For years I didn’t have a tribe.
Saying the word “tribe” makes me feel silly, but I believe it’s one of the strongest things we can do to live free as women.
Years ago, I had built a wall around me. I had friends. I was surrounded by people who loved me and I loved them back, but that wall kept them from getting too close. My wall was carefully hidden, nurtured, and visible only when I wanted it to be.
When I sensed God calling me into ministry, I knew that he was asking me to break down that wall.
So I flew solo for a very long time. I worked hard. I was surrounded by people. I prayed and ministered, but that invisible wall stayed in place. It wasn’t intentional.
It is just who I am — I thought.
It was also isolating. Lonely. Exhausting. And I don’t believe it was ever God’s plan for me.
Breaking down that wall
Today, I can share that my wall has not only crumbled, but it’s gone. It’s one of the strongest steps I have ever taken.
Are there risks? There are.
I met women who have hurt my heart. I’ve had to walk in vulnerability. Breaking down that wall means you see my flaws and strengths and goofiness — the whole me. But it also means that I’m surrounded by women who are just as vulnerable, just as strong, just as human, and just as flawed as me.
It’s absolutely freeing!
When we break down our walls, it helps us see the walls other women have in place. We are free to give them grace to break down their walls too.
How do we break down those walls?
I wish there was a formula, but it’s a process instead. My first step was to ask God to help me chisel away at that wall. Second, to understand that there was risk, but also tremendous gain. Breaking down the walls began with breaking down personal barriers I had come to see as truth.
These were a few of my barriers. Those walls started crumbling as I sensed God asking me to:
- Exchange the belief that walls protects me to understand the truth that they isolate me
- Be myself, which gives others permission to be themselves
- Give grace lavishly
- Move on if someone is unhealthy or abusive, but always in wisdom, discernment, and kindness
- Listen, learn, and expand my understanding of others and their experiences
Why breaking down walls makes us strong
The greatest reason for breaking down walls is that we are free to discover who we are without walls that keep us hemmed in. We are free to cheer on others as they live without walls.
Your tribe may be a handful of women who walk through life with you. It may be a face-to-face group of women or women you meet online who encourage you (and you encourage them) in faith. It may be that women’s group at church or that Bible study that meets in a coffee shop. It might be that you open your home so that others have a safe place to laugh, talk, dig deep in the Word, and grow in faith.
If you are living behind walls, ask God to help you break them down. I’ll cheer you on as you take that spiritual hedge hammer and take the first crack. We’ll cheer each other on as those walls come tumbling down and with God’s help, we are stronger together.
One of my “tribes” is a team of ordinary women at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Twelve years ago I stepped into this team of women to do ministry with them.
It was one of the ways I knew God was breaking down the walls I had constructed.
Some of these women have become my closest friends. We have wept with each other when a child went astray from faith, or a marriage fell apart when you’ve done all you know to do. We’ve laughed until we cried, and wept real tears from a place of sorrow. Our common bond is a desire to watch women grasp the love of God and walk in that freedom.
Today these women at Proverbs 31 Ministries are doing something special with my book, Come With Me Devotional. They are offering it to anyone who gives a gift of any size to help us reach more women through P31.
I work behind the scenes and get to see the heart of this ministry.
Many of us volunteer (I am one of them) as writers to reach over 1 million women with daily encouragement through Encouragement for Today. I watch as women labor to create Bible studies that reach women in several continents, at no cost. I get to see my friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and her heart for women and see how she leads with integrity and wisdom.
And so much more.
If you’ve been looking for a beautiful, hardbound devotional that will help you walk with Jesus 260 days (five days a week) through the year or want to give one to a friend, you can receive this gorgeous devotional AND help Proverbs 31 Ministries reach even more women across the world with a gift of any amount.
Do you need prayer?
If you need prayer today, I have a beautiful tribe of prayer warriors that will gather around you and pray. Just let us know how we can pray. If you don’t have the words, just say, “Pray for me.”