Confession time: I’ve struggled with being an awkward, introverted woman for a long time. Opening my heart to friendship is probably my greatest desire above the protection and provision for my family, but it’s SO hard. It’s hard to be vulnerable.
And if you’ve read my post When God Calls You Out (Read it before you finish this post. It will give you greater context on the following subject matter), you’ll know that it’s hard for me to be comfortable with myself around other women. I’ve made strides in this area of my life, but I still struggle.
The Struggle Is Real
I struggle with self-doubt specifically. I’ve often walked away from what should be fun weekends, events and simple conversations asking myself, “Why am I not good enough to be her friend? What’s wrong with me?”
But if I take a little inventory of this insecurity in the presence of other women, I should note a couple of things. I’m not thinking Kingdom thoughts. I’m letting Satan and his crafty guise of twisting the truth just enough to make me feel like I’m not good enough.
I’m convinced that in God’s economy, we women are better than we think we are. I’m convinced that the awkward things I don’t like about myself are actually the keys to relating to other women. We can recognize our weaknesses and open that door to vulnerability because of a simple truth. The other women we encounter each day feel the exact same way that I do.
So, what’s the solution for a woman who doesn’t really relate well to others (or at least thinks she doesn’t?) It requires putting ourselves out there and asking the Lord to bring friendships that matter into our lives.
We Need Connection
We ladies need sisters so much. Our husbands cannot be our crutch for everything. Not all of us have strong family bonds to lean on. But more than that, the things we are struggling with require us to find a connection to another person who is like us or who has walked before us (Titus 2).
I believe this is how we overcome our struggle with self-doubt and grow our roots of faith – by grafting into other women’s lives. We were designed for relationship with our Savior through other women.
Why We Need a Fight Club
And that’s why I’m proposing that every woman needs a fight club.
We need a group of women who can live out a couple of very powerful scriptures with us.
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20 (NASB)
“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:4-5 (NIV)
We ladies need a place to be real and to find heart help that goes below, “Hey, how are you?” If you’ve ever heard my “How are you?” speech, you’ll understand that I’m fed up with the surface level greeting so often given at church and the cropped-out view we get of friends on Facebook.
We have stuff we need a friend’s help wrestling with. My friend, Lauren, said this on Facebook about a group she gets real with:
“It feels good not to have a Christian facade up anymore. I’m able to talk about my struggles and hangups without feeling criticized or looked down on. Instead, these are people who I confide in, who offer spiritual guidance and who intercede in prayer on our behalf.”
She quotes James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
How to Find a Fight Club
One of the questions I’ve pondered and been asked is “How do you find friends like this?”
The real truth is that you need to pray about it first. I can testify that nothing great comes before real prayer on the matter. When I was struggling in my marriage a couple years ago, my husband started praying for me and told me that I needed to find friendships.
He said, “Put it on the calendar and I’ll watch the kids. But start looking.”
I accidentally started my journey to find a fight club with a book.
In Elizabeth Eliot’s Let Me Be a Woman, I found the essential reason for a married woman to have a fight club:
For some of them [women] it is easy to transfer what they expected of fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers or girlfriends to their unfortunate husbands and this is a burden no man can bear. He stands in a relationship to you which is totally new and unique and it is going to require a measure of maturity for both of you to enter into it. If you succumb to the temptation to expect your husband to fulfill all the roles of all the relationships you have had prior to marriage you will learn that this is asking too much. – Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman (emphasis mine)
Even if you’re not married, you need these relationships. You need a group of women who will fight for you in prayer and walk beside you in this broken world.
Soon after reading this book, I began a search for friendships.
I took the kids to the park, participated in Bible studies, went to story time at the library and went to an evening playgroup. We spent the entire summer last year seeking friendships. We also sought out a church home in our new city.
I liked the church home we chose for our family, but I didn’t find friendships immediately. I realized that it was going to take more than going to stuff to get deeper. I started praying specifically for my place in my church and let go of my expectations of when something would happen.
And you know what? It was a Wednesday night at dinner when I was struggling with my kids’ plates that a real friend walked into my life. She helped me with my kids, asked me to help her at VBS and invited me to a book club.
God really does show up and show out when we ask for what we need and let him into our struggle. (John 14:14 and Psalm 46:1 come to mind here.)
I went to the book club and walked away with a fight club. The name comes from a sweet story about my hubby.
We were riding in the car and I was responding to a question in an app our book club uses to chat. Hubby asked me what I was doing and I said I couldn’t talk about it. Fight club stuff.
This is a reference to the 1999 film Fight Club, where one of the characters lays out the rules. “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you don’t talk about Fight Club.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
And while the movie is dark and weird and not the kind of movie I’d recommend, a personal network of women with whom you can seek wise counsel, fellowship, prayers or a recommendation for a resource like swim lessons or a doctor is worth so much.
My husband understands that this group a private place for me to get advice and friendship he can’t provide. And ladies, let me tell you. This is a incredible asset to your life.
We chat about prayers, books, life and just being a woman. What was just supposed to be a fun night out once a month to chat about a book has become a lifeline for me. These women have walked alongside me in some really hard moments.
Just seeing a “She liked your message” makes me know there’s someone in my corner praying for me or the people dearest to me. I don’t feel alone and am less likely to go to that place of insecurity.
You Need Multiple Fight Club Memberships
I have another fight club of close friends I can text or call when I need to ask for prayers or encouragement. In my case, these are the friends who aren’t in my immediate surroundings. All of these ladies live in other towns and states, but I know they are a text or phone call away.
I think it’s incredibly important to nurture relationships with friends who live far away because you never know when you’re going to need these friends. You never know when they will need you.
I also think it’s important to pour into the friendships and potential friendships in your immediate surroundings. Neighbors, classmates or other moms in your school or homeschool group. There are ladies right out your front door who need friendship.
Fight Clubs Start with Reflection of the Light of the World
We are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16) Jesus commanded us to let our lights shine before others so that they can see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven.
The deeds are not important; it’s the heart behind them. Pouring out your salt and light into others’ lives brings you peace, love and joy. And it builds those connections. It lets us know we are not alone.
As the Peter Scholtes song “They’ll Know We Are Christians” goes:
“We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand. And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Reach out and find a few ladies to fight beside you. If you’re good at this relationship thing, please reach out to someone who may not be. Be vulnerable. Be willing to fight. You’re worth it and so is she.
May God bless you my friends and thank you for reading. I’d appreciate your comments below.