You Are Not Too Much of Anything


I’m away at camp this week, speaking to 100 4th-6th grade girls about image, identity and a Love so wild and deep that we’re all — every one of us — already loved all there is. Loved, in fact, in the words of the great philosopher Buzz Lightyear, to infinity and beyond.

Of course, this means the agony and the ecstasy of believing this is true for me, too. Giving grace to others is so much easier than allowing it for ourselves, don’t you think?

One of the things I decided to do this week is ask (read: beg and cajole) our other staff members — even the ones unsure about public speaking — to briefly share their stories with the girls. What they were like as 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds. What things they did that were funny or embarrassing. What they felt like. What they wondered. And then, in closing, to share one message they’d like to plant in these girls’ hearts and minds. Because I believe that when we share our stories with each other — our real, true stories — we learn we’re not alone. We learn we’re part of a community. We learn that it’s OK to be imperfect, and that there are people all around us who will champion our success and console us when we fall short. We learn to accept grace and to be unreasonable grace-givers in return.

I wish you could hear every one of these brave and beautiful stories. In lieu of that, I want to share just this one message, delivered to our daughters last night, that broke me wide open and rebuilt me at the same time. Heidi’s words are my message for you, too. Because no matter our age, we so need to know we’re already enough, just as we are, and we’re not too much of anything.

If I could plant one message in your hearts and heads this week, it would be that you are not too much of anything.

Not too tall, not too big, not too loud, not too quiet, not too fat, not too skinny, not too emotional, not too reserved, not too stuck up, not too grouchy, not too young, not too old, not too poor, not too immature, not too ugly, not too pretty, not too shy, not too dumb, not too embarrassing, not too new, not too anything.

You are not too much of anything to be wonderful and lovable and LOVED.

Heidi Pender


photo used with permission of Twin Rocks Friends Camp
and, yep!, one of ’em is my kid 🙂

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10 responses to “You Are Not Too Much of Anything”

  1. […] Look; I know we’re all in different places when it comes to our understanding of God and faith and religion. That’s OK. I LOVE that about us; it’s one of my favorite things here. And I know and constantly mourn the ways people who identify as Christian have and continue to spiritually and emotionally abuse our neighbors; it was impossible for me for years to call myself Christian for that reason, eschewing the title for “Jesus follower” or no name at all. And yet there’s a reason I still go to this church and a reason I took back up the Christian mantle, and it’s this: these people also reject the wounding of others, and they keep pointing me back to Joy. And back to Grace. And back to Hope. And back to ways to Love our neighbors as ourselves. […]

  2. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your “sharing”. There is such value and knowledge in honesty. My blog’s motto is “Share. It matters.” So glad I stumbled upon your wise blog… Sending love!

  3. Heidi’s words hit my heart so hard that I almost like, can’t read it straight on. I should probably pray about that or something…

    I am currently writing emails to my girlies there… this is good info to be praying over their sweet hearts.

    I am so excited for them they get to hear you! Praying for you, too.

  4. Wow. Those are powerful words. I needed to hear them. I wish I could say that to my students (9-11 year olds!) that eloquently. Thank you for sharing.

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