Why I dislike the word "real"

I have seen a lot of conferences and blog posts and books and advertisements (and you name it) that cater to letting you know how you can be a "real" man or a "real" woman or "real" christian or "real" adventurer or "real" beauty (or insert "real" here). 

I dislike the word real. I dislike this challenge to be a "real" woman, because how do we know what a "real" woman is?

At this point in my life, I don't have any real strong desire to be a mother. But I have friends that are AMAZING mothers - which one of us is a real woman?

I love to cook. I have friends of mine who would burn down the house if they tried to cook - but they are way better at listening, praying and encouraging others than I am. So, which one of us is a "real" woman?

I am curvy. I have friends that are skinny. I have friends that are mexican and asian and white and ambiguous and tall and short and freckled and tan and flat chested and straight toothed and tatted and curly haired and hairless. So, which one of us is "real" beauty?

I get the heart behind it. The heart behind biblically challenging women that to be a "real" woman (although, don't get me or Rachel Held Evans started on the word "biblical") to read the bible and pray and support your husband and do a  million other things. But what about women without husbands? What about women that suck at praying - women who experience God better out in nature - who commune with God better when they are working with their hands or hiking rather than down on their knees? Does that make them any less real?

We can't define men and women and beauty and Christianity because we can't define humanity. God made everyone different. We experience life uniquely thorough the lens we were created with. 

So please stop defining yourself by these terms. Stop trying to live up to cultures expectations of whether you are a real woman or not. You are real. You are you, and that's as real as you can be. You are beautiful, and unique and perfectly suited to be all God made you to be. Don't try to be anything other than that. And I won't either.

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