Cradling an infant at 23 years old, we were new to town, and I needed friends. BAD. While most of our college buddies were starting careers, getting married, and traveling to fun places, we were knee-deep in caring for a colicky, beautiful, little girl who never slept.
Longing for a place to belong, we settled into a new church community, and within those walls, we found everything we needed – solid preaching, great music, a good children’s program, and lots and lots of newborn babies.
At first our Sunday morning conversations felt awkward, shallow, and forced. Content to just “press through”, we kept attending and trying to reach out. Making friends with a few people, we started to feel more comfortable, but overall, there was an invisible wall between me and some women in the class.
Several months into our daughter’s life, the sleep deprivation gave way to postpartum depression. Feeling like a caged animal in our tiny apartment, I desperately needed some outings, some companionship, and some authentic community. With my husband’s urging, I stepped outside my comfort zone and attended a women’s event one evening.
Walking into the chatter-filled room, I scanned to see if any of my friends were there. Finding a familiar face, I took the seat beside another new mom, eager to share stories about life with little ones. A few sentences into the conversation, she said something I will never forget…
“Sarah, do you want to know why some of us don’t like you in this class?”
Me: (awkward, long pause)…um, yes, I guess I do. *Gulp.*
“Well, it is because you had a baby three months ago and have already lost your baby weight [Side note: I hadn’t]. Some of us in here are still struggling after 9 months, and we don’t like you for it.”
She got up and walked away.
Why do we hurt one another so much? Why do we let petty, insignificant things keep us from experiencing true community? Why do we make judgements, instead of celebrating who God made each of us to be? Why do we use the measuring stick of comparison on those we are called to love most?
Using other people to determine our worth is killing our communities, restricting our impact, stripping us of joy, and, most of all, causing us to forget who we are in Christ.
We are loved (Romans 5:8), chosen (John 15:16), and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). We are forgiven (Hebrews 14:16), justified (Romans 3:24), righteous and redeemed (Colossians 1:22). We are the aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15), and are uniquely designed (Isaiah 64:8). And we are FULLY QUALIFIED (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Our worth is not measured by the size of our clothes, the number of kids in our minivan, how much money we make, or the applause we get online. It isn’t about our ministry numbers exploding, our marital status, or the color of our skin. It isn’t about the spiritual gifts we have received or the number of people we’ve led to Christ.
Our worth lies solely in our citizenship in heaven. In Christ WE ARE ENOUGH.
So let’s make a deal. As a generation of Christians, let’s fight the temptation to compare our bodies, our families, our vocations, our ministries, and our assignments. Instead, let’s make church a safe place, a resting spot, where joys are celebrated and struggles cradled; a place where we call out the gifts and talents in one another, celebrating the obedience and Kingdom-building impact happening in our midst.
Through that edification, our communities will see an unleashing of men and women who know who they are in Christ, and behind them will be an army of believers who remind them when they forget. And the world will be changed for today, tomorrow, and for eternity to come.
And that, my friends, will be a beautiful sight to see.
What is one way your community supports and encourages each other well?