What We’re Like

“In our culture, boys are like gems” he says. “If they get dropped in the mud, it is easy to pick them up and clean them off.”

We are sitting cross-legged on the wood floor, eating from platters piled with rice and fish.

“But, girls in this country are thought to be like cotton balls.” he continues sadly. “If they get dropped in the mud, they can never again get clean.”

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It’s a shock to hear gender roles explained so bluntly. If any warm words have been used to soften the cold facts, they’ve certainly been lost in translation.

I think back to my own muddy teenage years. Many of my actions – willful or mistake – would have rendered me unclean. I’ve had my share of slopping around in the muck.

So much of the world believes a girl’s life to be worth less than her brother’s. Parts of my own western culture also waters the same seed: boys will be boys, and it is the girl’s responsibility to keep herself out of the mud. 

Intuitively, intellectually, spiritually – deep down – we know this is false.

Lie #1: My outward appearance and actions mean everything. I must be careful not to do the things, or associate with people where I might get dirty. I cannot make a mistake and invite unwanted attention. It is up to me to be worthy. It’s up to me to earn respect and love. It’s up to me.

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In response to this deceit, modern society has adopted another ideology that is equally harmful to our women. It is tailored to those of us with more means, education, and freedom. If we were to sit together on my floor in Austin, I might sum it up like this:

“Of course we know our girls are gems! They can do anything they set their minds and hearts to do. A woman’s personal choices are endless – and so girls should be able to get as dirty as the boys without consequence. They should be free to schlep in the mud as they wish, without anyone’s unwanted moral judgment or condemnation.”

We want to believe this, promote this, even fight for this – but it is equally off the mark.

Lie #2: My outward appearance and behavior means nothing. My individual actions have no significant consequences. It is my right – completely in my power – to express myself in any way I see fit. It is society’s duty to always treat me as the gem that I am, no matter how I treat myself. It’s up to me.

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Hope cannot be found exclusively in either one of these philosophies, but in a holy and human mystery of both.

We are all balls of cotton, stained and discolored, unable to clean ourselves from the wrongs we have done to others, and the wrongs that have been done to us.

None of us is perfect.

All of us are a mess.

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In the same way, we are all precious stones: each of us is extraordinary and of great worth. We have been created in love – not to wallow in the mud – but to reflect light for the benefit and beauty of the world.

Each of us is valuable.

Each of us has been made to shine.

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The best news of all is this: when we are all stuck in the mud, Jesus came down and got dirty. The only perfectly clean man became fatally ruined, so that we – male and female – might be re-made eternally new.

Why would he do this?

Because he made us. 

We are precious to him.

He delights over his creation.

There is nothing else we can do to earn more of his love.

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It’s not up to me.

Rest in this kindness and grace.

Kim

25 responses to What We’re Like

  1. This is incredibly insightful and wonderfully written. The worth of a creation, can only be truly evaluated by the Creator of that creation. I love how you hit a home run on the point that only the Creator of the universe(God, Jesus, Holy Spirit) can determine the worth of His creations; and that worth is invaluable to Him. God’s creations must be so very valuable to Him if he sent His one and only Son to die for our sins to make us whole and bring those of us back to Him who have strayed so very far away. It is impossible for me to like this post anymore than I do. Well done indeed!

  2. Grace Snodgrass says:

    So nice to open my email and there you are! Great start to my day. I love the photos you put with your blogs. Thank you for shining God’s love.

  3. Kelly says:

    This article truly made me want to shout “Hallelujah!” Thank you for sharing this with us!!!!!

  4. Natausha Manis says:

    YES! Stunning and powerful message. Thank you for revealing BOTH lies and the TRUTH of our worth in Jesus and our complete reliance on HIM to clean up our messes! Praise God for forgiveness, love, mercy and grace.

  5. chrisgoppert says:

    Thank you most sincerely for this posting or commentary. Much to consider. Well stated.

    Chris Goppert

    Serving at Harare Theological College (Faculty Member) Mentoring Followers of the Way at the Ragged Edge of a Broken World TEAM – Zimbabwe, AFRICA

    “…there is no one besides you – there is no Rock like our God!” (1 Sam. 2:2).

    http://www.team.org

    http://www.htc.ac.zw                                                                                                                                                                                                     

  6. Jenny Moore says:

    Wonderful insight. So beautifully written. Your words are so powerful. Welcome back, Kim. Happy New Year. Glad you are writing again! XO Jen PS. Would love to invite you to guest-write for my blog sometime!

  7. Rebeca Jones says:

    “We have been created in love – not to wallow in the mud – but to reflect light for the benefit and beauty of the world.” Love this!

  8. I’m the mom of boys, who found your blog through your “famous” post about girls and selfies and your sons. I thought, “She’s great.” Then I read your response to that and I thought, “Wow. She’s really great” and I clicked on over to Home. Glad I did! “Rest in His grace” — great advice!

  9. as I read your post the song – Love Came Down – kept playing through my mind. Thank you for sharing this. It touched my heart.

  10. Jes Bosworth says:

    Since you so bravely closed comments on your slut shaming post, I just want to say that I did not appreciate you posting pics of your sons, braless, barely clad and throwing sexy man poses on the beach with an utter disregard for the affect it might have on my daughters. Despicable, mindless, hypocritical christian nut job.

  11. Given Breath says:

    GPP – thank you for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to write down your thoughts. They are encouraging, and I love this:

    …Whatever the Creator has spoken must emerge fact.

    His vowels flow from perfection,
    And His consonants are never harsh;
    Neither abrasive in the throat,
    Nor coarse when articulated.

    For Love is the language of Him,
    The accent on His actions and the Master’s true intentions…

    Indeed.

    Joy in all your words…

    Kim

  12. Given Breath says:

    Heather – thank you for your note.

    Keep seeking his will in all things.

    Love this from your last post:

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

    Peace,

    Kim

  13. Given Breath says:

    You have a stunning name!

    Let’s both try and find a thousand ways to speak God’s forgiveness, love, mercy and grace.

    Peace, NM.

    Kim

  14. Given Breath says:

    Ah – this is high praise indeed. And may it all go back to the One who has given us words to praise him forever.

    Much love,

    Kim

  15. Given Breath says:

    Than you, Jen.

    Love this from your last blog:

    “…All throughout history, God writes big stories but he starts writing them by using small things…”

    Exactly, perfectly right.

    Peace to you.

    Kim

  16. Given Breath says:

    Rebecca –

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time. I thought about this for a good while:

    “When we don’t give our children the moral ‘why’ behind a command, we do not equip them to make moral decisions that last. When circumstances vary they will have no underlying principles of decency to carry over into new situations.”

    Thank you for posting.

    Kim

  17. Given Breath says:

    Argh.

    The weird (and wonderful) ways that God introduces family to family.

    Great to meet you, sister.

    Kim

  18. Given Breath says:

    Hey Jes –

    Not sure how best to answer, but hope that you feel better for getting that off your chest.

    Peace to you and your daughters,

    Kim

  19. desirefa says:

    I think lie #2 speaks to the difference between liberty & freedom. It takes wisdom & discernment to know the difference between liberation & freedom in His love.

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