I am equally as terrified as I am excited to be writing up this post for y’all today. (I say for y’all….but I think this is going to be more for me, than for you, if God has anything to do with it haha.)
I’ve been really unsure of how I wanted to go about writing this post and every idea I had sort of brought me back here. To exactly where I am at. And so I decided to write about it. In all of it’s beauty and in all of it’s brokenness…here’s a little look into where I’m at in life these days.
Life has been feeling weird lately and I only say that because some parts of my life feel so incredibly fruitful, while others just seem to be dragging me along by my hair. That’s a weird place to sit, and if you’ve ever experienced that disconnect in your own life, you can understand that feeling better than I can ever try to explain it.
The biggest thing I have felt this paradox with has been in learning that relationships, and trusting God with them, isn’t as scary as I’ve allowed myself to believe.
Particularly, my relationships with women.
Speaking as frankly and honestly as I can, I’ve been very hurt in my past by some of the strongest Christian females in my life and I didn’t realize until recently that I have instinctively put a wall up, between me and the women I know, for YEARS trying to protect my heart from getting hurt in the same way it has so often in the past.
I can honestly say that since I was about 12, every girl I’ve allowed to occupy that “best friend” place in my heart has done more harm than good in that space. I think that’s partially my fault for expecting to not be wronged by another human and being too accommodating to just let myself be walked all over but I’m not sure I can shoulder the entirety of that blame.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love women! And I love doing life in close proximity with women…just not too close.
Getting too close means opening myself up to be hurt again…and where’s the safety and the comfort in that? Uh, nowhere.
And so to protect myself, I’ve just settled into this new identity of being “independent” –translate that as me forcing myself to do things by myself but feeling lonely and upset the whole time…or surrounding myself with people that still make me feel that same aforementioned way. This has been a HUGE way in which I have allowed the Enemy to keep me stuck and feeling alone for the past few years of my life because I’ve also shut God out from that place thinking, “I’m handling this just fine on my own.”
You’d never know that, though, because I spend plenty of my weekends grabbing coffee with girl friends and posing for cute Instagram photos but in actuality while those friendships are great, I don’t really allow myself to get too personal with those gals. Yes, those relationships are special and meaningful and in some ways, fruitful…but I don’t really allow them to get too deep without withdrawing a little bit out of fear.
Isn’t that an interesting thought, that I’m actually doing this to myself? I’m cutting myself off from some potentially incredible things in those relationships. Why? Because I’m scared. And in my fear, I’m holding on oh so tightly to what is comfortable…and God’s over here just like, “Hey, loosen your grip a little, why don’t you, Bri? I can show you the goodness in women so you don’t have to be afraid anymore!”
And I’m like, “AHHH NOOOO. It’s scary!!! And it’ll hurt some, probably!”
(I’m not sure these are my exact words…but by not letting go a little, that’s basically what I’m saying to God, through my actions.)
I’d love to say I trust God fully with that part of my story–the hurt and the anxiety that I feel when I try to put myself out there or in those moments when I’m too afraid to do anything–but I’m not sure I do just yet.
I’m still very cautiously walking that road.
I semi-reluctantly joined a women’s bible study this last month that has reminded me so much of why women are great and I think that’s been the sweetest reminder from God that community is so so special and women are so so special and that they aren’t scary (I feel so silly typing that out because DUH), even though I still feel a little twinge of that fear creep up in me from time to time. Even in my desire to remain “in control” with this issue, God has still shown me His love and how kindly He operates. The tenderness that is there is slowly encouraging me to open my hands up a little wider, giving up a little more of that control every day and leaving that dependency entirely in His hands, not my own.
Which leads me to what God has been really working on in my heart in the last month or two…
To trust Him with everything.
Including my relationships.
Encouraging me to even trust Him with the little details of those relationships.
He’s been reminding me SO much recently about the importance of not only just being in community with women and what that can offer but also a direction on what kind of women to be in community with–namely, soft women.
Now, you’re probably looking at that going, soft women? Like, the Pillsbury dough-boy soft or??
To which I will answer, no….and now I want some bread.
But by soft, I mean, and this may be slightly controversial because our world seems to be calling out the anger in us all–encouraging us to be nasty women…but I think there is something so beautiful about a woman who stands firmly in what she believes in (I’m not advocating for loosey-goosey people here) but they do so with quiet strength…speaking honestly and kindly, even when discussing things with people they don’t agree with or when they’re upset.
There is a certain level of “lightness” to these women and I don’t think I’ve come across much of anything else that is more beautiful.
It’s so easy to let this world make us hard and hateful, and I think we see that EVERYWHERE these days, with women and men alike. But God has continually shown me that there is SO much beauty in remaining soft and gentle and kind in a world that is anything but. And I’m continually learning that that is an attribute I admire not only in the women I want to be around, but that is also such a big chunk of the heart of our Savior and THAT is why I recognize it as being so special when I see it in others.
And so, in attempts to delve deeper into the heart of God and better understand who He is, I’ve started trying to put myself into situations where community with women is just sort of going to happen; i.e. Bible studies, intentional coffee dates, heck, I’ve even been looking for new jobs where I can work entirely with women and y’all, it scares the HECK outta me. Like, literally, I get so anxious even thinking about it haha but I also feel like that is where God has my heart right now….and even though everything still feels kinda uncomfy as I stretch myself and put myself in those situations, I know that God is walking right along with me. So any time I start to question or worry about this road I’m on, He’ll be there to reassure and remind me why I’m doing this in the first place.
To heal my broken heart. To show me His heart. And to remind me of who we all are because of Him.
Cherished daughters. Honorable sons.
What lesson(s) has God been teaching you lately?
Let me know in the comments below!