An Ugly Secret About Friendships

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What if the subtle competition we feel around other women disappeared and we were determined to build each other up instead of tearing each other down?

I recently had the opportunity to sit in front of a group of guys at church and share "secrets" of a woman's heart. This experience was a blast because, well, who doesn't want guys to know what is really going on in our hearts, right? What girl doesn't want a guy to know that we just want them to listen to us and not try to fix our problems? Or that we love a guy who can open up and be vulnerable with us.

Just as I knew I had their attention, in a quiet voice—to really make sure they were leaning in and listening—I made this statement:

"When girls are getting ready to go out to an event or a party, we really aren't worried about what the guys will think about our outfits. Nope, we are dressing to impress the other women in the room."

There wasn't a sound in the room. The guys were stunned. I even looked to my friend Rebekah who came along for moral support to confirm that this statement was, in fact, true. With a nod of her head, my girlfriend and I shared a secret about a woman that most men really need to know. Deep down in every girl's heart is some level of insecurity. We desire to measure up to the other women in the room. We desire their approval and affirmation. How often do you walk into a room full of people and think, "Wow, her outfit is adorable and I look frumpy" or "I should have dressed up more because the other girls look amazing"?

Where does this need to measure up come from—this need to feel like we are pretty enough or skinny enough or whatever it is that keeps us locked in insecurity? Sometimes this insecurity manifests into an unspoken competition between women that threatens to rot friendships. Many of us fall victim to the mean girls of our day whose deep-seated jealousy spurs on gossip and icy glances across the room as they size us up as potential competition. Some of us have even been those mean girls ourselves. I dare to say that if a guy rejects us or doesn't give us the time of day it's easier to handle than a fellow female criticizing our hair or well thought-out attire.

Women vs. Women

But what if this competition dissolved in light of our sisterhood in Christ? What if walked into a room full of people determined to build up the other ladies rather than tear them down—even in our mind? I love how 1 Thessalonians 5:11 encourages us as Christians to "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

This concept of building up instead of tearing down (competition) fires me up when I think about new dynamics of female friendships that will form when we see each other in light of a sister rather than a competitor or enemy.

Let's face it, friends—life is tough. The world is full of people who stand (full of their own insecurity) to tear us down. I don't know about you, but I sure do need my sisters around for loving support when life throws drama my way. This starts with a movement among the women around us—an understanding that we love each other's qualities and quirks and that we accept them with open arms. This movement can start with you and me right here, right now as we set the example. What is one way you can build up your sisters today?

  This post was written by Sarah Martin.

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