Over the weekend I retreated to the Pocono’s in a modern farmhouse lodge to sit by the fire with 6 other women to watch a two day conference to kind of “check myself.” This conference is put together “for women, by women.” It started 5 years ago and already is being live streamed all over the world. It has had big impact and was started by one woman’s vision to create CHANGE. Who wouldn’t want to gather and watch this? Who wouldn’t want to be inspired to create change in the world we live in today? A few months ago I decided that I couldn’t miss it! But as time got closer so did insecurity, fear and Satan.
I started questioning everything. Would I be comfortable with 4 women I didn’t know? Should I come home early with my closest friend who had to go back a day early due to a prior engagement? I mean, “my family needs me too” I reasoned. I kept all these feeling to myself until the night before when my husband and I were lying in bed and he said “so are you excited for your trip?” And then finally my honesty followed…. “I am. But these situations always scare me.” He looked at me perplexed knowing how much of an extrovert I am. I continued, “part of me feels intimidated in these types of situations. I know I’m not a shy person or even someone who feels uncomfortable meeting new people. I actually love meeting new people. But something about other Christian women scares me. I mean, I’ve only known what it’s like to follow Jesus for a little over 3 years now, and these women have done it there whole lives. What if they look at me and think I’m wild or my story is too much for them?”
Can you believe this was how I was feeling? The girl who openly calls herself “flawed and broken” week after week for anyone to read on the WWW?
But I did. And I often have. I’ve looked at others, Christian or not, and thought, “if only I could have it all together like them. They probably cook dinner every night, have the laundry done and folded daily, work out every single day without missing, eat salads at every meal, have the best kids and husbands that never fight or raise their voices. They have probably never drank too much or have said or done anything embarrassing.” Does any of this resonate with you too? If so you’ll be happy to continue reading…
After I told my husband my true feelings he responded with some encouragement and said “Jill, everyone, including Christians, have fallen off the path. They each have their own stories they aren’t proud of. No one has it all together. We are all broken.” So the next morning I woke up with a little more confidence and decided I’d go on this trip, with head held high knowing who I am because of WHOSE I am. And that’s when God went to work on me.
I thought my big revelations of the weekend would come by watching all these awesome women speak at this conference. But it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, God definitely spoke to me as I watched. But my BIG change came by getting to know the 4 women that I actually feared at first. As the weekend went on I found out each of their stories little by little. I got to witness their brokenness. I saw that though their stories were all different then mine, their struggle was not. God practically flicked me in the head saying “they are Christians, not perfect beings. They believe I died for their SIN, the very thing you think they don’t do! Even though these women have believed in me and have known me their whole lives, sin gets them down too!”
I don’t know why I thought for even a second that being Christian meant being “better than” or “blameless.” I don’t know why I felt intimidated by another human who has their own “things” that they deal with. Do you scroll through Instagram believing because a person’s pictures are better than yours that their life actually is? I’d be willing to bet if you really knew them, that the shiny would wear off and you’d see that we are all in this messy world together. We are all doing the best we can with what we know how to do.
After I left Sunday, I left knowing a few things. We looked a little different from each other, our financial situations were all a little different, our families and interests varied, but when we sat at that table in the mornings with our coffee and sharing our hearts, we were all the same. We hurt, we cry, we fear and parts of our lives were messy. But most of all I realized we all needed Jesus just as much as the next. No one’s got it all together but together with Jesus we can have it all.