I’ve been watching a lovely little movie, The Bookshop. It was never released in the United States but it is currently on Amazon Prime. It is delightfully full of mid-century British people, spunky, driven women, and lots of books…all things I love dearly. As the film opens, we meet Florence Green, a war widow who shared a passion for literature with her late husband. Now 16 years after his passing, she has summoned the courage to purchase a property and open a bookshop in the quiet coastal town of Suffolk.
Mrs. Green and her bookshop encounter quite a bit of opposition, with more than a few people offering passive-aggressive suggestions about her lack of experience, ability, and financial competence. Others, in an effort to cut her down more “kindly”, patronizingly offer veiled comments about how innocent and naive her dream is.
Despite all the flaming arrows of discouragement, Florence perseveres for her bookshop. Shortly after opening, she recognizes the need for an assistant. The scene opens with Florence peering skeptically over a cart of books at Christine, the young girl with a stern face who has been charged as her help. The following conversation ensues…
Florence (rising slowly): You mustn’t think I don’t want to consider you for the job, it’s just that you don’t really look old enough…or strong enough.
Christine: That’s hard to say after first glance. You look old, but you don’t look strong. It’s all the same anyway. We’re all available.
I about fell off the elliptical (where I watch movies) trying to manipulate the screen to go back and forth several times, rewatching this scene. In less than twenty seconds, these two summed up and solved a problem that has plagued women for, well, ever.
Ladies, we have an uncanny ability to decide that we aren’t enough for something. We think we aren’t strong enough or smart enough, brave enough or polished enough, old enough or young enough, experienced enough or well-studied enough. We absorb these things within ourselves and it keeps us from adventure and (gasp!) we sometimes speak it over others and that keeps them from theirs. To that end, I want to let you in on a little secret…
It is not our job to be enough. It’s our job to be available.
In this one tiny film clip, young Christine sums up the truth we see about so many of God’s people:
Peter had zero experience, but He had a boat for Jesus to climb in. Moses had no eloquence but he had a connection back in Egypt. Rahab had a scandalous past but bravery in spades. Sarah was too old. Timothy was too young. Jonah was a procrastinator. Thomas was a skeptic. And Zaccheus was too short.
Listen to Christine you guys, “It’s all the same anyway. We’re all available.”
I don’t know your “not enough” reason, but it’s all the same anyway. It’s a reason you can either keep listening to or, you can press the mute button on that nonsense and say, “Here I am! Use me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV)