I’m an introvert.
To. The. Core.
And if studies are correct, up to 50% of you reading this are, too.
Well guess what? This one’s for you, so stick with me…
Often times I’ve used the excuse, “It’s just not my personality,” when it comes to joining a small group, hanging out with other moms or dodging a new role at work.
While the Bible does not directly address personality types, we know that:
(a) God made each and every one of us wonderfully, uniquely, and purposely (Psalm 139), and (b) Each of us makes up a part of the collective Body of Christ—the church (1 Corinthians 12).
Now, if I were to label myself a part, I’d probably be the legs.
Or a leg, I guess. (A socially-challenged leg.)
I’m always trying to get things moving forward.
But a leg wouldn’t be very useful without another leg.
And those legs wouldn’t be very useful without feet.
And those feet wouldn’t be very useful without toes.
And all those parts wouldn’t be very useful without a torso… am I right?!
Friend, God created you with intention. Your personality, skill-set, and experiences make up you, and you are an integral part of the Body of Christ.
Others need you. You need others. We are better together.
There is no opt-out when it comes to communing with the other parts of the Body.
There have been times where I have failed miserably, existing as a borderline hermit. Then other times I’ve swung the pendulum too far in the other direction, leaving myself absolutely exhausted.
I’ve learned a few things from those experiences, and I hope they’ll help you find balance in your search of green pastures:
Know Thyself, Mind Your Calendar. I don’t know about you, but I can only handle a few social gatherings a week. When pursuing intentional relationships with godly friends and mentors, I have to keep in mind my limits. In the best intentions, I’ve made the mistake of scheduling a get-together during a week already overloaded with commitments. Fatigue and distraction led to disappointment knowing I wasn’t able to make the very best of our time together.
Make a Commitment, Keep Your Commitment. I love memes—especially introvert ones.
The most relatable, to me, has to be: “Makes plans… Looks for reasons to cancel.”
Seriously though, this is such a difficult area for me. I make plans with all of the best intentions, then my feelings come in, and I get all tangled up.
What I’m learning is that most often when I don’t “feel” like being around others is when I need it most. God has used so many of these situations to encourage and inspire me. We’re going to have to move beyond our feelings and step out in faith if we want to see God move in and through our relationships!
Pray & Be Brave
A couple of years ago I found myself in a weird place of transition. I didn’t have many friends, and definitely not any I could call in the middle of the night or reach out to in a pinch. I knew I was lacking in this area, and I really did understand the importance of community, but fear had a grip on me. After seeking the advice of a respected leader, I was encouraged to pray and be brave.
Did you know that God cares about every detail of your life? He created you for community, and He wants to surround you with people who will build you up and move you forward into the incredible destiny He has planned for you. So if you find yourself in a similar place, today, in need of friends—or better friends—and longing for true Biblical community, take your request to the Lord. He knows. He cares. And He is waiting to help.
But don’t just sit around in your “nest” waiting on friends to show up, you’ve got to be brave! Text, call, or message that person the Lord lays on your heart. Join that small group you’ve been interested in. Make that play date you’ve been putting off. Faith without action is dead!
I hope this week’s devotions have given you the truth, hope, and encouragement you need to seek out and maintain intentional and beneficial relationships. As we wrap up, I encourage you to ask the Lord, in your own words, to show you the next step He would have you to take in this area. Write it down, and begin to plan smaller action steps to get you moving forward.
What if you’re spending a lot of time around “green” friends, but your life still seems stagnant?
Could your heart, perhaps, be holding you back?
Today we’re taking a look at competition versus aspiration. There’s a subtle difference between competition and aspiration—and it all boils down to the heart.
Competition says, “I must be the best.”
Aspiration says, “I will do my best.”
Competition seeks to draw attention to self.
Aspiration seeks to honor God.
Competition’s root is pride.
Aspiration comes from the desire to become more like Christ.
All throughout the Bible we see a trend—God cares most about the condition of our heart. That is because everything we do, say and are in life flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).
