This post is for the ladies. Yes, guys, your friendships are important, but this is post is to address some issues within female relationships.
When I look at the ladies in my circle, I find myself looking at them in layers kind of like an onion. In the very inner circle there are only two. In the layer beyond that there are four. Beyond that, I start putting ladies from church and other areas of my life in the outer layers. Honestly, I don’t have a wide circle of close friends. I get along with most people, but there aren’t many that I share my life with on a regular basis.
In the group of six, personalities differ. Some are married and some are single. All have at least college degrees and some hold higher degrees. All love the Lord and seek to serve Him using their specific talents and abilities. There are two that will I can count on to call a spade a spade and won’t spare any punches when we talk. These are two that I can count on to tell me what I need to hear when I need to hear it. A third one comes pretty close to fitting into that category, but she sometimes holds back. The other three are amazing cheerleaders. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, these are the six that I know I can count on and will pray for me and with me when needed. I have known some of these ladies since college, others I met when I moved to Nashville and the last part of the crew I met in seminary out in TX. These are friendships that mean the world to me and I can’t imagine my life without this group of ladies.
Beyond this group, I have been blessed with some amazing friends at our church. In August we will only have been at our church for two years, so these are relatively new relationships and I can see them moving into the third ring of my world quickly. In my journey to live a healthier lifestyle, there are two ladies who have cheered me on and encouraged me when I have become discouraged and frustrated. They have also set challenges before me and cheered me on when I met and succeeded those challenges. There is another lady, who just makes me laugh. and all of us are a part of one of the ministries within our church, so there is corporate worship among the four of us on an almost weekly basis. There is another lady from church that has been a great source of encouragement for me over the past year. She also seems have an extra line straight to the Lord’s ear. Through out the transition that my family has been in the past year, she has probably encouraged me the most in my walk with the Lord.
Why do I share all of this? I am guessing that many of you reading this could probably name those best girlfriends in your inner most circle and the layers beyond that. These friends are a true blessing from the Lord and have been placed in our lives and us in theirs for a reason. These are the friends that we look forward to hanging out with whether it be a girls’ night out or just vegging out and talking. These are the ones you can go long periods of time without seeing and yet, when you finally catch up, it’s like you have never missed a second together. Even with all of this, these are very ladies we spend time comparing ourselves to and even at times feel like we are in competition with them. At times, it’s almost like we have a love hate relationship with them.
In my own circle, there are times when I feel inferior and feel like if I were more like them, then I would be a better wife, mother or friend. Even though none of the ladies in any my circles, play into the mommy wars, I would be willing to bet they could hold their own if they ever had to compete and I would pit some of them to take home the crown.
Why can we as ladies, not be content to be ourselves and not feel the need to compare and compete with each other? I am pretty sure there is some gene within us that causes us to be this way. The very ladies we love are the very ones we spend the most time comparing ourselves to, which in turn causes us to build walls, therefore causing us to miss out on the very best part of our friendships.
We spend so much time with these ladies and yet we keep a part of ourselves from them. There are parts that we are open and share freely and then there are parts which we keep locked and hidden away because we are afraid of what they may think about us. We are afraid of being turned away and rejected. It is easier to play off certain things as fine, rather than allow our closest friends in and experience freedom.
Freedom? Freedom from what or to what? Freedom from isolation. Freedom to be our true selves, if we even know who that is at this point in the game. Freedom to not hide behind our masks. Freedom to release ourselves from fear and shame. I would also go so far to say that we would probably even experience more freedom in our relationships with the Lord because we keep no secrets to ourselves and keep no parts of ourselves hidden away. Issues can be resolved and obstacles overcome with these ladies by our side.
In a world of the Pinerest Mom and Mommy wars, we really need to rally and join forces to do away with both. No, I am not saying that crafty moms need to be taken out, but we need to not feel that we are in competition with others. We need to support one another, instead of judging and looking down our noses at one another. There is no perfect wife or mother. There is no perfect friend. We all have different talents and skill sets. Guess what? That is exactly how the Lord planned it and created us! Instead of comparing ourselves to our friends, celebrate your differences and encourage other in those areas.
Also, I challenge you to take a deep look into your own lives and examine what kind of friend you are as well as how open you are with your friends. Do you think your friends feel like you would be there for them no matter what they said? Do they feel like they can share things with you without being judged?
Also, as you think about this post, think about this in the realm of women’s ministries across the country. So many times we go to an event and we hear about the woman at the well and the Proverbs 31 woman. Then, there is time spent talking about keeping house, beauty, crafts, etc… Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things, but what if we spent time exploring and encouraging each other to be real, to shed the masks and let our true selves shine through? What if we actually encouraged each other to share our struggles and were willing to get down and dirty and lift our sisters out of the holes that so many have dug themselves? What if we spent more time talking about authenticity than creating the perfect home? What if we encouraged each other to truly dig through the scriptures to seek out the answers to so many of life’s questions? What would happen if we did away with so much of the fluff and spent more time chewing on good and hearty meat?
What if we totally redefined what it means to be a godly woman? No, I am not saying that we do away with biblical definition or roles of women, but I am saying let’s stop pretending to be meek and mild when we know that we are so much more? Let’s face it, the Lord created some of us to be feisty and outspoken and He created so many of our friends that way as well. How would ministries within the church change if we were more authentic and allowed those around us to be more authentic?
None of this can happen if we are not honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses, nor can it happen if we are not open with the ladies in our circle of friends. Friendships are important in growing not only as a person, but in our spiritual walks as well. It’s time to put aside our pride, allow others in, allow the Lord to use our friends to speak in and through our lives to live our lives and serve the Lord to the fullest.
I encourage you to pick up the phone and call or text your closest circle and talk, I mean really talk. Have conversations with them that you have not had in a good long while or maybe even ever. Get real with each other, encourage each other and then pray with each other. After you have done that a couple of times, start those types of conversations with the ladies in your church. If I were a betting person, I would be willing to bet that the Lord would start to use you and the ladies in your church to impact certain ministries within your church and then start to move that impact beyond the four walls of your church and into your places of work and further out into your communities.