Us, Not Me
by Angie Smith
The first time I met author and speaker Beth Moore, she was wearing her pajamas, she had on no makeup, and she 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 of things that will always stick with me, and one of those was this sentence:
“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 for us all. Several months later, I heard her speak at an event where 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 it was unbelievably powerful. Eight thousand women lifted one another up to the Lord and acknowledged the gift that each particular generation was.
The heart of her message pricked my heart so deeply that it has defined the way I pray for women in ministry. As I started to pray after the message, 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 who 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 when I get to see the Lord face-to-face 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?” That isn’t false humility; it is knowledge of myself and the complete conviction that I am a beautiful mess of grace and flesh. 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.
In my heart I recognize 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 the ministry to which God has called me that I do this, but because I am a daughter of the King who believed in the power of humility and the impact His submission had on those around Him.
Maybe while you were reading this, several people came to mind, like women from a playgroup, work, Bible study, social interactions, or anywhere else there would be the potential for you to feel threatened in your role or insignificant in your own skin. I firmly believe Satan gets a major foothold when he convinces us that we have people we need to keep up with, 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,” or 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 right now, 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 they need to hear them from us. 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 that person that she means something to you, and make a commitment in your heart to pray that God will use her.
I can’t help but wonder what it would look like if this became a habit among Christian women and it took the world by storm. Wouldn’t it be great if people would say, “Oh, those Christian women, boy do they know how to love one another!”?
What do you say? Pen in your hand or fingers on the keyboard, take a few minutes and do the thing I’m asking the Lord to inspire you to.
Show everyone what true, Jesus-filled love looks like. Who knows? It might catch on.
From Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole