Hope y’all are doing good. Sorry for my absence over the weekend; like I’ve mentioned before, my weekends are always busier mostly because of preparations for Sunday’s service and trying to spend quality time with the parents. We went to the movies and saw Flight. I was put off by the nudity and swearing in the movie especially because it was unnecessary but other than that, it was refreshing to see Denzel depart from his usual macho “I’m a tough, problem solving, got my act together (for the most part) kinda guy” type roles that he tends to lean towards. Service today was great; wasn’t at TPH today because I was asked to sing with TWB’s worship team. That in itself is for another post but it showed me that when God gives a word, He confirms it. KK…..before I get into what’s on my heart today, I just want to say a huge congrats to the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their win at AFCON. I will admit that I had no faith in the team (they’ve broken my heart too many times) so I was in no way interested in their performance but they proved me wrong. Well done guys :-D.
Alrighty then. So I went out to lunch with some of my girlfriends after church yesterday at Olivia’s Cafe in Lekki Phase 1. The food was alright and the cupcake I had was particularly nice. Anyways I digress (in case you don’t know, I’m quite the food lover). We all know that when girls get together, the topics of conversation are pretty much always the same; boys, relationships (marriage has also started making its way in), clothes, hair, food, etc. Diets may also find their way in but it depends on the group of girls you’re with. There were four of us and two of us are engaged so the conversation naturally went to wedding planning (I’m the CBM for a friend’s wedding, tres exciting) and how to go about crowd control at weddings (which can be a serious issue at Lagos weddings). We also talked about marriage itself and what the pitfalls seem to be especially in situations where people marry to meet society’s expectations; the feelings that a bride may go through when she married for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time and what happens when the euphoria of being a newlywed goes away (while the reality of being a wife and sharing your life with another flawed human being kicks in). Again, this is a topic for another post; what struck me about our conversation yesterday was when we talked about how we treat each other as women. This is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a while and one of my girlfriends hit the nail on the head about this issue. To summarize, she said “we women are not honest with each other at all”.
Before I get into this fully, I will say that God has blessed me with two things in the area of my girlfriends; one, He has given me the best girlfriends ever and two, the ability to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are and who God is building them up to be. These two blessings go hand in hand; in order for you to enjoy and be happy for the people around you, you need to have a certain level of security in who you are (again, a post for another day) That being said, there was a time in my life (when I was much younger) that I didn’t have these things in check and though I know I had a part to play in that situation because I was very insecure, I also believe that I the problem was not all me. It’s clearer to me now that most of the people I hung out with at that time were so concerned with ensuring that other girls thought they had their whole lives figured out and they had the manual on how to live this life successfully. It seemed that their perception of their worth was measured by the level of jealousy they could garner from other girls. I know this happens mostly in high school and would love to put it down to childishness and immaturity but it seems that we carry this on to a certain extent into our adult lives and it’s more subtle, yet it’s way more dangerous.
I believe that as women or girls, we owe it to ourselves to be honest to each other and not put out false images of ourselves. It’s only very recently that I stopped comparing myself to other people and became comfortable with who I am. That’s a blessing that comes from my relationship with God and that fact that my identity rests in who He is. However, there are many other women (both young and old) who do not have the revelation of this truth in their lives. There’s always someone (they believe) who’s better than them; skinnier, has a more defined figure, got married earlier, has a better job, has better behaved children, is a more organized mother, has a better looking and more successful husband, etc. Then you have this carrying over into the younger generations. Mothers who never sorted out their self-image issues raise daughters who become obsessed with how they look or how people perceive them and sons who only look at superficial things when looking for their mates. This problem is serious people and I believe that one way we can address it is by being honest with each other as females and looking out for each other whether or not we are friends or complete strangers.
Imagine a world where every single woman behaves like they she is part of a sisterhood where women are honest with each other (with boundaries in place of course; there’s no need to walk up to some random woman you don’t know and tell her inappropriate things. That’s just awkward. No TMI please) and they interact with each other from a place of love. The number of cases of emotional insecurity would take a nose-dive. I accept that there are cases where self-esteem issues are so deep that it takes a conscious effort for the individual in question to change how they see themselves and the world (meaning that no matter how many times you tell a lady the truth about your struggles, she still thinks that she’s worse than everyone else). For the most part though, low self-esteem is perpetuated by other women who make themselves out to be what they’re not so that people can envy them (which in itself is a type of low self-esteem. If you’re really comfortable with who you are, you won;t go out of your way to make sure someone envies you). If we women had each other’s backs, we would be as honest about or struggles and failures as we are about the easy stuff and our successes. We would be comfortable with each other and be able to say “she is my sister and regards me with love, I can be honest with her without fear of judgement”. If we know that we are not the only ones struggling through this thing called life, we would not set impossibly high and unattainable targets for ourselves and proceed to beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them. We could encourage each other about body-image issues, man issues (which I will come back to later), work issues, children issues, etc.
