One of the things that all of us crave is a sense of belonging. We all crave this feeling that we are a part of something special, that we are wanted and needed, that we fit in, that we are invited, welcomed and that there is someone or some group that truly misses us when we are away. Feeling like we belong is a very natural and normal feeling. When we become mothers and when we balance being a mother with working outside the home, often times the need for belonging becomes even more difficult to meet and fulfill. Why is this so? Our society and social media, even in our churches– everywhere we go, we see groups of women who are labeled. We have stay-at-home moms, we have working moms, we have homeschooling moms, we have breast-feeding moms, we have moms who cook organic food, we have moms who connect because they have things in common. We also have Moms who connect because they have skills and passion in common. And at the root of all of these things, is a desire to simply find a place where we belong.
Comparison kills. Envy and jealousy destroy. I would be a liar to say that I’ve never felt jealousy or envy in any of my female relationships because the truth is – I have. But I am learning to defeat them. There is nothing that kills a friendship more than jealousy, envy and comparison.
We all have those moments where we compare. And when we compare with others – we rob them of the joy that could be found when we celebrate who they are, what God is doing in their life, and how they are using their skills and abilities to bless others. We also rob ourselves.
In the book study – We Saved You a Seat: Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships by Lisa Jo Baker, I am reading chapter 3 which is all about encouragement. I’m blown away at what I’m learning. Lisa- Jo talks about how encouragement is the “antidote to envy”. Let that sink in and then put it into practice! Man is she on point!!
When it all comes down to it, we must understand and know that we belong because of who Jesus is and because of what He did for us on the cross. We must understand that we belong to him. We must find our satisfaction and our security in him. We must love him and love our relationship with him more than we love anything else. Jesus has already proven that he is worthy of all of our affection. The truth is that we live in a fallen world and that we are sinners- relationships are tricky and messy. Most of the time, we don’t even realize we are comparing and envying others. It just happens, our hearts are deceitful. The truth is that we need each other and we need to be in community – so the solution cannot be to hide away from others and isolate ourselves. We need to press into this friendship thing.
I have a group of women that are part of a ladies Bible study at my church. I will tell you that I feel I belong to and with these women. They are from all walks of life. We have stay-at-home moms, working moms, moms with little children, moms with children in college, grandmothers, widows, women of all sorts, in various seasons, with various stories and I will tell you that it was not until I learned how to be myself within this community of loving women, that I was truly able to grow in my relationship with God and live out my calling as I am able to do now.
It doesn’t matter if you work outside the home. It doesn’t matter if you stay at home. What matters is having a heart to love the woman that the Lord has placed in your path right where she is, right as she is and to love her as unto the Lord. God has a calling on every woman’s life and our job is to help the women around us to fulfill the calling that God has on their life. It’s not about us. It’s always about God and others. And we will find that our needs are met as we put others first.
My prayer for you today is that if you are feeling lonely and isolated, you will choose to take that first step towards a friend, a coworker, a stranger, that woman sitting next to you on the bus, the neighbor that you haven’t spoken to in a long time, that friend from high school and you’ve been wanting to reconnect with. Instead of focusing on what you want others to do for you when it comes to friendships, focus on how you can bless someone else. When you do this – you will find that you truly do belong.