I used to hate gatherings of women…it used to make me so uncomfortable being in a group of women. Everything they did always seemed so cliche. I always thought women’s events and gatherings were pointless and unimportant; too stereotypically feminine; too fake. I always thought it was a room full of women who would rather be somewhere else but everyone was just putting on this act because we were SUPPOSED to want to be together.
What a heart check God has brought me to in the last few years.
I realize now that these attitudes were not only arrogant and critical, but they stemmed from believing a multitude of lies that Satan uses to destroy the potential that exists when a group of open-hearted women belong to an encouraging and uplifting community.
It was easy to believe them; the lies that say “no one here has anything to offer me”, “I just get along better with boys”; I don’t have anything to offer anyone else”; “I just don’t have time to invest in other people”. These lies feed an attitude of arrogance and selfishness and they contribute to some of the judgment and criticism that exists between women today. When it comes to success, it sure seems as though it is a lot easier for men than for women. The glass ceiling exists. So perhaps we feel greater competition with each other because we are fighting for fewer resources. It’s threatening when we come across another woman who is inspiring, articulate, well-dressed, successful…or any other trait that we wish we had. Seeing the success of other women tends to make us see our own flaws even more. Why is that?!? This is exactly why the “mommy wars exist”.
I’ve learned that one of the things I am most insecure about is whether or not I’m a good mom. If someone is doing something different than I am, it is tempting to think that means there is something wrong with me or the way that I do things and so it is most definitely easier to find fault in what someone ELSE is doing differently! As women we tend to make all kinds of passive aggressive comments that cut down our “competition”. We breathe deeply in the criticism of other people because it means that maybe, just maybe, we aren’t as wrong/bad/out of place/ugly/(insert adjective here) as we fear we might be. The idea exists that we can’t be THAT bad because we can always find someone who is doing worse than we are. A lot of the time we end up either separating ourselves from other women, or we surround ourselves with women who as a group we get together to criticize and judge…if we aren’t alone in our thinking then we can’t be WRONG, right?
We’ve all done it. We’ve all looked at someone else and made a judgment call based on our assumption of their life, and the reason that it is so easy to do is because Satan makes sure of it. He wins a pretty major victory when he can destroy our relationships and convince us of these lies.
So, what’s the truth?
In Galatians 5:13-15 Paul says “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” There it is. We are destroying one another. The interesting thing about it is that we aren’t just destroying other people by our judgment, criticism, or negativity…we are destroying ourselves as well; along with the potential that we have when we can embrace the freedom that God has for us.
The truth is that we are stronger together. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). We need a community of people around us who we can encourage and who can encourage us. We need to invest in one another.
What a contradiction between the truth and the lies.
We can be destroyers or we can be builders. We need to be a community of women who care for one another. Women who can encourage one another; celebrate each other’s successes; be compassionate, real and intentional.
What would the world looked like if we genuinely sought relationships with other women? What if we are intentional about the things we do and the things we talk about? What if instead of feeling threatened by women who are more successful, more articulate, more beautiful, more ANYTHING, we could take time to learn from them; encourage them in the things we admire about them; and glean from them whatever we can?
Imagine a world where women are selfless and encouraging; giving of their time and their compliments and building into other women. Imagine a world where we break through the glass ceiling, not because we are climbing a ladder alone with a sledgehammer, cutting out the competition as we climb; but because we are climbing on one another’s shoulders in such magnitude that it can no longer contain us!
Imagine the unstoppable force of a world full of women who believe in each other and are passionately pursuing the call of God in our lives.
What would happen if we ignored the lies and embraced God’s truth that we are made to love one another, that we are stronger together, and that we need to be building each other up.
I’ve asked God to break my heart for the things that break His. I can tell you with surety that one of the things that breaks his heart is the division that exists among his daughters. We need to embrace the potential that we have when we believe His truth. Insecurity is going to knock on our hearts. Don’t open the door! Let’s be women of grace, humility, and joy, who think the best of one another, Who build into each other’s lives, and who are then able to experience the freedom that God has for us when we come together as a community.
THAT is when we will change our churches, our communities, our nation, and our world.