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.
Amy Hunt says
*Those voices* still do creep up, and you’re right, Angie–we have a choice to honor God in the way we love on others, and encouraging them without thinking of ourselves first is worship. I want to be the person who thinks of others first, and not what thinking of them might mean to me because if God placed them in my life it surely isn’t to harm me. I learn so much from people who Satan tries to get me to think are threats. Your post is such a good reminder of Truth, and I appreciate reading it today.
Rich blessings, Angie, as you (in)courage through parenting those lil’ ones…
thank you for this challenge. it goes straight to my heart, and encourages me to take the next step. God bless you.
Robin Dance says
This…THIS…is a beautiful bowl of encouragement, Angie! Good gravy I hear your heart and admonition, and for those who read this early in their day (like me 🙂 ), it has the power to set course.
And I have to smile–the ONLY time I’ve met Beth I was atypically quiet because I WANTED to gush, and when I did speak I don’t think any two words made a bit of sense.
Her encouragement to you was soul affirming and good. It reaches beyond you and blesses me!
Lisa H says
I can’t think of people who I feel I need to get ahead of or anything like that but I can think of many people/women whom I admire! I thank God for putting them in my life frequently, not daily like I should. I have sent letters to them thanking them for being in my life and for supporting, encouraging, guiding and teaching me. It may be time to do that again though!
Ohhh, I love Beth Moore also. I would love to meet her and thank her also for being a wonderful mouthpiece for God! I realize she is just another broken woman that loves Jesus whole heartedly and he is using her to do wonderful work for him!
Oh Angie. I needed this today. I was just thinking about this this very morning, how there are people that I sometimes worry about keeping up with, and all the while God keeps reminding me HE’s all I need to be concerned with… Thank you for this, all for His glory!
Oh yes. To think of others as more important and to be interested in the things they are and to pray and encourage one another on a daily basis. It is what keeps us going….God uses US to spur one another on. We help keep each other going by esteeming one another. We shouldn’t worry about our own needs, because as we help meet that need in others, God will meet that need in us as well.
Thank you Angie!
Thank you for this reminder- it is exactly what I needed to read before heading to work today. You have allowed Him to speak through you…and I am really thankful!
Praying that God will continue to use you in such a beautiful way!
i.love.this. i have struggled all of my life with believing i need to be the best at….soemthing. if i couldn’t be the best dressesd, i would be the smartest. if i couldn’t be the best teacher, then i would be the thinnest. the lord has led me to freedom down some terrifying and unexpected paths, but i trusted. because i had to . and what joy has followed. unspeakable joy! and now, you add the next step. those women with whom i believed i was competing? pray.for.them. and let them know it. yes. and amen.
LOVE this encouraging post! I have often seen Christ’s body of women ‘eat each other’ instead of love each other. If each one of us reached out today to ‘esteem’ one other sister….it would rock the world!
THANKS…I commit to do my part!
Yes! What an encouraging post for this self-inflicted competitor! I’m sure I need to take this to heart and start praying for the women in my life, whether face to face or online, that intimidate me, make me feel “less than”, by no fault of theirs, might I add!
Patricia (Pollywog Creek) says
Beautiful. Just beautiful, Angie. There is amazing freedom and joy in being able to encourage and pray for other women who have the same gifts and callings that we do and might seem to be in “competition” with us. I recently watched a friend become so paralyzed with jealousy and bitterness when another women received recognition and accolades for something that my friend wished she had received, that she couldn’t attend a worship service with this other woman.
My closest friends will confirm that I’ve thought much about encouragement this last year after I received eye-opening comments (that might have been meant to be encouraging, but were anything but) during a health crisis that made it almost impossible for me to get out of bed in the morning. During that same time, I received an unusually harsh writing critique, and I realized then that most of us do not know how to encourage well….and I prayed for the Lord to sow that deeply into my heart and life….to teach me more about how to love and encourage others.
So thank you for writing this beautiful post. I esteem you, too, Angie. You are an amazing and beautiful gift to the body of Christ….may the Lord bring you more and more opportunities to minister to the hearts of His people.
Kristen Strong says
Angie, *this* is beautiful, set-us-free encouragement! I don’t want to give Satan an inch of ground because my eyes are looking at other people instead of steadied on our Lord.