What is the heartbeat behind your current friendships?
Do you always feel like you have to “one up” the other person, or are you okay saying, me too.
Do you always feel like you have to keep it together, or are you willing to let down your guard?
Are you sincerely happy for your friends when they succeed, or are you secretly jealous?
The truth is that we can hang around the wisest, most talented, and hardworking Christ-like ladies, but our “grass” (lives) will not become greener if our hearts’ motivation is competition.
We can throw down some turf, and it may look great to others, but it’s fake and shallow… and dead underneath.
If we want greener grass in our lives, we’ve got to put down our pride and replace it with the humility that allows us to have genuine, authentic, and intimate relationships with others. It’s humility that says, I don’t have it all together, but I’m aspiring to be more and do more, and I need you to help me get there.
We’re all in this together. As moms and followers of Christ we should support and encourage each other as often as given the opportunity. Let’s do a heart search today, and allow God to show us where we’ve been shallow and stubborn. Let’s pray and allow Him to change our hearts, break down the pride, and conform us more into His image.
Author: Katie Gibson
Several years ago we had a family friend who was quite close. We loved her, and we loved spending time with her. But after some time I began to see this person for who she really was: negative. It was as if she were Linus, from Peanuts, dragging around a dust cloud of negativity wherever she went.
The worst part? I let her drag me down, too.
Life wasn’t exactly grand at that time, but I had managed to keep a positive and hopeful outlook…until then. During a time of soul searching, I took my troubles to the Lord and repented for being untrusting of His hand, and even unkind to others.
Some changes needed to be made.
I sent my dear friend a message letting her know how much I loved and appreciated her and everything she meant to our family, but I also laid down some boundaries.
I wish I could say that everything turned out all rainbows and roses, but it didn’t. Sadly, my friend couldn’t understand and the relationship fizzled out.
I still mourn the loss of this friendship.
The Bible has a lot to say about our words.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “The tongue can bring death or life…”
As women, words are many when we are with friends! It is so important that we stay alert to whether those words are life or death.
First of all, are my words bringing life and refreshment to my dear friend and her life’s situations?
Second, are her words watering my soul with truth, hope, and encouragement, or are they dumping dust upon dust?
If you’ve become a dust collector, now is the time to speak up, and set some boundaries. It won’t be easy, and it may not end in roses and rainbows for you, either, but if you want that “greener grass”, you’ve got to pull up the weeds and dig out the dead stuff!
Maybe you tend to lean towards negativity, too. I encourage you to soak in the Word and begin to be infused with the life-giving truth found in the Bible. You can’t stay negative when you begin to have your eyes opened to the goodness of our God and the hope found in His promises!
Then, intentionally situate yourself around others who exude life, who make you feel like a better person simply by being in their presence.
Don’t underestimate this: Words are life and death.
I pray that you would be surrounded by others to whom you can speak life and from whom you can receive life.
Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24)
It’s been nearly a year since we moved into our quaint, 1953 cottage, yet that yard still discourages me most days.
We’ve done work—trust me—we’ve. Done. WORK.
Hours of digging and pulling up and raking and laying mulch. But it’s not quite where we want it, yet.
Strangely enough, just today my husband was commenting on the grass, “There’s more of it than last year.”
Honestly, I hadn’t noticed.
“Maybe it’s because of all the rain,” I retorted.
A lush, green yard needs rain.
Likewise, a spiritually healthy, fruitful life needs rain.
Several times the Bible correlates the Holy Spirit to water. A little watering can could never satisfy an entire yard, and the godliest friend I have could never impart enough truth, encouragement, and hope to keep my life “green.” Friends are important and necessary (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10), but Christ must come first in our relationships. He is the rain that saturates us and brings life.
As moms, our lives are busy, and our time is sparse. I don’t know about you, but I often overspend my hours on the tasks and people in front of me, and before I know it I’m out of currency before I make it to God.
