More About #EmbraceYourAND

by Naomi Watkins

Many LDS young women (living in Utah) “cannot envision a life of integration…or cannot imagine being simultaneously married, having children, and continuing college…Some believe that women need to ‘give up’ or ‘sacrifice’ college for their husbands/families.” [1]

The #EmbraceYourAND campaign that we launched last week is a way to eliminate this prevalent either/or thinking. This campaign is not about telling women they can “have it all.” There’s a significant difference between “#EmbracetheAND” vs “#EmbraceYourAND.” Changing out “the” for “your” places emphasis on the fact that the specifics of a woman’s multifaceted and integrated life–the pursuits she seeks, the roles she fills—will all depend on that individual woman.

It’s about believing that God does not place limits on our possibilities and our influence. Living an AND life is about embracing a life of abundance rather than living with a scarcity mindset. It’s about asking God, “And now, what would you have me do?” It’s about embracing the answers that come as a result of asking this question. Living this type of life requires a great deal of confidence in God, His capabilities, and His knowledge of us as individuals. Sometimes the answers require us to expand the ANDs in our lives, sometimes they necessitate a change in direction, and other times, they compel us to focus more on the quality of our ANDs than the quantity. It’s about recognizing our capacities, but believing that we can be more with God’s help. It’s about letting go of specific timelines and realizing that we have a long time to be and do many things. It’s about expanding the notions of womanhood beyond only wifehood and motherhood—and knowing that this expansion does not mean we are deserting family. It’s believing that fixating on any one thing—be it family, church, work, exercise, etc.—at the cost of other areas of our lives is a falsehood that is perpetuated by culture and not by God. It’s accepting that another woman’s ANDs do not detract from our own. It’s about recognizing the divinity and possibility within us. It’s about supporting and honoring the unique paths of others.

So, please, join us. Share a brief list and photo of how you have embraced the many ANDs in your life to Twitter (@AspiringMW), Instagram, and/or Facebook with the hashtags #EmbraceYourAND #amw

In the few days that we launched this campaign, I have been following the hashtag and reading the photos and words by women about their multifaceted lives. We’ll be featuring written content on the website as well that highlights the various ANDs LDS women are currently living and aspire to live in the future.

I’m inspired by all of you. Let’s inspire more.

 

[1] http://www.utahwomenandeducation.org/assets/RS_No._10-Religion_and_Values.pdf

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