I am so sorry, but at the same time, I am not sorry. I love you, but at the same time, I am scared to death of you. I want to reach out to you, but at the same time, I want to push you so far away. I want to come alongside you to comfort and encourage you in your hurt, but at the same time, it opens up my hurt. I am speaking to you, ladies, yes, my very own gender. I have issues with women, and I imagine that I am not alone.
We are constantly comparing ourselves to one another, isn’t that what the world tells us to do? We are never as good, as smart, as beautiful, as successful, as godly, as funny, as in shape, as confident, as gentle, as bold – you name it – as some other woman. Single ladies, you might examine yourself against the other women to see who will be more able to win someones heart. Married women, you might live in constant competition to make sure no one else wins your husbands heart, or even just his eyes. We sit in our circles at bible studies, at our tables at bunco parties, we walk by each other at church, and somewhere deep down, we can’t help but compare ourselves. Am I good enough? Maybe some of you are reading this and thinking “I have never thought that,” if that is you, than be prepared to be exposed to the mind of one woman who is desperately trying to be freed from the grip of hurt and fear that prevents her from loving the very people God has placed on her heart, her fellow women. But, I have a feeling that I am not alone.
I confess, women are my greatest threat in life. Sounds weird, I know. Because so many of us have been hurt, are insecure, and can often seek love and acceptance in unhealthy ways, we can view each other as threats instead of as hurting people. I am going to be really raw with you right now. If I saw you walking down the street, though I have never met you before – I don’t know your name, your past, your hurts, your fears, or even your faith – if you are attractive, dress provocatively, or even just walk with confidence, chances are I have judged you and labeled you a threat to my very life. Maybe I saw you at church and notice that you have a contagious smile, always have the perfect outfit on, and seem charming and outgoing, chances are I have taken my husband’s hand and quickly walked in the opposite direction, wanting to get as far away from you as possible. I can’t live like this anymore.
Ladies, let’s be in this thing called life together, working with each other and not against each other. I am talking to myself most of all! Sisters in Christ, let us work together to heal and to see one another as Christ see’s us, as His daughters. We are not all competing in a beauty pageant against each other, or an academic decathlon, or a “who is the best mother” competition. This has been going on way too long! I am the first to admit that I need to change. I am seeking God to know how in the world to convert this pernicious paradigm into a mindset of compassion and mercy, because how can I minister to you fully if I see you as a possible enemy. My issue is most often with strangers, women who when I see them walking down the street my blood starts to boil because I feel I can’t “compete” with them. I wonder if my husband would notice them. I wonder if they are purposely seeking the attention of men, at whatever cost. Hate starts to well up in my heart…hate. I am so sorry! I am so very, very sorry!
Please forgive me, God. Please forgive me, ladies. Please forgive me, my sisters in Christ. I have feared you, judged you, and turned from you, all in the name of guarding myself and what I value. There is a small group of my friends that I have not done this with, but I fear that if I do not change my heart soon, this poison will affect even those relationships. I want to acknowledge your hurts, instead of being so caught up in mine. I do beseech you though, my fellow followers of Christ as well as those who have yet to come to know Him (our AMAZING God!), don’t cover your hurts with things that will only hurt you more. Don’t let your healthy desire to be loved be temporarily satiated by the unhealthy means of getting attention from other men by the way you dress. Don’t compare yourself, whether to bring yourself up or put yourself down, with other women. The woman who looks perfect on the outside has pain on the inside just as you do. Yes, I am speaking to myself so loud its almost deafening. Don’t live in fear. Don’t live with a constant perception of yourself as inadequate in comparison to others. Don’t strive after the identity the world wants to give you, but in the identity that Christ has given you if you are indeed in relationship with Him. This is a hard wall to break down ladies, but we can do it together! We have an amazing heritage in the Lord which reveals to us the amazing truth that the weapons and strongholds raised against us will not inevitably succeed:
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17
If we believe this and work together to tear down the wall that the enemy has been putting between us for way too long, we can begin to experience a healing that we have craved for so long. Maybe your wall is more built up against men rather than other women, that is understandable too! Either way, we need to find healthy ways to tear these walls down, still knowing and trusting that God has hold of our hearts. This is not easy, and for many of us will take seeking much godly counsel, but it is worth it. I am tired of fearing the very people I feel called to minister to. I am exhausted in every way imaginable. Even as I write this, in my flesh, I hear someone whispering in my ear “don’t give up your disdain, don’t give up your fear, it is what protects you, it is you.” No,no. My fear and disdain have been nothing but a prison; but I do admit, I am scared of what life is going to look like on the other side. God reminds me however, He also gently and lovingly whispers in my ear, that His grace is sufficient and that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He reminds me also of His compassion, His grace, and His work of redemption, which are not only for me but also for the very people I have been judging. Our enemy, the devil, tries to convince us that we are each others enemies, in turn getting us to turn our “weapons” on each other rather than him. May we do this no longer. O, Lord, may I do this no longer!
As I follow Jesus Christ, my desire is to be more like Him, to love like Him. Loving women in general has been my greatest challenge. Though I have been hurt by both men and women, it has been harder for me to forgive the latter. I love my dear, close girl friends, but my love has not ventured far outside that “safe” circle. I want this to change. James 5:16 tells us “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” So I confess this to you. God has known, my husband has known, and now I share it with those whom I have aimed my hurt and disdain. May healing commence…for us all!