Thursday, April 18, 2013

One of the Girls?

I'm an avid podcast watcher/listener. And I'm a little bit crazy.

This combination has lead me to believe, with my whole heart, that given the chance I could be best friends with my favourite chick preachers. I know Charlotte Gambill, Christine Caine, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Bevere, Holly Wagner and I would get along great. I'd watch National Geographic lion documentaries with Lisa, my kids could hang out with Priscilla's kids, Holly and I would bond over our inability to sing, Charlotte and I would wander through Nordstroms together and Chris (yes, Chris not Christine, that's how tight we are) and I would spend hours chatting over some Starbucks. Yep, I love these gals and I know that they would love me.

Okay, so I'm slightly mental. But in all seriousness my admiration for these ladies and a whole host of other female powerhouse preachers comes from not only their ability to teach and inspire with their words but by their desire to lead by example. I follow all of these gals on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (okay, now I'm sounding like a stalker, but for serious, I'm harmless) and what has absolutely rocked my world and changed my very heart is seeing how this group of ladies esteems, supports and encourages each other.

On any given day I can click on to any social media site and see this one tweeting about that one's latest book or another one sending words of encouragement to one who is speaking at a conference or a picture of a group of them hanging out together, building friendships. And it inspires me. It makes me jealous for the same kind of friendships in my own life. It challenges me to be that kind of friend.

For years I struggled through my own insecurities. I constantly compared myself to my cousins, acquaintances at church and the 'cool' kids at school. I never, ever measured up. I was tall, dorky, overweight, not musical and any time I spoke in front of people I stuttered. I was inadequate in most every way that mattered by my estimation and this caused me to be very jealous and nasty when it came to recognizing talents in other people.

If someone was beautiful, I knew they were shallow. If someone was musical, I knew they were stuck up. If someone was athletic, I knew they were felt superior. If someone was artistic, I knew they were elitist. And Lord help the person who had similar talents to me! If someone proved crafty with words or could spin a good tale I was downright mean spirited and borderline vicious. I was afraid that their ability, when compared with mine, would further diminish me. So I always went on the attack. My own insecurities stopped me from learning, from growing and most importantly, from having relationship with some very fantastic people.

Its only been in the last couple of years that I have come to understand a truth that is so simple, so clear and yet so easy to miss. I am who I am and no one can add to me or take away from me without my permission. I'm responsible for me. I can either celebrate the strengths in others, and learn from them or I can hoard my own talent away like a miser and wither away in my loneliness. Its just that simple.

Thankfully, I had the God given sense to loosen the grip on my insecurities and start to learn from those around me. I still struggle with feeling less than I should be but I own that. Its all on me. When I feel that way its because I have allowed myself to go down that road. No one pushed me. Sure people say and do jerky things, mostly out of their own insecurities, but I get to choose if and how its going to affect me. I get to choose.

Since opening myself to others I have become a better mother, a better wife, a better writer and a better person. And most definitely, a better friend.  I have come to realized that the gift in someone else does not diminish the gift in me. Just as one candle does not lessen the light from another, it adds to it, making the power of the light multiply.

So, these days I love bragging about my friends. The writers, the singers, the artists, the crafters, the mothers, the volunteers, the teachers, the business people, the actors, the scientists and my fantasy friends (you know, Chris and the gals). I try to seize every opportunity I can to celebrate the magnificent women in my world. I love hearing about their success, I love seeing their great big generous hearts in action, I love basking in the glow of their achievements for what one mighty women accomplishes lights the path for all others to follow.

We are women. We are sisters. We are in this together. Let us learn from each other, let us grow side by side. Let us celebrate all that we are!

Sisterhood: (noun) The relationship between sisters. The feeling of kinship and closeness to a group of women or all women

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