I love the truth of God’s Word. Time after time He reveals that if we give to Him first—our time, our talents, and our treasures—He will multiply that which is left. Time and time again this has proven true in my own life, and yet often I still hold back.
Friend, the most important relationship we can pursue is with our Creator. His very purpose for creating us is so that we would have a relationship with Him. Imagine that! Some days I wonder why anyone would want to hang around me, let alone the Maker of the heavens and the earth!
But the truth is astounding: He wants us to spend time in His presence. He desires to lavish all that He is and all that He has upon us!
We must go to Him first with that bad news.
We must go to Him first with our frustration.
We must go to Him first with our thanksgiving…
And let Him rain down on us hope, grace, and peace.
Today I challenge you to take a hard look at your relationships. Have you been looking to others for the “rain” you need?
No one else can fill the void in your heart.
No one else can impart the amount of hope you need to make it through your impossible situation.
No one else but God.
Have you placed anyone above Him—a friend, a spouse, a parent, or even a child?
God’s way always proves best. Put Him first today and watch your life begin to grow and flourish like never before!
Author: Katie Gibson
They say, “The grass is always greener on the other side”.
Well, in my case, it is. It really is.
Our family just moved and for the first time in my adult life I have a yard. A real, actual yard complete with an array of plant life, all scattered underneath several well-established trees that tower over us, like giants, shielding us from the hot Georgia sun.
Our yard is charming and quirky, and I am giddy in-love with it.
But our neighbor’s yard… challenges me.
Our neighbors, Mike and Janet, are an older couple who keep an immaculate homestead. Not only is their grass greener, but it exists.They actually have grass, while we have dirt and weeds.
Each of their majestic trees are beautifully surrounded by lush, weed-less shrubbery, with hardly a stray leaf in sight. Their house and driveway are freshly pressure-washed and like-new looking in spite of their 1950s origins.
Others might flinch at residing next to A+ homeowners, but I’m thankful, and not because of home value or anything of that sort, but because, their yard challenges me to work on my own.
Not out of jealousy.
Not out of competition.
Out of aspiration.
The more I think about it, I want to live my life with people who have better “yards” than I. In other words,I want to surround myself with friends, mentors and colleagues who challenge me to rise to the occasion, instead of settling for sloppy.
I want positive friends who won’t let me sit around in a rut.
I want mentors who model hard work and Christ-likeness at home and in the workplace.
I want colleagues who are more talented than I, who will give me honest feedback that will help me learn and grow.
I want to be surrounded by greener grass.
Friend, can I tell you something? This doesn’t just happen.
The truth is, if we only ever allow friendships to “happen” organically, we’ll more than likely find ourselves surrounded by others who are just like us.
God created us for community, but we have to be intentional and we have to be wise.
Real, beneficial relationships must be sought out and maintained.
And detrimental relationships must be cut off.
Hard questions must be asked:
Does this person’s life challenge me to work on my own?
Is my life more like Christ’s because of this friendship?
As moms, our lives are busy. Our limited time, energy, and resources mean that we need to be all the more intentional about who we spend them on.
Do you, currently, have people in your life who challenge you to grow in your relationship with the Lord, your husband, and your children? If not, today is the day to sit down and make a list of several women you can reach out to, to begin intentionally growing relationship with.
Or maybe this devotion has brought to mind a particular friend that leads you to settle for a barren and weed-covered life. Friend, while God calls us to love all, it doesn’t mean we need to give first-place to less-than-best. It may be time to have a talk, set some boundaries, or—in some instances—cut off the relationship entirely.
As women who are becoming deeply rooted in Christ, let’s surround ourselves with others who will partner with us to recognize and pull out the weeds of our lives and water us with the Word and with encouragement.
Word of the Day:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.( Proverbs 27:17)
God, thank you for creating me for community. Help me to be wise and intentional about the relationships I pour my heart into. Thank you that as I seek, you are beginning to surround me with others who will challenge me to grow and become more like You. Help me to be wise in all of my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Author: Katie Gibson