“So many women spend their lives playing small. I call it ungodly contentment. “
It’s funny how adept we are as humans at turning something helpful and good into something less than helpful. Contentment is one of those characteristics that can be a quality of spiritual maturity, or it can be a sign of our refusal to grow up. Though likely just a teen, Mary seemed amazingly mature as she let go of contentment and opened to something new and “troubling.” This is how I write about it My Own Worst Enemy.
“An Awesome Answer
The angel’s answer to Mary’s question blows me away. He did not minimize his announcement or seek to make it approachable, contained, or controllable. In no way did he diminish the magnitude of what Mary was considering in order to make her more comfortable. The language he used was immense and intimate, all consuming.
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:35–37)
So many women spend their lives playing small. I call it ungodly contentment. We find a safe little corner in the world and spend our days maintaining a comfortable nest. Though, of course, such work can be a holy endeavor, it can also be an escape, an unholy refusal to live the life of transformation and faith God is calling us to live. Our penchant for playing small can sabotage our growth and our calling to shine.
Will we, like Mary, consent to the indwelling of the Spirit of God? In powerful and intimate ways? Will we let the greatness of the Most High God come close enough to overshadow our fragile souls, to impregnate us with seeds of inspiration for magnificent, creative, holy, brilliantly shining, and newly born kingdom work? Will we dare say yes to God?
Interestingly, though Mary did not ask for it, Gabriel gave her a confirming sign: Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Note especially that even before she went to verify that transcendent impossibility, she consented to God’s invitation without reservation.”
For those of you in a My Own Worst Enemy book study (or are thinking about starting one), I would love to spend an hour with your group via “Skype” answering questions and listening to your comments. Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time to talk!
Where do you find yourself tempted to “play small?”