To be honest, the ladies luncheon was not something I was particularly excited for. I remember seeing the announcement on our church’s social media platforms and thinking, “Oh that would be nice for the sister’s in our church”. Why didn’t I think that to include myself in that event? Good question…The short answer is, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to handle being in a room full of women.
I should explain…
All my life, I never had a group of girlfriends I was able to associate myself with. Sure, in elementary school, you have best friends who are usually the same gender because “boys have cooties”. But, growing up and going into middle school and high school, my group of friends were always changing. I always found myself getting along better with guys, and then feeling like I was putting up a façade when talking with girls. Am I being girly enough? Should I be more like them giving hugs every which way, laughing at everything? Should I start dressing prettier?
Then, in my later years in high school, I got into a relationship. Now my head was filled with young love, high-in-the-clouds thoughts that this guy was all I needed. I don’t have friends? Well, at least this relationship seems pretty constant, so whatever. I must have blocked out trying to get to know others in the church, because soon, I became known as “Daniel’s girlfriend”, and not as Hannah. And you can ask him how he struggled knowing I didn’t have my own girlfriends to talk about things with, and how important that is or could be in my life. It wasn’t until he left for the Army when I was basically forced to venture on my own. I was too young to let a boy hold me back from making decisions and making new friendships.
Fast forward a couple years and I couldn’t be more thankful to God for where I am now. Even though I consider the amount of girlfriends I have now as small, I see them as genuine, constant, and real relationships.
Now about the ladies luncheon…
There I go, entering the room, only to find it met with my worst nightmare: assigned seating. The thought of sitting next to people I barely know for hours was terrifying. And knowing my luck, I’d be sitting with people I’ve never even met. But honestly, it was a good thing. A main point of the event was to get to know our sisters around us and go beyond the notion of seeing them as passerby’s on Sundays. It forced me to break out of my shell and at least try to start a conversation – something that has taken me my 22 years of life to learn. I was able to laugh, chit-chat, eat, and even go deep with sisters I never thought I would even introduce myself to.
One thing we did altogether was an “I Am…” activity. It made us look deep into ourselves and find the chains that were holding us down. It was really eye-opening to see what the sisters in our church were struggling with, and in some cases how similar we were in those struggles. It was a chance for us to be open and honest with one another, and a chance for us to pray for one another. All of the “I Am…” statements were anonymous. However, I hope to one day be able to share in front of each other and match the face to the chain and lift each other up in the name of Jesus that way as well.
So why didn’t I think to include myself in the event? All I can say is, I need to have more faith.
If you struggle with the same mindset as I do – being somewhat wary, cautious, maybe even having doubts about these things – I encourage you to just give it a chance. Break out of your comfort zone from time-to-time. There is nothing to lose because we are in the constant, never-failing, never-changing, all-knowing, and all-loving Christ Jesus our Lord.