Recently, I was forced to quarantine for 21 days. It felt like being in jail—a nicer cell than prison, but nonetheless a prison. What I found that I missed the most was regular interaction with friends, sharing and praying together to encourage each other. Although not all women are alike, most women crave a level of friendship and intimacy that allows them to let down their social ‘masks’ and be honest about who they are inside.
Obviously, the last 18 months have forced us all to wear masks in public. But I’m referring to the invisible masks we hide behind – at work, at school, and even at church. These include the artificial smiles we put up, even though we might be feeling scared or hurt or desperate or angry.
Keeping up the image is perhaps harder for women because we’re often judged on our physical appearance, as well as professional performance, as well as our ability to be emotionally available to support others.
The world bombards us with images, photoshopped to impossible perfection, while articles about ‘successful women’ undermine our identity as daughters of God. And it becomes harder over time, as we win more accolades which paradoxically mean there’s more to lose and more to hide. Thus, the invisible masks become an ingrained habit. Yet, the more we hide, the more lonely and isolated we feel, and the joy that God had put in our hearts slowly ebbs away.
When we wear those masks at church, it eventually becomes a barrier to spiritual growth and to building authentic Christian friendships. These barriers are things that the Women’s Ministry would like to chip away, step by step, so that Christian women can find a place to connect with one another, to share honestly, be heard and be encouraged to turn to the Lord who can and will restore their sense of self.
Last Sunday, the Women’s Get-Together provided an opportunity for women to step out of their ordinary routines and mingle with others for a fun, relaxing afternoon. But that’s only one step forward. And honestly, there’s no magic pill, operation or new app, that will do this instantly. It’s a long process. But a process that leads to true peace and contentment.
Would you like to take another step forward? There are growth groups available, where you can start connecting with other sisters in Christ. And please come to our 2021 Women’s Conference, set for 22-23 October. We’d love to see you there!