10 things I learned about myself…in women’s ministry.
2. Being vulnerable is good and bad. Opening up and talking about our own issues and mistakes opens up the hearts of the people listening…but it also makes you accountable to many. As someone who has (and still have at times) a wall around them, those bricks come tumbling down after you cry a few times in front of a group of women. It isn’t easy to keep putting those bricks back up.
3. I learned that I am a quitter! Not a perfectionist, but a quitter. Not a pretty thing to admit. All my life I have sailed through, trying something new, doing pretty well at it, and patting myself on the back. As it gets more difficult, I don’t actually really try harder, I just come up with an excuse to “move on” to something else. In reality, that is just quitting!! So, I can’t quit now…
4. Being “smart” is subjective. It’s easy to “talk the talk” and look the part, but have a few ideas challenged, and the crazy sets in! 🙂 There is so much to learn, and the more I learn, the more I realize that I know nothing. I can understand the term, “ignorance is bliss” because I would like to live in the bubble where I think I’m smart. I have spent 9 months surrounded by smart women, and I have had to choose to let it be a good thing, and to learn. But growth hurts!! Thank God for grace!
5. Relationships are work! Yes, they are…at least the ones worth pursuing. With women, life is about relationships, and we talk about them, we worry over them, we second guess them, and we crave healthy ones. I have learned that a good relationship is a treasure that needs to be cherished, and valued…and worked on.
6. Society tells us that women need to compete with each other. This is a lie. A healthy women’s ministry is where each woman has a place, a voice, and safety net. When we, as women, support each other instead of competing with each other, the dynamic is astounding. We have no reason to compete, we are all unique. Each of us has a place in God’s plan and in His kingdom.
7. Iron sharpens iron. Yes, we even talked about that this morning (at the women’s meeting). When we are open and vulnerable, we give others the opportunity to help us in the “growth business”. Without accountability and relationship we just become a one-woman-show and nothing gets accomplished in the kingdom. I have spent my life isolating myself from other women and deep relationships. It takes so much out of me when I let someone “sharpen” me…yes, this takes me back to point #3! And I’m learning that it’s worth it!! Talking about this point reminds me of the book, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis. In this story Eustace is disobedient and turns into a dragon. It isn’t until he goes through the experience of having his dragon exterior ripped off by Aslan that he becomes who he is meant to be. A painful, but a cleansing process.
8. Patience isn’t a virtue I possess. One might think that I am patient, but deep down, nope!! I am tooth grinder. If someone says something that I don’t really agree with, my jaws clench. It’s a good thing that I have people around me that call me on this. I would even say that patience and pride go hand in hand in this. Not a pretty picture, and it’s not good for the teeth. It says in Colossians 1:10-12 MSG, “We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” This is so true…learning that He is the source of our strength, and when we can see things from His perspective, it turns into joy!
10. The last, but most important, lesson for me was that Jesus is all that matters. If He didn’t walk beside me, talk to me, and lead me into these relationships, I would be a disaster. (I was getting close to that a little while ago…but that’s because I am a quitter.) He showed me the big picture. Because of Him it is worth it. It is worth going through the process of tearing down the walls, and being honest. It is worth being vulnerable. It’s through our weakness that He is strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NLT, Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.