Walls aren’t just about women. It’s about humanity.
But my focus for this particular post is women.
Before I can even begin to offer a solution, I will confess…
I’ve been the problem.
-Compared myself to other women either feeling superior or inferior.
-Felt jealous for multiple reasons.
-Betrayed in the worst way.
Maybe none of these apply to you…OR maybe you are not ready to admit to the ones that do.
Whatever the case might be, as women we have failed one another in varying degrees.
My childhood friend Kimmy said in a Facebook post a few days ago:
“We ALL struggle, we all have insecurities, we need to stay positive & support each other.”
Her thought here is the concept of GRACE.
Staying positive and believing the best about others first comes from what we believe about ourselves.
She goes on to say:
“I wish everyone (especially women) would stop being so hard on themselves!!”
Me too, Kimmy!
Because when we are hard on ourselves, we will be hard on others.
When we can’t offer ourselves grace and space to grow, to mature and to enjoy our progress, we will not offer it to others.
I sent out a text to thirty women last week with two questions:
1) What do you see is the #1 reason we build walls between one another?
2) How do you see those walls coming down?
Almost every woman texted me back.
The answers I got for the first question overwhelmingly spoke of FEAR & INSECURITY.
In other words…women do not feel not safe and can not be trusted. (This is not saying there are no safe women who can be trusted. It’s merely a common perception based on real hurt and pain felt among a majority of women.)
The answers I received for the second question varied.
Here are a few:
“I have found that to help women break down strong walls I must first become vulnerable while showing a deep love for them and respect when they share their opinions. It doesn’t mean I have to agree, but listen with respect.”
“I believe the antidote to fear of the walls coming down is to risk and open up and share.”
“Sharing, bonding and time together, realizing the similarities they have.”
“The way barriers are torn down is to disengage from hurts and anger by giving them to God, as well as understanding that the other woman is just as precious to Christ as we are!”
“Be satisfied with what you have and put God first in your life.”
“Teach women who they are in Christ.”
“Someone stepping out and modeling what a safe relationship looks like.”
“We need to spend more time growing in our inner beauty and stop comparing ourselves to the women “next door.”
“Honesty and transparency.”
“Showing unconditional love because we struggle with the same issues.”
And one lady gave a one word answer to question two…
“Jesus.” Actually she added a smiley face to her answer.
And I knew what she meant..it was the Sunday school answer but it was true.
And so are the other responses women shared.
I implore you to go back and read the answers with an open heart.
Do you hear what I hear?
Do you feel what I feel?
Call me a softy, but the answers evoke strong emotion in my heart causing my eyes to tear up.
Maybe those tears are my confession.
My confession that I’ve hurt other women and…
I’ve been hurt by other women.
Maybe this is where is starts?
Can we dare to say we’ve all done it…compared? Judged? Felt jealous? Betrayed?
There is one answer I didn’t receive from these beautiful women.
But it’s my answer.
Walls come down by owning our part and feeling true sorrow.
The Bible calls it repentance.
Repentance simply means “Change your mind.”
And I’ve changed mine by the grace of God.
I feel sorrow for the women I’ve hurt by…
comparing myself against
gossiping about AND
I feel sorrow that I have not been safe and could not be trusted…
that I haven’t loved myself and, therefore, struggled to love others the way God does.
I wish I would have never done it or…
that I would never be tempted to do it again.
But the truth is, until I, until we, understand our own worth and value, we will be looking for it in ways that hurt ourselves and one another.
I want to keep it simple here.
When we come to realize that we were worth dying for (Because we have a Man who died for us), that we are deeply loved, already accepted, already adored, already DEFENDED, already chosen and already honored, we won’t hurt ourselves or others trying to make those things a reality for ourselves.
We have nothing to prove.
As my friend Kimmy said,
“Enjoy yourself, enjoy the moment, enjoy your life! You will never get this day again, find something good in it & celebrate with a joyful & accepting heart!”
AN ACCEPTING HEART.
Until we “get” that we have already been accepted by our Maker, we will struggle with being accepting of others.
When we stop fighting for what we already have, we can only join in on the celebrating.
I’m not talking about being a “Pollyanna,” but something deeper.
I’m talking about finding a place of love and acceptance in our differences.
I’m talking about taking ownership in our part for the walls we’ve built…
and saying a simple, “I’m deeply sorry.”
I’ll go first.
I’m deeply sorry that as I woman I have judged you, gossiped about you, compared myself against you and betrayed you.
I’m sincerely asking for you forgiveness.
Will you forgive me?
And I’m sincerely asking you to keep me accountable.
If you are my friend (Or even my enemy), you have permission to help me stay accepting and positive.
You have permission to call me out when I’m not.
I will open my heart again and trust that even if you do it stumbling and fumbling, you really do love me and want what’s best for me.
Tough times are coming friends.
We need one another.
The world is not getting kinder, but we can.
I want to be a woman who seeks other women’s highest good.
I want to be a woman who if I don’t agree, I will still love you and keep my heart open to learn from you.
I want to be a woman who has nothing to prove but seeks to show you love and care…
Show you….not just words.
It’s the way of Jesus.
He showed us love without flaw.
We will fail but He will not.
And as one lady responded…
We need to give our hurts to God when we’ve been hurt. (And yes, sometimes we need to talk to the person who hurt us. Sometimes we don’t.)
Otherwise, we will want to hurt one another back.
And bitterness will become our companion.
It’s a cycle that will be perpetuated by our need for healing.
People hurt us and sometimes people will help heal us.
But when they don’t…or they can’t…God will do it Himself.
He likes to use us to heal others when we are willing.
It’s a reflection of His heart as our ultimate Healer.
I hope you can join me in this prayer as I end this blog;
Help us as women, God, to be healers. Help us to take our hurts to You and to feel sorrow for the hurt we’ve caused. Help us know how to talk about certain hurts that need to be talked about. Help us to trust again and to risk vulnerability. We need You in this endeavor. We need Your Spirit to birth genuine love in our hearts for one another. Most of all, we desperately need to see how You see us, how You love us. At the end of the day, it’s all that matters. In Jesus Mighty and Merciful Name, Amen.