The first time I met Beth Moore, she was wearing her pajamas, no makeup, and had rollers in her hair. Before you call the police, she had actually invited me to her hotel room.
In the span of just a few minutes, she said a couple things that will always stick with me, and one of those sentences was this:
“Angie, I want you to know I esteem you.”
This isn’t a bragging session about me, I assure you. It is actually quite the opposite, and it comes with a challenge.
Several months later, I heard her speak again at the last ever “Deeper Still” event, and she made a point of discussing the way we are to be praying for one another as sisters in Christ. She had generations of women stand and pray for each other, and to say it was powerful would be the understatement of the year. 8000 women lifted one another up to the Lord and acknowledging the gift that each particular generation was.
I know I can’t do her talk justice here in this short blurb, but the heart of the message pricked my heart so deeply that I have been in constant prayer for other women that are in ministry. As I started to pray, I felt the Lord bring several women to mind and I have started a list of their names. On more than one occasion I realized that they were women that could be seen by the world as “competition” to me.
Hear me say this very clearly, because I don’t want this to be misread.
I don’t think I’m some hotshot who needs to be concerned with keeping up and being on top of the pack. I think it’s quite possible that I will get to see the Lord face to face and I will only be able to stammer, “Why on earth did you ever trust someone like me to do what you allowed me to do?”
It isn’t false humility. It’s knowledge of myself and the complete conviction that I am a beautiful mess of grace and flesh, and it is only by His will that I walk on any platform or plunk out any words for people to read.
And may it always be so.
This week I have been sending personal emails to some of these women (and many, many more are to come!) simply acknowledging that I esteem them, and in my heart recognizing the peace that comes from knowing I have no desire to stake a claim as if it were my own to stake.
It isn’t because of my job that I do this, but because I am a daughter of the King who believed in the power of humility and the impact that submission had on those around Him.
Maybe while you were reading this, several people came to mind. Women from a playgroup, work, Bible study, social interactions…anywhere that there would be the potential for you to feel threatened in your role or insignificant in your own skin.
I firmly believe that Satan gets a major foothold when he convinces us that we have people we need to keep up with, and when that voice in the back of your head whispers, “That promotion should have been yours,” or “If you invite her to this event, everyone will just forget about you.” Maybe even something like, “There’s only room for one, and if you help her up it will leave you in the dust.”
There is no competition, ladies.
There is no little room that only a few can enter.
There are two choices, and the ironic part is that they don’t affect the other person the way they affect you.
Start tonight, and do something bold.
Ask God to humble you and raise others up.
If that last sentence made you bristle, chances are the Lord desires this to be a place that is fully surrendered to Him, and we can assume that this nudge is from the Holy Spirit.
We need to hear encouragement from other sisters in the Lord, and we need to stop believing that these words of affirmation do anything to jeopardize our own standing.
It can be someone you respect, admire, or any other number of things…but before the sun sets on this day, reach out and tell them that they mean something to you, and make a commitment in your heart to pray that God will use them.
I know you all are probably sick of hearing this, but it bears repeating.
I have never felt this competition, temptation to feel envious, or anything similar as a part of the (in)courage team. It is one of the first groups of women I have ever spent time with who genuinely love each other and lift one another up in unselfish, fervent prayer.
I can’t help but wonder what that would look like if it took the world by storm.
That people would say, “Oh, those Christian women…boy do they know how to love one another…”
What do you say? Pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, take a few minutes and do the thing we all gather around to ask the Lord to inspire you to.