I have struggled with an internal battle for as long as I can remember. There are days I wake up and feel that I am just not enough for the world. That I just won’t measure up to the standards and obstacles that have been put in place for me to overcome. I feel that I’m not pretty enough, not soft enough, not kind enough. I pick at the things that I should be more of and compare myself to those around me, and I end up feeling like I just don’t belong.

On a completely opposite end, there are countless days where I feel that I am simply too much of everything. That I am too loud, too overwhelming, too much. I am naturally a very outgoing and loud person, so my instant reaction to a lot of things is just to scream or laugh -- loudly. On days like this, when a friend simply tells me to quiet down or listen more, I shrink into myself. I replay moments and question myself. Why can’t I be more gentle? Why can’t I be someone who sits still and enjoys the quiet?

So here I am. In a constant back and forth with myself. Weeks go by where I feel like I am overbearing and, for lack of a better word, extra. Then something happens and I’m thrown into a state of feeling like I’m unwanted and hard to love.

Sadly enough, I know I am not the only one that feels this way. I know that this fallen world- and the expectations for young women that have sprouted from it- are winning.

In 1 Peter 3:3, the Bible tells me beauty shouldn’t be defined by looks, but that it should be defined as a gentle and calm spirit. Does this mean I’m not doing it right? Does it mean I’m not beautiful? Absolutely not.

This past summer I read a book by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan called Wild and Free. This book appealed to me right away because of the cover, which said, “a hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough.” If that isn’t a solid description of what I’ve been talking about throughout this whole article, I don’t know what is. I highly recommend reading it (this coming from someone who is not a fan of reading for fun). It taught me a whole lot, but this was my main take away from it:

In "Wild and Free," Jess Connolly says this:

“And the truth, dear friends, is this: Our standing has never wavered with our Father. Though the world has twisted what it means to be a daughter, His stance and His position toward us has absolutely stayed resolute. The world cannot dictate what it means to be treasured by our Father, but the love and relationship of our heavenly Father can heal and transcend the damage done here on earth.”

The Lord does not change. We don’t have to conform to this world, we don’t even have to worry about the way it tells us to be, because we are known and loved by the Creator of it all. Please hear me when I say that you have been created in the Lord’s image, and that will always be enough. Psalm 139 says He literally formed you in your mother’s womb. That means that God knew you would be the one who always has to raise your hand in class. He knew you would be the one to always have a sassy comment, or the one who blushes every time a boy compliments you. And He loves you even more for it.

The beginning of "Wild and Free" has an anthem that I want to leave you with, and I encourage you to live by:

The world may tell us we’re too much and never enough

But we can walk wildly in who God created us to be

And rest freely in the work Jesus did for us.

We do not have to be confined or conformed by cultural expectations.

We are unchained from our past and unafraid of our future.

We choose compassion over comparison.

We love without condition, without reserve.

Our eyes are on God; we hold nothing back;

We run fast and strong; we do not hide our light.

We aren't wild and free for our sake alone;

Rather we sing life, hope, and truth over the world

With abandon- just as our God sings over us.

We are wild and free.

And we are poised to do mighty things, in Christ Alone.