It’s been really impressed on my heart lately the necessity of abiding with one another as women. I don’t know about you, but I sincerely cherish the women who I am blessed to be surrounded by. All of us are in a different stages of growth, and every one of us -though still in the process of sanctification- has a beauty that points towards our Redeemer and King. Masterpieces take time and hard work, deep thought and planning.
But I can’t help but feel a heaviness, because everywhere I look I see girls and women holding themselves to impossible standards. I see them critiquing each other and themselves. Things that can only lead to self destruction or the destruction of others. I’ve been guilty of measuring myself to people I don’t even know and to those that I do. I have desires on my heart that I feel like aren’t getting fulfilled fast enough or that never will be fulfilled. I doubt at times if my prayer is doing anything at all. I forfeit dreaming for the fear that if I do, I will be dreaming to no end about things that will never come to be. I stare at myself in the mirror and find myself lacking in more ways than one. I wonder why I am not accepted by some, and long to be acknowledged by others. I am simultaneously a courageous fighter and a shameful coward. I am my own relentless critic.
We were given the gift of speaking life through our words. God created by speaking things into existence, and by being made in His image, we have the gift of speaking words that can create atmospheres of peace, safety, rest, and comfort, or words that can rip down and destroy.
I bring this up because it’s come to the point of being imperative that I do. The looks shot at each other to see how the girl sitting across from you on the transit to see how she measures up has to stop. The glare across the foyer because she’s wearing something that isn’t your style needs to be questioned. The shaming of each other’s appearances is deplorable; I’m sorry, but who put you in the judgement seat of what beauty is? Have you forgotten that beauty is not outward but internal and that you condemn yourself but making yourself judge and authority?
Or what if another woman is further along than you? What if she gets engaged sooner, has a stable job, is more accomplished in an area where you are lacking? I mean, we’re talking about desires here. Things you are constantly longing for to come to be, some of which obviously may not have been mentioned in that short sentence. And not only that, but desires that you have been waiting for, praying for, patient for, worked for, hoped for and seem to be so easily handed to someone else?
This year for me has been rough. I thrive off the people I’m surrounded by and I’ve been surrounded by people that.. make me feel like a ghost. I love God, but I want to love Him more. I’m so grateful that He’s as faithful as He is because quite unfortunately I’m not as faithful as I’d like to be. As much as I’ve had people encouraging me to stay in the Word, come to small group and the like, I’ve really been craving just someone to abide with me. I’ve just been longing for someone to just.. be with me. I don’t care if there’s talking, I don’t care what we’re doing. I just want to be around someone who is choosing to hang out just because, because I’m finally realizing the beauty of how much it means to have someone actively choose to be with you rather than leave you to fend for yourself.
And I can’t honestly say I’m alone in this feeling of loneliness. Time and time again I hear from girls that they too are lonely, and only the specifics differ. So what am I doing just sitting here?
I’m feeling the weight of utmost importance that I open up and also maintain my friendships. Now that sounds kind of obvious to the point of being silly and embarrassing. But what I mean is that I’m feeling an energy build that is driving me to actively seek out and pour into the lives of the girls and women around me. Though I’ve struggled hard, I’ve been wildly blessed in some ways, so why not share the blessing? I’m not someone who even kind of has it all together (though maybe you’ve been misled so let this be me doing away with the guise), and so I can openly acknowledge that I will fail at this sometimes. But please promise me you won’t let where you are and where you want to be prevent you from reaching out to a sister who’s somewhere you want to be… because she’s struggling too in a different way and may really need someone to reach out to her and that person very well may be you. The mindset of comparison is the mindset that destroys. I’ve watched it try and happen in my friendships. I thank God I was able to notice it was happening before if did any real damage and that He gave me the courage to step out and address it. I’ve had to swallow my pride and be humbled. I’ve had to beat down feelings of entitlement, step back, and as a beautiful friend of mine said just last night “realize that people are on a different path than the one I’m on.”
But it’s so worth it. Because when evil comes a-huntin’ it’s looking for the lost, lonesome, and broken to pick off which translates to any and all of us if we don’t come together and fight for our friendships.
So how do we fight for our friendships? I became actively involved in celebrating and abiding with my friends. And honestly it was hard, because they did indeed have things working out for them in ways that I wish they were working out for me. We have desires for a reason, but we need to actively wait for them to be fulfilled and be pouring into each other while we wait. We need to abide with each other in trials. Please listen. We need to abide with each other in trials. We need to have each other’s backs. And I’m not talking some superficial click, “we’re all sisters forever can’t you tell by our selfies” sort of stuff. I’m talking about the being on the phone till late hours because a sister needs to be heard out. I’m talking about not even “joking” about a woman being anything less than beautiful. I’m talking being there when we’ve been disappointed. I’m talking holding us accountable so we can be our best selves. I’m talking about being honestly loving and lovingly honest. I’m talking opening up our homes for her to find refuge from a world that’s hunting her down because these days women are getting poached like our bones are going to be the new ivory tusk accessory or inlay. I’m talking sharing the gospel with her because she’s never had someone truly love her in her whole life. I’m talking not shaming her because she’s longing to be cherished by someone, anyone. I’m talking about being an emotional shelter for each other, pulling up two chairs, pulling out the tea and talking it out, praying together, or not saying anything at all and resting in the quiet.
And you may say gee, that sounds like a whole lot of commitment. You know what? For as many women as there are out there.. yeah. That’s a huge ton of commitment because every woman is broken in her own way. But that’s why we all need to get up and get in the fight for one another. This is not a spectator sport; consider this you being called to the frontline.
So to the lonely, the hurting, the lost, the unloved or those who feel unlovely, I have not much, but I will share it with you. I am one person and an imperfect one at that. I cannot fix you, I cannot promise you what no human can – that I’ll always be able to be here for you, but please talk to me, let’s go for tea. Or a chat. Or something.
I was filled to be emptied. So let’s go.
Sister, I will abide with you.