On Women’s Groups and Copouts

Truth be told, I don’t spend a lot of time with just girls much anymore.  I guess since I got hitched, and I like hanging out with my hubby, I’ve become one of those girls that does “couple-y” things or at least co-ed group things.  I have girl nights, and I have girlfriends, but I don’t do a ton of regular ladies groups. 

I didn’t realize that I had moved from the all-girl pack until a few months ago, when I realized that I had signed up for 2 ladies small groups.  Not one, but two.  One is a women leader mentoring group, and the other, a college small group.  Over the last few months, I have been surrounded by lots of women on a regular basis.

It’s fun.  We laugh and eat chocolate and cry and it’s really cathartic.  There really is a different vibe with women and sans men.  There’s a level of freedom and a depth of understanding that comes with being surrounded by people who share something inherent with you.

In our vulnerability, I hear trends in conversations that seem to come out every time I’m with groups of women.  We have some of the same conversations that I had with my middle school youth leaders, my closest high school girlfriends, and my college hall mates.  I have the same conversations with my college group and my women leaders’ group.  We talk about our insecurities, we talk about our anxieties, we talk about how we compare ourselves to one another, and we talk about our need for approval. 

Nearly every week, someone says something to the effect of “All women struggle with this” or “That’s just the way women are wired” as it applies to insecurity, anxiety, comparison, and need for approval. 

Can I be honest?  I think that’s a big fat copout.  As a lifelong approval-seeker, as someone who struggles with anxiety, and as someone who is adept at the comparison game, I have to say, I think it’s a copout to resign to a struggle just because I may be prone to it because of my genetic makeup.

I haven’t fully overcome my insecurity, anxiety, comparison, and approval-seeking, but I have come a long way, baby, and I still believe in my heart of hearts that my struggles can be overcome.  I don’t believe that I have to resign to or accept any struggles just because I may be prone to those struggles.  And you don’t have to, either.

Insecurity does not have to be part of who we are.  Anxiety does not need to rule us.  We can choose to not compare.  We can be content with who God made us to be.

If you are a woman, and you hang out with other women, don’t use your gender as a copout for struggles.  If you are a woman who has overcome insecurity, anxiety, comparison, and approval-seeking; share your story.  We would love to know your secret, but don’t keep it a secret.  If you hear women accepting their struggles, remind them that is not ok.  Challenge them to pursue growth in those areas.

Let’s challenge one another, as those who really understand one another, to rise up.  Let’s be women that challenge one another to be secure, calm, fearless, and confident.  What would our workplaces, families, churches, and communities look like if we conquered our struggles?

Women, what do you think: Do you resign to struggles because of your gender?

Do groups of women foster struggles, or challenge you to conquer them?  How have you overcome your struggles?

Do you share your growth with other women?

Talk to me!

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6 thoughts on “On Women’s Groups and Copouts

  1. I think this is so great and so true. It is nice to share these stories with one another and to know you’re not alone in these particular struggles. I don’t know if it is something that can be completely overcome – to never struggle again. But in those times, I believe it is all about seeking God; finding your comfort and value in Him. Knowing you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”; that He has a unique purpose for each of us and it may not look like anyone else’s story. And in those insecure and anxious times, it’s about “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ” and knowing He doesn’t want us to be injured and defeated by the thoughts that run through our heads. When I’m struggling, I try to remember that He loves me and He is sovereign and that helps bring me back.

  2. Groups of women can be notorious for processing, which at times can become more burdensome rather than helpful. Before you know it, we find ourselves engaging in the cop out behavior you mentioned above, normalizing sin under the guise of “encouragement.” Oh trust me, as a social worker, an introvert, and a true lover of the depths of a soul, hell ya I love processing more than the next gal. And see deep benefit in finding those friendships in which you can share the shadows without shame.

    But there’s a pattern I’ve noticed in all women’s groups I’ve been a part of that have veered towards the unhealthy:

    If we are processing more than we are praying, we are not being helpful.

    If we are processing more than we are seeking instruction, we are not being helpful.

    I fall prey to this all the time…so thanks for your words that push us deeper as women into the life Christ called us to.

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