Now I need to stress that there is a difference between being honest and being falsely nice. If you have a friend who clearly needs to lose some weight, don’t lie to her and tell her she’s okay if that’s not how you honestly feel. Tell her the truth but tell her in love. When you see that she’s trying to make an effort in that department, make sure to encourage her. I have been in the same situation and I thank God for my girlfriends who encouraged me as I tried to lose weight. For the married ladies with children, if your friend is finding it hard being a home-maker or being productive at home and in the office at the same time, encourage her. Please DO NOT go on some diatribe about how your kids continue to take top positions in their academics and you just got a job promotion, oh and your husband commented last night that the stew you made for dinner was your best yet. TACT PLEASE!!!!!!! You know that you were not able to do all this without batting an eyelid and even if you have convinced yourself that you did this effortlessly (I don’t believe you actually did), keep it to yourself and understand that it’s about the other woman at the time, not you.
The one area where we women are dishonest with ourselves to our own detriment is that of men. Now, I’m not saying that you should go about sharing all your business with people if you’re not comfortable (yes, it’s okay to have personal boundaries with you girlfriends. I believe there are certain things that should stay between a husband and a wife.) but please don’t intentionally make them think that you have it all together when you don’t. You know your husband or boyfriend is cheating on you but you want the people around you to think that you have everything together. When they eventually find out that you don’t (because the truth always comes out), they will not want to be there for you because you rubbed them the wrong way when you were constantly throwing your “perfection” in their faces. You know that man is married or engaged or whatever and that you should not be entertaining his advances much less making advances of your own. Can you please stop whatever it is you’re doing. Imagine a world where women did not entertain “randoms” (as Heather Lindsey called them) of the married/engaged/involved/generally useless kind. That way, we set a standard for how we want to be treated and create conditions that encourage men to step up their game (especially in the faithfulness department) and behave properly. I’ve heard several stories where women have said that they don’t think it’s possible for men to be faithful to their spouses. Well, if you have already set a standard where they’re allowed to cheat then cheat they will. If they understand that the consequences of stepping in that direction are more than they can afford, then they will behave. If they also know that the options available if they step out are in no way appetizing, they will stay where they are and find ways to make the marriage work (and this is where looking out for a sister by not doing inappropriate things with her husband comes in).
I will digress a little and talk about dysfunctional relationships. I know that what I’ve discussed today may not be easy to consider because a lot of women are in less than idyllic situations and are trying their best to make what they have work. Maybe you’re married and when you were dating your husband, you didn’t really set a good standard for how you ought to be treated and now he’s cheating on you and/or does not treat you with respect. I want you to know that God sees you and knows where you are so instead of trying to work things out in you own strength, turn to God and let Him work in you. I know this sounds like a very cliché statement to make but I honestly believe, and have heard testimonies from long married women, that God can do the impossible, renew a marriage and restore what has been broken or lost. Don’t look to God to fix your spouse, look to God to fix you. To the ladies in bad relationships, please get out and allow God to sort you out. God will never bless your mess (as Michelle Hammond says) so stop asking Him to get this guy to propose to you when you know he’s no good. Get out of it, find who you are in God and allow Him to join with you with the wonderful man He created just for you.
Back to the topic; if there’s one thing I want us to take away from what I have discussed today, it’s the need to surround ourselves with fantastic girlfriends and set a good example when it comes to how we treat our fellow women. I was outside Shoprite at the Palms about a week ago and a lady walked towards me and said “You look absolutely beautiful”. I was so surprised because that never happens but imagine if we encouraged each other that way (by the way, I did say thank you to the lady so you don’t think I’m rude ;-)). If I had been in a bad mood at the time, that would have done a good job of cheering me up. Let’s lift each other up and be our biggest supporters. Let’s have each other’s backs and always look out for each other.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] dwell together in unity”- Psalm 133:1
Also, please note that I am not saying that men in general are the enemy; contrary to popular opinion, I do believe that there are is a significant number of good, stand-up guys out there (YES! Even those of the Nigerian variety). My point is we should stop focusing on men and making them out to be the only problem; we should look to ourselves and find out how we can demand better. We hold the key to the solutions to these problems ladies, let’s start using them.
That’s it for me people. As usual, I hope this speaks to someone and please leave any questions or comments and I’ll get back to you.
Have a lovely week,