Have you ever thought about how you’ve come to find the women in your life? Stop for a moment and reflect on who you would call in a moment of great need. Who do you text when you need prayer, a favor, people in your corner? These people matter more than you realize. They are the reason you stay afloat many times whether we acknowledge it in the moment or not.
Jesus had a following (lots and lots of people who were all about His truth). He had a tribe of people He could teach more in-depth and lead more intimately. He had people He could count on in the twelve. He looked to them for support and pushed them to believe beyond what their upbringing had asked of them. Then He had the three. He let down His guard completely with them. I believe it is a great model for us. We can have that crowd of people we interact with regularly. Do some life with, say hi, and catch up with at church or in the grocery store. We can have a smaller group of people that we let in a little more and remember details about their life and ask them how we can pray and support them. We also need to have a “group of 12” kind of thing that we are being more honest than with the general public and these people are allowed to pour into us. They can challenge us and hold us to a higher standard. Then there is the three. Your inner most group. Your core tribe. I don’t think it has to be 3 but if it was good enough for Jesus…well, you get it. I have three girlfriends and my husband that serve in this most vulnerable of places in my life. I am as real as I can be with these people. Even if I know what is getting ready to come out of my mouth is unsavory, I will say it to these people. They know me as much as anyone on earth can know me. They also all serve the same loving God and operate in the Holy Spirit which unifies and emboldens us to speak truth in love to each other. It is a beautiful thing and I am grateful to have this. Seven years ago, I would not have said this. I was floundering to not only have these relationships, but to be vulnerable enough in them to reap a bountiful harvest from our conversations. So what changed? How am I where I am today? I have a few secrets to share that I hope encourage you if you are still on the journey to finding your tribe.
I will not waver in my strong opinion that I am sitting in the wealth of prized women friends today because I cried out to the Lord and He heard my prayer. I begged for women that I could learn from and then for women that I could pour into. I asked for a few years for God to send me friends that would help me grow and encourage me and that I could in turn encourage them. Over the last decade He has connected me with SO many amazing women and I would not be who I am today without them. So pray, be specific and believe that He is for community and He will answer this prayer in His perfect timing. Which brings me to number two.
I hate to bring this up, but it is part of the journey for many of us and I was no exception. I longed for true friendship, but in the desert time of waiting I leaned in and learned that I was missing a piece from God and He wanted to fill that before giving the human component. I see now what I could not see then. His timing is perfect and I am better for having waiting on Him.
Lastly, when I was given the connection with another woman, I intentionally put myself out there. Not all at once, wisdom, Dear Friend, to quote “Friends” I said share not scare. Be yourself in reasonable doses. There is a spirit check we need to do before going deep. Is this person safe, will they hold my vulnerability in confidence? Can I see myself building a friendship with them? Don’t take any old warm body as a bestie. Pray, and patiently seek the best for the relationship. Despite your great desire to connect to someone deeply, make sure you feel peace about them. But when you do, give that person your best. Be willing to share and bare their burdens as well. This takes intentionality—especially when we are busy with a family, work, etc.
If this is you and you are stuck in the desert, will you drop me a line and ask for prayer. I love praying for others and community is important to me, and I know it is important to God. Jesus modeled the need for others so we would know that it is important. He was great at show not simply tell.