And may I say I esteem you, too? You are delight!
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
“There is no competition.” Simple words, but such a hard truth to remember. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement and reminder, Angie!
Angie, you are so right about that moment at the conference. It was truly awe inspiring to pray for other generations and to be prayed for by the others. The “no competition” clause is one I need reminding of. I tend to be of the mind-set that if I can’t be the best then I won’t play. But I know that can’t be how we view God’s Kingdom work. I have had to remind myself to run my own race and not look around to see where the others are running. Without comparison there isn’t competition.
Beautifully written … thank you for these thoughts that I will take with me today, and in future days. Our focus … first Jesus, and then loving others, encouraging them, praying for them.
I was there when she taught on that too. It was amazing. I think it’s a phenomonal bit of advice. Long ago I was teaching a women’s Sunday School class in our church (my hubby was the pastor) and one of the members confessed to me that she resented me for being the teacher of the group because I was younger than her. She told me that she was so sorry and that God had used me to teach her more than SS. She realized that even though I was younger….I was genuine, Godly and doing just what I was supposed to be doing. It was confusing for my heart (at the time). I didn’t know if I should be insulted or encouraged.
Now–I choose to take it as a compliment. Sadly, I realize that as women we are competitive. Even in Bible Study. 🙁
I just participated in Beth Moore’s Breaking Free with a Bible study group I joined this fall.
I learned from the DVD’s, the book and the women I participated with. I love her intensity and the pure joy she shows in her belief in Christ. I was a newcomer to the group that have been meeting together for a long time, they were very gracious to me as a newbie. On the outside their lives looked perfect better than mine, then as time went on I learned they had trials and pain in their lives too. I am still learning to break free from my bondage and I am so thankful that bible study group accepted me as I am. They genuinely enjoyed me being there, no greater compliment. I am so glad I found all you women here also, I am not alone in my journey. God Bless us indeed.
I appreciated this blog post.
I desire to write devotions on a blog, but I fear that I am not as good as you or other bloggers. I just want to share words, Words of God with others. I want to share things that Jesus shows me.
I do not want to ever try to be like someone else, I do not want to be jealous, I want to be Happy for others.
I have been there! Where I feel left out or little. I have asked God to help me pray for others and be joyful that they serve and do well. For God to help me not to envy or to want to do any service just for a pat on the back or for attention.
So pray for me to know His will, and do it, no matter what.
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
Praying for you right now, beautiful Debbie….
Taking Heart says
Beautfully stated. I feel called to lift women up every day… and I do it well… when i’m not failing miserably.
Thank you for this post!
Wow! This blog grabbed my heart. I’m a busy single Mom of 4 amazing kids and work full time outside the home. My heart’s desire has always been to give Him the glory and praise daily, no matter where I am in the current storm (entering, middle or just come through). Thanks for being so straight forward and shooting from the hip. I needed to be “ESTEEMED” today and this blog has definitely touched me deeply.
What a wonderful, freeing message! I will definitely be sharing this idea with others.
Rhonda J. Smith says
This message was so the bomb! Thank you. My nature is to be an encourager, but there are those times the enemy creeps in and tries to get me to see another gifted sister as competition instead of as another weapon in God’s arsenal. He has challenged me to esteem some gifted women lately. What joy I felt when I pressed Send. Thank you for your encouragement and challenge.
Ooooh, I loved this! It’s such a timely reminder for me right now. I have a few things looming on the horizon, but can often talk myself down with this limited mindset of not being good enough, or as good as _____________. This negative view of self also stops me from dreaming big for myself and possibly moving ahead.
Your post reminded me once again that the ground is level, even at the foot of the cross. Jesus doesn’t compare me with others–why am I wasting my time comparing myself to others. I’m also reminded of John the Baptist and how he recognized his role in ministry. He wasn’t to be a widely recognized, highly publicized leader. Rather, his role was to point others to Jesus and he gladly stepped back once Jesus came on the scene.
Thank you for your post! I will be sharing it with many friends today 🙂
So many times I have wondered how God can possibly use me when there are already so many talented writers out there, like _____ ,and ____ ,and _____, who says what I could never say in a way that I could never say it. Comparisons. Comparisons. Comparisons. Thank you for reminding me that I am called not to compare, but to obey and to LOVE. This was truly powerful. Thank you.
