so, I’ve slept on Lisa-Jo Baker‘s sofa & tickle wrestled with her kids and ate bowls of ice cream with her too late, and no one cheerleads for women like this woman. A community care visionary for DaySpring’s (in)courage, Lisa-Jo Baker daily invites women to the relief of (in)courage‘s communal watering-hole, a place for women from around the world to be real, to drink what they didn’t even know they were thirsty for, and be soul-quenched. A humble grace to invite my heart sister, Lisa-Jo Baker, to the farm’s front porch, to offer your heart a cup of cold water…
The last time I really dressed up to impress a man was probably a decade ago when Peter and I were still in the do-you-notice-me-not-noticing-you-noticing-me phase.
The last time I dressed up to impress another woman was yesterday morning when I painstakingly blow-dried my hair before escorting a group of preschoolers on a field trip to the farm.
To. The. Farm.
My son’s teacher is the opposite of me in every way. She is petite and effortlessly fashionable with truly great hair. So 7:30 am found me determined to tame my own unruly mane. There may also have been eyeliner and a cute purse involved.
No one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman.
We can stand knee deep in witty conversation holding cup cakes in one hand and our Bibles in the other — only to go home and whisper in quiet tears to our husbands how left out we felt.
We want to matter to the people we think matter.
And we’re not even the first to want that.
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
We want the people we think matter to single us out.
We want them to want to spend time with us.
We want them to want to share bits of themselves with us that they don’t share with anyone else.
We want them to invite us in.
Into the shared secrets and secret Facebook groups. Into the late night conversations and preschool playdates. Into the weekend getaways or playground pick up routines; into the Bible studies and co-ops.
Into the conferences and mom’s groups, into the planning committees and vacation plans.
We want in.
Left on the wrong side of the door we can regress into third grade versions of ourselves in mere minutes.
We worry that we’re too tall, too short, too uncool or unfashionable or uncomfortable in our own skins to fit in.
That we’re too loud or too quiet or too much or too little.
There is a voice that whispers all the reasons we deserve to be out.
There is a voice that taunts.
There is a voice that remorselessly lists every time we’ve found ourselves on the outside and revels in each remembering.
There is a voice that will hypnotize if we let it. That will poison and paralyze our friendships by focusing on the moments when we felt excluded.
The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it.
~C.S Lewis, “The Inner Ring,” Memorial Lecture at King’s College, University of London, 1944.
But friend, just blink.
Blink and see that it’s a mirage.
The illusion that there’s an inner circle we’ve been left out of; the lie that we’ve been left out on purpose.
We’re built for friendship, yes. We have community in our bones. And when we’re desperate and blinded by the taunting mirage of the inner circle we will end up drinking the sand- angry, gritty, bitter and confused.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We can fight to find a way in or we can love on the women where we’re at.
We can obsess over who didn’t talk to us or we can focus on the woman we’re talking to.
We can keep looking for a seat at a more popular table or we can pass the bread basket and an introduction to the women sitting right where we already are.
“And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside:
that you are indeed snug and safe at the center of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring.
But the difference is that its secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like.
This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.”
Everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all on the inside of something often without even realizing it.
Do you see?
Do you see them? Your people.
Wipe the mirage out of your eyes.
Now, who do you see?
If you’ve been looking for a place to find community and to bypass cliques – you need to meet the women of (in)courage.
It’s a website that brings community to you.
Daily encouragement about messy faith right there between the dirty dishes and undone laundry. It’s a sisterhood that promises to love you right where you’re at. They’ve done that for me in the most literal, powerful, life-changing ways — and I share my own messy stories of beautiful grace there in their rare & genuine community once a month — we’d really love to have you!
And if you take up (in)courage’s “free subscribe” offer today to their one-of-a-kind community, they’re giving every single one of you Most Beautiful People, a FREE COPY of their eBook -“Everyday Faith” – Just take a GANDER OVER HERE.
That’s in addition to an amazing 15% coupon code to DaySpring.com (think 15% off early Christmas shopping? or 15% off The Greatest Gift Ornaments?). JUST CLICK HERE for your own personal coupon code.
I cannot recommend this authentic community to you highly enough. Please — Come FIND YOUR OWN PEOPLE.
[ Our humble thanks to (in)courage for their partnership of today’s devotion ]