Like smoke from burning pancakes, the tension in the stifling air rose, as shoulder-to-shoulder we waited for the doors to open. The concert promised to be the best of the year, but the frustration of the crowded space was inhaling all the happiness away. My man and I tried to make the best of the situation, making small talk about our day, when suddenly, a grimace of sorts came across his handsome face. His question followed: Why, when a woman walks in the room, do all the other women size her up?
Oh no! He noticed! I thought.
Honestly, I wanted to lie; to cover for us. I thought this thing us women do, was known only on the inside. I had no idea the guys in our lives see it; sense this often, unspoken judgment. Our tendency to compete with other women and the mental mathematics we compute to determine who is prettiest, smartest or thinnest is not a hidden struggle to us, men see that we do it.
My husband reassured me; it isn’t pretty. The way we size each other up to determine who is best is not an attractive character trait; it actually reveals our own insecurity.
This notion we have that her beauty, her success, and her confidence detracts from me and mine, slowly seeps into our hearts undetected. Infiltrating our hearts and minds, it’s a deception that poisons the way we think of our fellow females. It demands to call the shots on how we think, speak and act toward each other.
Even if we make up our mind to fight it, like a terrible infection, it returns unwanted again and again. It’s a lie and a powerful one at that. Pulling us in, this wrong sucks us under, even before we’ve spoken a word.
We might even feel like we’re not to blame; culture is. It may seem too much, a bit harsh, but we need to call it what it is: sin.
The Bible, which speaks to all aspects of life, shares the cure for this illness and I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s a tough sin to confess: We must come to recognize that our temptation to compete with other women is actually not loving her as Christ called us to do:
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
Maybe you’ve heard, as I have, that Jesus paid it all; we have no debt. True, when we ask, He forgives us for our sins, but we do have a debt. This passage makes that very clear. We have an obligation to love one another; to break the girl code. When it comes to cutting another down, competing with another woman for place or prestige, we have a command to do the complete opposite: building her up. Love does no harm to a neighbor; not ever.
Dissension and jealousy not only poison female friendships but also our witness as God’s daughters. Here are five ways we can choose today to break the girl code:
1. Ask yourself.
What if she read my mind? If she could hear the thoughts we’re thinking, would that be ok? Honestly, this one is enough to get me switching my thoughts right up.
2. Remind yourself.
She is not the competition. Just like you, she is a creation of God. There is enough of God’s goodness, love, and power for all of us; He has an unlimited supply.
3. Pray for her.
I find it nearly impossible to have negative feelings toward anyone when I pray God’s best for her.
4. Speak truth.
I don’t know all about her life, just as she doesn’t know all the details of mine. Only God has the right to judge because He is perfect and has all the facts.
5. Desire change.
That thought that pops in our head, we can’t control. But we can control what we do with the thought. Ask the Lord to change your heart so that our thoughts will change. This is the one prayer He is ecstatic about answering!
Friend, dissension, and jealousy are out. For us, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are in. May this, the fruit of the Spirit, be the thing we can’t live without.
Lynn Cowell, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, is the author of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. Magnetic, empowers young women to limit the draining effect of “girl drama,” so you can invest your time in becoming the best you. Connect with her at www.LynnCowell.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LynnCowell.