While I never intended to write a Part 2 to SOUL CLICK CHICK, so much more happened in my heart as I wrote the first one. And some of you have written such sweet words about how I articulated some things you had been feeling for quite some time. Thank you for sharing with me. I’m so thankful for girl world, the place where we help each other realize what we’re feeling and move forward in God together closer than we were before.
Maybe this will be impacting for you but maybe it’s just therapeutic for me. And that’s okay too.
I title Part 2 Survival Mode.
For the last 6 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with women in poverty in SE Asia. It’s a work I don’t take for granted and feel SO HONORED to be a part of. These ladies are some of my favorite people in the whole world! When I first met them and their families and assessed their desperate situations for basic human needs, my team and I used the term “Survival Mode.” Their world was about working hard labor jobs to earn barely enough money to feed their children. The future for them was trying to live one day at a time among harsh conditions of poverty. It was all about your own family’s survival rather than pulling for each other.
Survival Mode = living one day at a time, inability to see a preferred future, dog eat dog world, just making it
Thankfully, over the years God has done a miraculous work among this community of women! Their bravery, hard work and willingness to accept the truth about who Jesus is and who THEY are because of him has transformed them to grow out of survival mode.
More on that another time!
The term Survival Mode came to my mind in the church girl culture conversation because something happened to me at church that brought about a survival mode kind of behavior and I wonder if you’ve found yourself responding similarly to your hurt.
I was so excited for the new ministry opportunity that had presented itself to my husband and I. I respected, honored and looked up to the leadership tremendously!
One evening the leaders of the church were together and my husband and I received a prophetic word. The only prophetic word that was given in front of the group that evening; a group I didn’t know very well but was excited to know in the years to come. Part of the prophetic word was just for me, given by a woman leader in the church. I’ll never forget that word as she singled me out from my husband.
It was unforgettable not because of its edification but because of its harshness. I mean like, rip my heart out, destroy my dreams and passions kind of harshness. In fact, I started crying in the middle of the word before she was even finished, leading those around me to believe God’s spirit was really touching me…..but I was actually destroyed. I felt humiliated in front of a group of people I was hoping to get to know and be accepted by AND I was devastated because it was a prophetic word so it must be true about me, right? It must be what God thinks.
I had learned growing up and even in my own Biblical study that the prophetic is for the edification of the body of believers. These words are often encouraging, life-giving, foretelling and connect individuals to God’s purpose for their lives in an even greater way. I even believe sometimes there can be a word of correction if given in love and again, for the purpose of edification.
This wasn’t even a word of correction. I WISH! I CAN TAKE CORRECTION! No. This word, dare I say, was a word of lies that caused for the next few years of my life, confusion, self-doubt, discouragement and many many many tears of sadness, anger and struggle.
In fact, the days leading up to being an ordained Pastor, these crushing words came back to me and I fought with God’s TRUTH the lies that whispered to me that I wasn’t good enough to be a church planter, a pastor, a co-founder of a company, a mother, a humanitarian…on and on and on because a church leader, who I thought heard directly from God on my behalf spoke over me words that hurt me to the core.
Did you know that the enemy can use Christian people to advance his plans for destruction in your life? The Bible actually says Satan prowls around us ready to steal, kill and destroy us. Using a Christian leader to bring such harsh lies about myself and God’s view of me is the epidemy of an enemy that prowls. He used someone I respected, a wolf in sheep’s skin so to speak.
Thankfully, I grew up with parents and a church that taught me that not all prophetic words are true. They reminded me that the scriptures say, we prophesy in part. That it’s important to always take words your receive to the WORD of GOD and make sure they line up with the scriptures.
In the days and years to come, unrelated to my experience, I watched this leader in ministry and decided she was not someone I would allow myself to be influenced by. Who you allow to influence you is extremely important.
There was no safe person to process this with me in my church context at the time. I responded to this ugly prophetic word by behaving insecurely at times, putting on a happy face but really hurting inside, confused about whether this place was good or bad, living one day at a time, just trying to make it through. My guard was up, my walls were high and thick and it resulted in me burying my true spirit, who I was, and what I was capable of.
On my own.
My struggle in the darkness.
My happy church mask on.
Eventually, I became angry. And decided church girls were not a place for me. Not that I was better or too good for them, but I believed I would need to protect myself from them, especially women in church leadership, pastors, people who give prophetic words, certain “super spiritual” girls.
I was coming to unhealthy conclusions.
You know what hurting people do?
They hurt others.
I knew that if I didn’t let God touch this place in my heart and my unhealthy thoughts about church girls, I would become the kind of church girl that hurt others.
So I dealt with what happened (another story for another time that involved a trip to New York City!) and I bravely chose to believe the truth. The truth that church girl culture doesn’t have to be what I experienced. The truth that I am empowered to create something different and better and beautiful with my influence.
In fact, now standing on the side of being a church leader and pastor myself, I pray often that Jesus would be with me and with those that I hurt. Because I’m not perfect and while it kills me to accept it, I will hurt others. And there will be girls who write blogs about what I as their woman pastor said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do that broke their hearts.
It’s important for our healthy church girl cultures to be healed from girl pain, pain we caused each other in the name of spirituality.
It’s important to consider what it’s like being in the other girl’s shoes. Some days I thought this church leader who spoke those words over me must’ve been out to get me or just didn’t like me. And other days I think maybe that’s really what she thought she heard. Either way, my truth came. And it meant letting this prophetic word fall to the ground. If only I would’ve done that years ago!
It’s important that we see each other’s sameness. Something I preached on a couple weeks ago. The lines we see that make us better or worse than another girl at church simply aren’t as strong as we believe. They are human. They are girl. And they, like you, have inherent value.
It’s important for our healthy church girl cultures to pull for each other and not merely survive on our own. We have to take our heartache to the person who caused it, sharing in love that they hurt us, forgiving them and not shying away from awkward conversations that really have the power to bring us closer together.
Don’t let your unhealed wounds and offense hide under your attempts at having a right relationship with Jesus only to find yourself hurting another sister the way you were once hurt.
Do you know a girl in church in survival mode? Is she covering it up so well you can’t tell?
Our church girl cultures are about to be filled with light! With love for each other and a true sense of authentic care for one another.
Obi and his pal Linda 🙂