COMMUNITY
COMMUNITY
Let us be willing to ask God, in relationship with other women, to come and reveal to us where we are playing it safe, how we are not trusting Him, how we are not living in faith and idolizing the things of this world rather than worshipping Him. I need women around me who push me toward Him, who love me by showing me how I am falling. Because falling is not so bad when I am doing it into my Savior’s arms. It is the most terrible, isolating, lonely and death-inducing thing to fall, however, when you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

THE COST OF FAKE COMMUNITY: A SHORT RANT

T

he uncomfortableness starts in my chest. A feeling unclear, but decided. I am lonely, in a room of women who for years, I call friends.

I am convinced there is opposition to connection–opposition to vulnerability, a digging in and asking God to lead, to show what He has.

But rather than do that–seek God, we get in our own way to freedom. We get in the way of a life that, while not immune to superficiality, insists on playing it safe.

We talk about summer adventures rather than adventures with God. We share stories of the kids’ first days of school rather than how we are desperate for God to scoop us up and lead the way Home.

It hurts.

But we mask it well.

We look put together here. Our hair blow-dried and tousled, our toenails painted, our legs crossed and our children’s initials stamped in metal around our wrists or necks. We sit with cool drinks and talk about God but not to God. We discuss challenges as frustrations, but not really.

It is tiring.

I am tired.

We don’t really share the hidden secrets of the heart. Perhaps we don’t even know what the word “secret” is.

But we live it.

I am paralyzed by normalcy, by mundanity. The beautiful truth–our desperation for God–has escaped us. We have forgotten, in the concern for status quo, to fight the fight for one another’s hearts, really fight. We have forgotten how to push into the places where we have not allowed God to come, to ask for His eyes in order to see what we cannot.

We have forgotten to ask Him to give us words to interpret what we have forgotten how to believe: we are daughters of a King–a King that doesn’t play it safe, a King who wants us to believe in the potential for a world, a life, that is so much more than what we see. More than safety. More than rules. More than fear. More than the tyranny of culture and expectations and routine.

Doing these things would be uncomfortable. But necessary. And important. And good.

I love these women. But I need community that pushes me, makes me feel uncomfortable in its encouragement of me to love God more.

Community is not about pretending–about playing by the rules our culture worships: success, productivity. It is not about Christians faking a heart for God. Community that does this isolates–not only making us feel divided from one another in our attempt to not be vulnerable, but separate from our own hearts.

We are suffocating here.

Let us be willing to ask God, in relationship with other women, to come and reveal to us where we are playing it safe, how we are not trusting Him, how we are not living in faith and idolizing the things of this world rather than worshipping Him.

I need women around me who push me toward Him, who love me by showing me how I am falling. Because falling is not so bad when I am doing it into my Savior’s arms.

It is the most terrible, isolating, lonely and death-inducing thing to fall, however, when you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

So to be in this type of community? God, give us courage.

Let us pray this: God, let true community, with the women you bring into my life, start with me.

Are you in a community of women (and this can be a single friend) who pushes you, encourages you, emboldens you to live a life of transparency and truth–a life that chases after God? What step can you take today to be this kind of friend?

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Showing 20 comments
  • Helen Ramsey
    Reply

    I relate so strongly to these words, thoughts, feelings. How I have prayed to be able to listen, to hear Him when He speaks, to know Him more intimately, to accept He is always with me, to accept I am forgiven and I am truly His. He has answered my prayers, He has shown Himself to me in ways that only I would know, through people He brings to me in these troubled times. I am truly blessed to know He is mine as well as I am His. Amen

    • levonia
      Reply

      So true, just Thursday last week I spoke with a group of ladies regarding friend’s and relationships. And how we need to ask God to replace godly women into our lives, or a friendship like in 1 Samuel 18, an immediate bond between them…. that’s how it should be and an outpouring of the word and praying together

  • Helen Ramsey
    Reply

    I relate so strongly to these words, thoughts, feelings. How I have prayed to be able to listen, to hear Him when He speaks, to know Him more intimately, to accept He is always with me, to accept I am forgiven and I am truly His. He has answered my prayers, He has shown Himself to me in ways that only I would know, through people He brings to me in these troubled times. I am truly blessed to know He is mine as well as I am His. But, indeed, how awesome it would be to share this with others, perhaps someone who needs to hear it at the moment. Amen

  • Judy Adams
    Reply

    Love this, Jen. Community that doesn’t feel authentic just isolates and hurts us more. We can end up leaving feeling more alone! Thanks for sharing the real struggles of life.

