I've heard this a lot in my life and many times it's come from my own mouth, "I just get along better with boys/men." I grew up with an older brother who I wanted to keep up with and be able to do everything he did like hunting, riding, wrestling and football. I sneered when my mom would want me to wear a dress to church or school, but I secretly wanted to wear dresses so bad but I had built up this veneer that I was a T"omboy." I had a lot of friends that were girls growing up and they really were my best friends, but I have to admit they're was always a bit of rivalry between us for absolutely no reason except that I put it there. There was competition when it came to grades, for popularity and for the oh-so-dumb topic of "attention from boys."
I'm not sure where it all came from, but when I look back at it now it really breaks my heart to see the friendships that were so fragile because of the lie that had been rooted inside of me that the other females in my life were my competitors and not my sisters. I guess I do know where it came from. It's a lie straight from the lips of the enemy, Satan, himself. Why would he not want women to build each other up? Because they would be powerful. And I'm not talking about feministic power, that's another lie and coalition from the enemy all together and most likely has perpetrated this problem of women trying to compete with each other as well as make themselves better then men. But let's not delve into that on this post. What I'm talking about can be seen so clearly in the Bible. The most prolific is the story of Ruth. Ruth's husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law had all died. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, told Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah, to leave and go back to their homeland since there was nothing else for them if they stayed with Naomi. Orpah left. Ruth stayed. Actually, it reads that Ruth "clung to her." Right then and there is where those two women became very powerful and were used to help forge history and bring redemption to mankind. Ruth followed Naomi to her homeland and married an Israelite named Boaz and they gave birth to a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse who is the father of King David. If you know the genealogy of Jesus, you know that He is a descendant of King David. All of this happened because these two women stuck together. There was no rivalry between them. There was only servant hood. They were lifting each other up not only to survive the famine that was in their land but to also to bring about a prosperity and richness to their lives because they knew God's promises.
So I thought I'd share with you three avenues that I'm working on to build up the women that I come in contact with. These are not easy for me to come by right at this time because I'm still working on uprooting the lie that has been planted in my heart to tear other women down instead of building each other up, but I'm gonna get there!
1. Quit the gossip!
As a woman, you know this just comes so natural to us. It's like a little nagging itch in your body rises up when you get the chance to say something negative about another female. It brings a feeling of false righteousness when we get to say, "Did you see her...Or did you her about how she..." Believe me, it's so hard to deal with this. And as a Christian, the way we gossip is, "Oh, just be praying for Jamie, she's dealing with (Insert sin or embarrassing circumstance)." Really? Did Jamie ask you to share with the whole world what she's dealing with? Did she ask you to gather a prayer meeting in her honor to air out her dirty laundry for all to see? Nope. I'm pretty sure she didn't. So just quit it. (Just so you know, I'm really telling myself all of this!)
Why don't we just end all negative words toward everyone right now. Let no word leave your mouth unless it's edifying and bringing life to those around you.
2. Serve Each Other.
I think the word "serve" has been so twisted in our society today. Its conjures up the picture of humility. Of someone bowing down to others and in obedience. And in a way that's totally correct, but if you do it for God, it also brings into area of true peace and joy when you serve others. Jesus himself said in Matthew 20:28, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." So, what better way to show love to other women than to serve them? Watching someone's kids so she can take a nap or run to the grocery store is a great example. Writing someone an encouraging note, text or email is another. But truly the greatest example of servant hood, I believe, is humbly telling that woman face to face how you believe in her, how much you love her and cherish her in your life. You may be thinking how is that a service? Well, again when I think of serving I think of complete humility and in that moment when your sharing with another woman these encouraging words, your being vulnerable to rejection and judgment from her and the world.
3. Learn to Love Yourself.
I'm sure you agree, that people who gossip about others and tear each other down are really not happy with themselves. When they look in the mirror, they don't like what they see. At a women's conference this last fall, we were asked to get with God and let Him tell us how He sees us. We then wrote what we got from Him on a card. From there we went in front of a mirror and read aloud from that card while we looked in the mirror. Talk about powerful and humbling. I didn't look around at what anyone else was doing but I know for me that it was hard to look myself in my tear-filled eyes and say those words. The lie that the enemy tells us that we aren't worth anything unless we exalt ourselves above others and that we won't amount to anything unless we climb the ladder of success that the world has set up has been around since the beginning of time. Remember Satan's deception to Eve? He told her that if you take and eat from this tree you will be like God. It's the same lie he tells us today, if you keep striving, keep building walls around yourself and tearing other women down, then everyone will see you as powerful.
You must remember that if you're a child of God you already are powerful. You're already beautiful and most of all, your loved by God. Also, for those of you who may be reading this who haven't given their heart to God, whom may be asking themselves, "how could God love me since He knows what I've done in my past?" Let me tell you something, He loves you in spite of yourself, your past and your sins. Nothing you could do could separate you from His love. Give Him a chance and in turn you will get to walk in a freedom that you could barely even conjure up in your mind. Freedom to love yourself and others.
So to all of you women who have felt the burden of competing with other women, just let it go. You're above that!
All my love and encouragement to every woman who reads this!
Love you all,
Cooped Up Cowboy's Wife- Candace