Dear graceful women,
This week we have the beauitful Shannon on R &G. To be honest, this post has changed my life and her words have marked my heart. Please read and share with others! She's truly amazing! Here's a link to her insta :
I sat down to write an entirely different piece but all my words kept tripping over themselves and I could not for the life of me dig up the message I was trying to uncover for you today. Anxiety over fumbled words rising, I went on a walk. As one does.
And I asked the Lord, “What do you want to say to these women today?”
I took a few more lazy steps down the sunlit speckled sidewalk before He replied tenderly,
“I see you.”
Yes Lord, is that it?
“… But do you see each other?”
I see you, but do you see each other?
Women spend so much time believing the lie that they are in competition with each other. I think, on some level, we have all done this from time to time. Even now, though I feel relatively graduated from this message, I can trace back moments this very week where my mind responded in judgment or fear towards other women. So what’s the deal?
It happens this way, we see another woman and feel instantly at odds with her - we don’t like the attention she’s getting, or the way she carries herself, her outfit is too revealing, her laugh too loud, her hair too perfect, her children impossibly well-behaved, and so on and so on - until we just write her off as the enemy, the competition. We don’t like her because something about her offends us and we aren’t sure why because we refuse to explore it. She’s already been discarded under the label of “The Other”.
The problem with reducing people, stripping them of the dynamics of their intricacies, not allowing them grace or compassion or backstory, is we effectively render them inhuman. This is what I mean when I say the Other. They are no longer a name, but a label. A faceless threat against something within us and so we keep them at arms length, rather than analyzing our own motivations in that moment.
But in the Kingdom of God there is no Other.
Because in the Kingdom of God there is no competition.
I consider competition a symptom of distrust or misplaced worth. We either distrust God’s love as our defining worth, or we have misplaced our worth into lesser things: praise, beauty, attention, influence, or otherwise.
More specifically, it begs the question, in these moments of tension, what within us is being threatened? And perhaps, should it be threatened? Is there a chance this biting thing within us should be highlighted, uprooted, and replaced with trust in God’s love? How will we know if we do not explore and trace back these feelings the moment they happen? I propose what is being threatened is a wrong identity, built on unsustainable foundations.
If we uproot false securities, we will more deeply cultivate true kingdom identity.
And true identity, we find, is key. With it, less and less does the threat of competition affect us. When operating in our kingdom identities, we learn we can trust God Himself to give us our own platform, so we never find ourselves reaching to seize or dismantle another’s.
I think women today have got to learn this with their whole hearts: your sister is more valuable than the praises of the world. We know, as daughters rooted in our kingdom identity, that we are above the validation of the world, and our worth is rooted in far deeper, far higher, far more heavenly places. Adding to that, Jesus instructs us to love others as ourselves, even above ourselves. Therefore we cannot keep sacrificing our sisters for the sake of empty affirmation or worldly attentions.
Instead, in the Kingdom we find a backwards aim. One where we desire to lift each other higher than ourselves. If your sister is receiving praise, join in the loudest, rather than seeking to silence it so your own chorus can be heard. God hears you both, sees you both, champions you both.
When we learn, trust, and believe our safety and our worth is firmly and immutably established in the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are freed up to move about this life encountering others without feeling our identities threatened or our places at the table questioned.
So when He asks us Do you see each other? I feel HIs heart aching, When will my daughters stop tearing each other down and start instead to build each other up? I have given each of you every good thing; there is no lack. You are not dogs under a table fighting for scraps, you are beloved children seated beside me, each with their own feast to be had. Now talk amongst yourselves, daughters, there is so much beauty hidden between you, born of collaboration and convergence and harmony. Come together, and you will all be better for it. Not one of you is less than the other.
This is the beauty of rags and grace, as I see it. We’ve all got rags, yeah? Loads and loads of rags. Yet wondrously, the same lavish grace I have is the same grace you have is the same grace she has. And if King Jesus saw fit to give me grace to give you grace to give her grace then who am I to deny it for any of us? Or more deeply, what false identity is motivating me to try?
Let us come to the table with unoffendable hearts, so we can be freed to see the Other for who they truly are. We will find with our eyes opened not opposition, but sisterhood.
In this life, we will have enemies. They will be ways of the world, workings of darkness, doubt, and fear, but never people. As people, as women, we are on the same side of a winning battle, comrades in various stages of victory.
Do you see each other this way?
Lord, teach us to see all of your children the way you see them. Give us your eyes and your insight. Build within your Church a mighty sisterhood. We repent and turn away from labeling the Other. Teach us, instead, to move towards what is uncomfortable with open hands and a heart postured to learn and receive from You, the trustworthy one, through whom all our safety and worth is secured and established.