I’ve always found this week to be interesting. People have navigated through the Christmas season and a collective “sigh” has been heard from people everywhere. This week is pivotal, it’s a time where I personally look backward at the past year and reflect upon the ups and downs of the year and the craziness that was endured through the year. It’s also a time many people look to make New Year’s resolutions to change their life for the better over the next year. According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Yes, let that sink in!
Why do you think that is? My personal opinion is that most resolutions are for outward changes, something tangible that other people can see in you. Changes that we want other people to see in us… losing 10 lbs, or exercising 3 times a week, or even committing to being on time. What if we focused this next year on the within, what our heart and soul needs, over what we want to look or feel better outwardly?
The mission of The Good Shepherdess is to help lead you to tending your flock well and keeping them safe. The key to that is to ensure that YOU are tended to and spiritually healthy as well. God built us to live in community with each other. Although this verse is commonly used in the terms of marriage, its background is in the form of companionship (sharing with others) when Solomon was lamenting the perils of isolation.
9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
10For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone
when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
This passage references sharing with friends your labor/task gets better return (v. 9), help in time of difficulty (v. 10), comfort in time of need (v. 11), and protection in time of danger (v. 12). And if two are better than one, then three are even better! The more confidants that you have as a Shepherdess, the more you have to lean on. This also means that you have to allow yourself to be leaned on!
24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
God clearly says that we need to encourage each other to love, and “meet” regularly. Now I’ve just heard the collectively “Oh no, I don’t have time for this!!!”… God also gave us tools today that allow us to lean in and be leaned on without having to physically sit across the table with each other at Starbucks over a coffee. I do not want to discount face to face time. That is critical, to learn about another person because written words can easily be taken out of context, but it does not need to be the sole source of communication.
So where am I going with this? Well, it’s another challenge! Ladies, I challenge you this year to pray about and identify one or two people, who you maybe already have a close relationship with, or maybe not, but you feel God calling you to lean in on, and allow them to minister to you this year. Maybe do a verse of scripture each day and tell each other how it impacts you. Find a devotional or book to work through together. At the very least, pray for and lift up each other on a daily basis, providing verbal or written affirmation for that person. Talk about life, your feelings, your worries, your faith. Talk about what God is doing in your life. Conversation must be honest, real, and no-holds-barred. Conversely, allow another lady or two to lean in on you. It may be the same person, maybe not.
12With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother,
I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying
that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
1 Peter 5:12 (NIV)
Good Shepherdess, don’t go this life alone. Jesus had his disciples and Paul had Silas just to name a couple of examples from the bible where it’s better for two or more to traverse life together. God will find great joy in seeing his people lean in on and experience His grace with each other.