Hard and Holy Doesn't Always Look Pretty

I grew up dancing ballet.

Typically, when young girls think of ballet they think of pink, tutus, hairspray, and false eyelashes. And, ballet was all those things; things I wasn’t good at. I never learned how to put my hair in a proper bun, put on eyeliner, use a curling iron, even how to keep my tights from getting runs in them. That frustrated me because I felt like I wasn’t a capable ballerina if I wasn’t able to do the “ballerina stuff.”


But, I was a pretty good little ballerina. When it comes down to it, ballet isn’t all about the glitter, performing, or makeup. Ballet is about sore legs, tendonitis, and late nights in the studio. Ballet is about bloody toes, hearing that same song a thousand times over, and it’s that incredible feeling you get when your body finally does something it was never able to do before.


I was so easily fooled into believing that I was inadequate because all the girls around me didn’t need their moms to help them redo their hair and makeup for every performance. I bought into the lie that I was inelegant and graceless because I didn’t know how to put on enough lipstick. I was quick to think that I was unequal when I was focused on the surface of it all.


I thought that, somehow, I stopped having these lurking insecurities when I stopped ballet. But, I came to realize that these insecurities only shape-shifted and relocated. In fact, most of them changed to hide within my self-confidence and femininity as a whole.

I soon realized I didn’t feel like a capable woman if I couldn’t cook pot roast, French braid my hair, take beautiful Instagram pictures, or wear a size 2; things I’m not good at.

My cooking abilities range from boiling water to smoothie-making.

I can barely put my hair into a sloppy bun.

My Instagram pictures come from an old iPhone 5.

And size 2- HA!

So each time I missed the standard, I would have this overwhelming feeling of failure. I was so often disgusted with myself for the way I looked or missed the mark of femininity.

But I AM a pretty good freakin’ woman. When it comes down to it, being a woman isn’t about homemaking, weight, or followers. Being a woman is about the fact that a God in Heaven decided He wanted me so badly that He came to earth and laid His life down for me (John 3:16). It is about telling the world that story (Matthew 28:19-20). Being a woman is about carrying a unique image of The Holy, just, Wise, Truthful, Helpful, Creator God (Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 40:25, Deuteronomy 32:4, Proverbs 2:6, John 14:6-7, John 14:26, Genesis 1:1-25). It is about reflecting Him every day, even in the mundane (Proverbs 3:6). Being a woman is about discovering and refining your gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10). It is about using those gifts to serve others and change lives (1 Peter 4:10-11).

Everything else is the surface. Everything else. And, if we focus on the surface of it all, we will be quickly tossed by opinions, expectations, and culture. We will easily be overcome with self-doubt and insecurity. We must dwell deeply, anchor ourselves to Christ, and be ready to withstand changing tides and currents. We need to draw others into the deep with us and be un-phased when they decide they prefer the shallows because the deep is too dark, uncomfortable, or difficult. We have to understand that being a woman of God is complex and rich and deep, and we have a calling much greater than this world.


“Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.”

-Ann Voskamp

Hard and holy doesn’t always look pretty. It’s not always Instagrammable. And it’s definitely not always easy. But hard and holy is worth it friends.

Always from my heart,

Annika Rae