  • Cassi
    Reply

    Hey Jen. The church I belong to just started a new program that allows us to be real, be broken, be genuine in our walk. It is in two formats: one on one counseling and group share classes. We don’t have to hide and we encourage going deeper!
    Also, for the last two years a separate women’s ministry has come together to create lasting relationships between women from diverse backgrounds. It’s called Real Women so that we can be real and not fake.
    I encourage all of us to seek out this kind of genuine, life changing atmosphere. Thank you for sharing!

    • Cielo
      Reply

      I feel the hurt as well, of not having real deep relationships, for the most we all “understand” our human nature and struggles yet, we can’t become real, we acknowledge that we have struggled, but we don’t let people see our wounds, for fear, shame, or because we tent to think since we are Christian women we ought to be strong! Cassy, you mention about Real women group, is there some link, or resources you can share about that? I have been praying and want something like that in my church and would like to have some tools!

  • sheila womble
    Reply

    YES! Yesss! I was praising God for my “tribe” friends! I have many friends, but this small group was brought together by a supernatural working of God over there past few years. Experiences in Him as we go to God together have been unexplainably amazing. He uses each of us to spur and call out his work in the others for a common purpose he has shown us all years ago! I thank the Lord for these women all the time!! I have a blog post about how every woman needs a godly tribe. I’ll link it if you are interested?

  • Joyce
    Reply

    I am drawning…suffocating in the world’s pressure of being perfect business woman perfect wife and trying to be there for my kids. The chains of lies of performance and fully booked schedules is taking its toll on me and I realise amist everything: I still want to take control and even though I say I trust Him the truth is I dont really know how to Trust whole heartedly….so yes I really appreciate my circle of Warrior Woman rooted in God to keep it REAL. Love your posts Jennifer thank you! Joyce

  • MarySue Watson
    Reply

    We need this genuine approach to our relationships now more than ever. Each summer from June to September, I teach an intergenerational Sunday morning class for women at our church. The bonding that occurs between women of different generations is beautiful. We learn from each other, and we learn to love each other. Thank you so much for your passion for genuine community among sisters!

  • Gudrun
    Reply

    I agree- I can’t live any other way- it’s difficult to stay there though with the pull of children and busyness of life. But I have a friend or two maybe three that we can be straight up with in these things- they push me to Jesus- their very life and testimony is such that screams in need Jesus more than I already know…this is indeed my kinda happy place only superseded by the very living presence of Abba, in my special place with him.

  • Debbie
    Reply

    I understand every word. I asked Sunday in church when people started talking about bad stuff happening “If we have a Sovereign God, then how can we say bad stuff happens. God doesn’t do bad stuff.” Because I’m weary of everyone putting on their smile and telling others it’ll be alright or God’s Sovereign. Yes, bad stuff does happen. We need to be honest with each other, to encourage each other, to remind each other to do something about what’s happening — even if it’s to be reminded to get connected with God –. Heavens, maybe we could even crack a Bible open together and read to each other. So, yes, I am tired, too, tired of not being able to be honest not only with women I care about, but also with people who slay us with words.

  • Joan
    Reply

    I too agree! Many a person not just woman live life with God through there ups and downs. It’s like a drive thru, like McDonald’s …. order a prayer & a answer, drive thru….. then you expect to pu your answer at the next window! After you consume & drive away, God is no longer a thought, unfortunately he’s purged from memory until the next catastrophe !
    God, Elohim, Abba, He is my life ! Since I received my salvation ! Before I was diagnosed with fibro I was working full time, I did not think I would survive…but my Father who walks with me every step I took , every breath I breathed, every thought I thought, everyday 24 hrs a day. ELOHIM is my life!
    He deserves to be consulted with everything in our life, every aspect, from what vitiamin to take, to what dr. To go too, what to make for dinner, where to get gas, … Please Please listen, He loves us! All of us.! No division, nothing to little or insignificant . He wants us to include Him in Every part of our life‼️❣️

  • Priscilla Kramer
    Reply

    Honestly, I have never really had this in my life. As a child, I had one close friend that I could really talk to. She was my next-door neighbor, and several years younger then me. She was not a believer, but I did share the gospel with her. She wasn’t interested. Every time I got close to someone, other than her, who I thought could be my best friend, and who knew my Jesus…they would move away within 2 weeks of my calling them “best friend”.

    When I became an adult, my mother was my best friend. We had long conversations about God, life, heaven, etc. Every day we would call each other. We went shopping together. She was more like the sister I always wanted then my mom. I’m not saying I don’t have any friends, but most of my close friends live in Texas, Louisiana and other places. I live in Minnesota. We keep in touch on Facebook. Reading and sharing our lives and prayer requests over social media.