Deanne MacBurnie says
Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I am going to make a list and start letting the women I know, and even the ones that I’ve never met but have read their stuff and they may not know me, how much they are a blessing to me and others.
This is something I struggle with MAJORLY. Particularly in working in youth ministry. That may sound silly but good gracious this spoke to me. Thinking of ways I can let other women who I’ve always seen as competition know that I’m praying for their ministries to shine. This makes Philippians 2:3 much easier to understand. It’s that verse in action.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Angie! As a younger mom and a youth minister’s wife, I’m ashamed to say that I struggle in this area too. Whenever the temptation arises to be jealous of someone or become bitter in a situation, I need to remember to ask God to humble me and raise others up. Thanks again for sharing your heart.
Stef Layton says
beautiful !! I manage an online community – and you’d think there were vipers out there how quickly they want to stomp on anything we try and purposefully try to play the competitive part. Even trying to sway their friends not to read our posts. Its sad – and can be so ugly. Thank you for reminding me I do not have to try to keep up – that God has a plan for all of us and desires love most of all.
(seriously, beth moore w/o hair & make up !)
I think the voice I hear is telling me that I’m not worthy enough to even get up there with those other women. That voice is not from God. We each have a story to tell in His kingdom. I love the idea of just writing down names that come to you as you pray and then contacting them. I watched how it touched my mother’s heart to get notes from women that she had ministered to (without even knowing it).
Such a beautiful post. So true, and so challenging. We women need to be challenged like this. So many times our insecurities (or MY insecurities, at least!) get in the way of unity with my sisters and being an encouragement. Satan comes to divide, but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is unity! May I fight against deception, competition, and be Spirit led! Thank you for this, I needed it. 🙂
Esteem | Moonlight & Sunbeams says
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Nancy Jensen says
If women spent half as much time lifting each other up as we spend clawing at each other we could change the world.
Thank you for this is a beautiful bit of encouragement today.
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Yeah, I struggle with that feeling of ‘competition’…but it takes ahold of me and I just wanna give up. When I read all these rockstar bloggers and think “little ol’ me, to write…?” – I get to feeling so inadequate. Funny tho – what you’re saying – if I would just swallow that insecurity-camouflaged-pride, and reach out to ‘esteem’ those women I look up to, maybe all my worries would be eclipsed by the joy of loving, giving, serving.
I think I get it. Just maybe a little? Yeah, I think I do!
Oh – and while I’ve got your ‘ear’ –
I really, really appreciate your words of encouragement in my life. You are highly esteemed, greatly valued, and you’ve helped change this woman’s life!
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
“Ask God to humble you and raise others up.”
This. Fervently praying just this.
Thank you, very highly esteemed sister 🙂 God uses you, friend…
I’m not going to lie, I had to go look-up the definition of the word “esteem” at Merriam Webster.com 🙂 Although, picking up the phone or Pen to esteem my sister might be uncomfortable at first; i push thru the butterflies and build-up instead of break-down.
Prayers for us all as we reach out, and reach them.
Jennifer Jones says
I was one of those 8000 who was privileged to be there. Thank you for sharing the beautiful message of encouragement we received. Thank you for allowing God to use your life to be a messenger for his word. You’ve been an inspiration for me.
In this world full of trying to get to the top, may we remember to grab the hands of our sisters and take them with us instead of stepping on them to reach the next level.
Wow Angie, as always, what a beautiful post. How important it is to build each other up! We aren’t competing; we’re here to support each other. Thanks for the reminder!
Amanda K says
Angie, that was beautifully written and something that I have struggled with from time to time. What a great reminder your post was to me!
Having read your blog from start to finish, I know that you live in this way and I think it is the reason you are so admired and loved. Thank you for being a great example of humility.
Thanks so much, Angie! As someone who has always struggled with what people think, and being a youth pastor’s wife, there is always those old “junior high” feelings of competition or jealousy that can tend to creep back in. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about me. Praying for others is one of the best ways to conquer those sinful, fleshly feelings! The love that develops for my sisters in Christ is such a blessing – thanks for the reminder.
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[…] Esteem by Angie from (In)courage, a quote: 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. […]
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