By Sarah Coleman, Crosswalk.com
It is difficult to believe roughly one hundred years ago women were denied a vote. No say. No rights. Nothing.
Now, she can have it all.
As women of the west we know the phrase, "You can have it all." We've heard it all our lives. Movies, media, and our parents told us we could be anything we wanted to be. We could be successful at whatever we put our hands to do, regardless of gender.
And I bought it. I bought into the idea of having and needing it all. Of wanting it all.
I have to say, I'm devastatingly disappointed.
Having it all is not all it's cracked up to be. It was supposed to be liberating, instead it is suffocating.
Because as I look at my life I don't have it all. I don't have the perfect life. I don't have a glamorous career. I don't have an impeccable house. I don't flit from soccer practice to gala dinner with the wave of a magic wand. I don't have a designer wardrobe. I don't have it all.
So to ease my conscience, I weigh my offering against the lives of other women. And it gets ugly. Because to truly ease my conscience, I judge. I judge how she is dressed and how her children are dressed. I judge her for not working. I judge her for working too much. I judge the school she sends her children to. I judge the condition of the car she drives. I judge the husband she married. I judge the house she lives in.
All against mine.
Because while I don't have it all, at least I have more than her. And her. Oh, and her.
But not her. She has it all.
I think Martha of the Bible was a have-it-all type girl. She didn't have a problem with her sister spending time with Jesus, but there were other things to do as well. She got caught up in the details trying to accomplish it all, and she felt her sister should as well (even in Jesus' day women compared themselves to other women).
So when Martha questioned Jesus about whether it was good for women to chase after it all He replied, "But few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42)
Martha, you don't need to be superwoman. Find the few things you need to do - or perhaps even just one thing - and be content in that. And don't compare yourself with your sister.
Women, we have been lied to. We have believed a lie about having it all. It's high time we believed the truth. We can have it all. We all can. Because having it all means different things for different women.
I can have it all with my part time career and school drop off. I can have it all with cupboards stuffed with happy meal toys and junk. I can have it all with my department store wardrobe. I can have it all without the overseas trips and business lunches. It is my all.
And I'm okay with that.
And I'm okay with the women who choose to be stay-at-home moms. I'm okay with women who work 80-hour weeks and rely on a nanny to raise the kids. I'm okay with her multi-million dollar house or her tiny apartment. If she's okay, if she feels she has it all, I'm okay with that too.
Regardless of freedom and endless opportunity, we have to remember grace. And that hospitality means more than letting someone into your home, it is letting her into your heart without judgement or criticism.
I'm tired of striving after someone else's all. I'm over comparison and criticism. I'm done with turning on each other. It's hard enough navigating the ever-changing landscape of society. Girls, we're on the same team.
From this moment I am a cheerleader for women across the globe. I will empower every woman to run her race. Including you.
Because you can have it all. Your all.
We all can.
Sarah Coleman is an Australian pastor and Bible teacher. Check out her resource Who You Are In Christ, a 21-day e-course to help people discover their true identity in Christ. To read more from Sarah, head over to her blog, sarahcoleman.com.au.
Publication date: May 3, 2016