    My mother died two years ago this March, but I lost her to dementia a few years before that. I lost my best friend and my mom at the same time. My best friend now is my husband. Together, we are working on forming friendships. We have opened our home to prayer, praise and worship nights, and also movie nights. Not many people come, but that’s ok. We are not despising small beginnings.

    We are in a wonderful church now. It is truly a family, and not just a place you go to sing, listen to a message, And go home. We’re involved, and we are accepted for who we are. Out of this environment we believe we will make good, solid, Christian friends. Ones we can count on when things get tough.

    As an example, one Sunday we went to church and we were very upset about a conversation we had with our youngest son the night before. We were greeted with genuine love and concern. We met with the family pastor who was very supported and told us that it was ok to cry if we needed to. So that Sunday, we worshipped with all our hearts, as we usually do, but we also cried as we did so. Several people came to us, hugged us, and prayed with us, and it was real!

    We have hope. Things are changing. God is good.

  • Charlotte
    Reply

    I believe you have been listening in to coffee conversations I have had this last year. Worn to the nubs with mask wearing and wanting more than anything to be talking, working, speaking, and living Christ. My small group is taking on this challenge as we notice our group texts are blowup with need, real need, not just taking a meal need (which we are very good at!) but on your knees, face to the floor need that only God knows how to fix and it is making it hard to be patient with the surface-staying connection speak. Thank you for this… for speaking words to the felt sense of wanting more and being exhausted with the less-than-ness of playing at loving God.

  • Lizann Painter
    Reply

    Hello Jennifer – how I love the realness of the letters you share from God’s heart … I have been blessed to hear in similar ways for myself, but it does start with being real with oneself first and then telling Him what is really the issue or asking what He thinks and feels about the things on our hearts. this realness has always helped being real with others – it starts with one person opening up to make a woman’s group get open. At my church we have two Art Journaling mentoring groups that gets very real quickly, but also pushes into the healing and finding help part. We all need soothing so badly and it comes with real arms attached too. It doesn’t just have to be “spiritual” in the sense we tend to think of it. My husband and I decided to co-facilitate a combined men and women chat circle to talk about things that really matter rather than a cell group – this group has maintained for 7 1/2 years because it it real and folk have the freedom to spill their beans and find help and share stores of hope together. I love being surprised by God … I was feeling guilty about buying some expensive perfume … I felt a nudge to read Ps 72 – vs 6 jumped out at me …”He comes like rain on a freshly mowed field” … rescued by God’s heart to me … talk about that beautiful smell and answer to my fear of overdoing it. Much love, Lizann

  • Cecelia Presley
    Reply

    The uncomfortableness that you speak of in this post that you post for the world is your validation. The father said this is GOOD. you were obedient and followed through. He is watching….his love and true discipleship requires obedience. You cannot love the father and proclaim your brother without obedience. This is the true radicalism of living for one thing…. To please the creator our father. That’s why he allowed you this platform…. This outlet… He gave you the desires of your heart that you asked for. Well done.

    He wants to know now…. How emboldened will you be? Anything that stifles his voice and word in your life is a barrier and stumbling block….
    Will you surrender and turn away from everything that he shows you IS NOT OF HIM?

    love you sister. This was blessings from father!!!!!

    Cece

  • Michelle Wenis
    Reply

    Three friends and I have decided to meet weekly with a purpose of praying for our marriages and for our children. We met last week and realize we also need to pray for the idolatry that we are guilty of in terms of putting fear, worry, busyness, self importance, our feelings vs. the Lord’s heart, etc… before our families and before God. We simply talk a little bit at the beginning catch up but then get on the ball and start praying together. I think someone just needs to get it started and the Holy Spirit will come and fill the room.

  • Martha Jordan
    Reply

    God is in the process of restoring my life.
    I thank you because you are my community that I look forward to daily as part of my healing process.
    God bless you for what you’re doing!!

  • Mariana
    Reply

    I found such a community online on the Loop Prayer Sisters Facebook Group. Thanks for starting it. It was a first step for me to open up with fellow christian women about my faith and what the Lord is sharing to me in his Word. And the encouragement and truth that I have found coming from fellow believers across the world on this group has been inspiring. But the change has to also start with ME, in how I interact and portray myself to people around me, friends, people from my church, family members. Can I be open, and be real, and vulnerable to them, so that they can see that the “MY LIFE IS PERFECT” image that we all love to portray on social media is just the highlights, not the full truth and reality. In this way God can also start to use me to reach these people and to show that any success that I may have is all thanks to our Loving Father and his Grace.

  • Shelley Smith
    Reply

    Truth! This is why I have struggled with being a part of Women’s Ministries at church. Thank you for being vulnerable and challenging at the same time. Keep it coming ❤️

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