if we all chose to believe that how God made us is entirely good enough. And then I go one step further and start to dream about what the world would look like if we not only believed we were enough, but believed that who we are is just plain good.

When I am feeling most afraid and un-enough, I go back to God's words in the beginning where he calls you and me and the flowers and the birds and the trees and the ocean and the thousands of stars and the millions of grains of sand good. And then I think, "If I am good in God's eyes -- eyes that see beauty far more detailed and intricate and stunning than I could ever see -- why am I not good in my own?"

This is who I am:

I am a sinner -- elaborately flawed by my own self. I screw up consistently, so much so that somedays I don't even realize how much I have sinned.

But I am saved and forgiven and enough. I am worthy and valuable and significant -- not because of anything I did, but because Jesus has deemed me his.

You are all of this, too.

All of the people of the world could affirm your worth and value and enough-ness, and yet if you don't choose to believe it for yourself, you'll never believe it. 

Dear girl who thinks she's not enough -- you are.

But enough is a choice and not a feeling. It's a daily, sometimes minutely in my case, decision to retrain your thoughts: I am enough as I am. I am enough as I am. I am enough as I am. 

You have so much to offer the world: beauty and art and rare gifts that can only come from your hands, your voice, your beautiful brain. But ultimately you have to choose to believe that.

I hope you do. And I hope you know this: the world is a much, much lovelier place with you in it.

I fell in love with the women of our world

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.48.25 AM I have fallen in love with women in an achy, strangled way.

I am not here to swoop in and save anyone. I have learned that a long time ago. I am no one's saviour, nor a rescuer of any kind. I am a girl in love with strong, oppressed women. I look at them and see my weakness; I look at them and see where I can be made strong.

I first began to feel this way when I started reading this book, and maybe it was because I was reading it in Uganda, but my eyes were opened in a new, and perhaps clearer, way. Like I had just put in my contacts for the first time, and I was blinking. The once fuzzy images sharpened and I began to see women. I really began to see them.

I see them in Canada, and they're strong too. My mom is strong. My sister is strong. My best friends are strong. I am surrounded by female strength. I think women are strong everywhere we go, and I'm proud to be one. I am.

But in Uganda their strength is sometimes invisible. It's weighed down beneath the achiness of their lives, a heavy weight of sadness that hasn't yet had time to be grieved. I saw pregnant women -- my heart feels as swollen as their bellies looked -- and maybe they would live through their birth, or maybe they wouldn't. I was naive, but they weren't. They knew there was no guarantee.

I spoke to some of my friends a few days before we parted. They had told me some things about their lives and I was crying, looking at them, saying, "I don't understand how you've done it. I don't understand how you're still here."

One of them looked at me softly, like I was a small child who didn't comprehend. I don't. How could I? My life is unendingly comfortable. "Aliza," she said across the table from me. "Sometimes the only choice you have is to survive. And you choose it. You survive."

I nodded but knew if our lives were switched I would be long gone by now.

I fell in love with women during my time in Uganda: fell in love with them in a way where I felt strangled by my own luxury, where I ached for release from their suffering. I fell in love with them in a way where I became forever unified. Where I know I can't forget them because I am one of them: a woman who could be strong and relentless against the things that are not right or good. A woman who could believe in other women, who could believe that there will come a day where women won't die because there is no fuel in the ambulance. 

I fell in love with the women of our world last week. I hope someday you will too.