I was the new girl at church and Kourtney, my friend who had invited me, wasn't there that particular Sunday. For a few weeks, I'd met her for service and chatted with her and her friends afterwards, but that day, she wasn't there and I went unnoticed and unspoken to. I felt invisible and odd. I noticed how all the girls in this young adult ministry were engaging each other with hugs and smiles and compliments. I felt like an outsider. I felt invisible.
We each find ourselves in places where we don't quite fit in. No matter how secure you are, these moments can shake anyone's confidence, but celebration- not comparisons- are the key to reversing invisibility.
Compliment Your Sisters, Never Compete
Have you ever been in a room with other women and no one spoke to one another? In your minds, each of you are sizing up the other with internal thought that should really be spoken, out loud. "Her shoes are cute", "She's really pretty", "I love her nails", "I think I might know her from some where".
It's intimidating to speak first, but I have learned that a brave "hello" and a kind word goes a lot further than silent assumptions, mental complements or criticisms. It's important to show others you care and the best way to make any woman feel good is to simply give a sincere compliment.
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act"
Now, this scripture can be used to focus on a million different areas, but I find that, as women, we are sometimes hesitant to compliment each other, even when the compliment is warranted. I think because we feel like by addressing someone else's talent or beauty or achievement, we will be diminishing our own. But that's not the case at all! When we lift each other up, we are lifting the Lord up and He promises to lift us high when we lift Him high!
Envy is Your Real Rival
Though we're all guilty, most of us are too ashamed to admit that we have experienced jealousy of others. It’s difficult to admit that we envy women we also love and it's even worse when we allow our jealousy to flood our hearts to the point where we hold unresolved resentment towards someone who has no inkling of our negative feelings.
Why do we experience this? Well, it's because we simply haven't learned how to celebrate. If truth be told, too many of us position ourselves to compete because this is what we choose to teach ourselves. Education is a combination of practice and performance. So when we choose to watch TV filled with women who curse, scratch and stab each other in the back, we are learning that this is the acceptable way to deal with other women. When we sing songs about being the baddest ******** and we rush to movies and concerts where women "empowerment" is really women "belittlement", well, no wonder some of us struggle with envy and jealousy.
We have to be so careful about who we choose to become our influencers. Loving yourself does not mean hating others and showing unkindness will not make you feel stronger or better. Disliking or dismissing someone because you are unwilling to get to know them is immature and unproductive. This will surely keep us hidden from others, from making impacts and from cultivating relationships.
Jealousy is an ugly woman. Don't give her an invitation into your heart.
Jealousy is a nasty woman, and her presence in your life will only leave you empty, lonely and ugly. Whenever we choose to compete or are engaged in envy, w aren't shining our light. But when we choose to compliment, instead, we will actually begin to shed light on our own wonderful attributes and character.
You’ll feel empowered for empowering others, instead of feeling weighed down by petty thoughts or words.
I have certainly had my share of moments when I should have given a compliment, but held my tongue, instead. I have sat next to girls I thought were gorgeous or accomplished, but never uttered so, and I know first hand the sting of walking into hot gossip- fresh in the air- aimed towards me. Envy and Competition are not characteristics of God's love. If we desire to be women who shine like Christ, we must put away such pettiness and focus on Kingdom work: love, celebration, encouragement and friendship. There are women surrounding you, needing to be seen by you. I promise, when you begin to focus on noticing and acknowledging others, you'll find that you begin to receive the same, in return.
Learn to celebrate others- this intern will open the door for you to receive celebration for yourself!
Each and every opportunity for encouragement can be a blessing for someone who might be going through secret trials or struggles. Everyone needs to feel special and appreciated and a compliment or a positive word, no matter how small, is a guaranteed way to show you care by acknowledging others. Begin complimenting the women you would otherwise feel tempted to compete against. Compliment someone for that quality in her that you desire for yourself.
Celebrate your sisters, and watch your circle grow!
#BeTheShe who celebrates and shines!