Claudine Phillips

How to share in a group of women and when to bite your lip

Did you know that my nickname on my iphone is “Sweet Friend”?  Siri used to talk to me very formally using my entire name “Claudine Phillips”, but I felt since we have been together for over 6 years, it was time to be friends. When she is answering questions or telling me I need to u-turn (again), she reminds me I can trust her by starting out with “Sweet Friend…”.

Sometimes I have wanted to be called Sweet Friend before I earned this honorable title. So many times have I rushed into relationships before we established trust, only to find out that maybe I should not have entrusted that person with my deepest and darkest. Or maybe we have had loose lips and shared similar feelings of another and created a false sense of intimacy, only later to find out we have nothing in common except our unquenchable desire to be liked, the reason for our loose lips.

Can you relate?

Being vulnerable has got to be the scariest thing on earth for me to step into. Every time I get that feeling in my gut to share, my tongue swells, my heart races, and my throat begins to tighten. The “What ifs?” flow in like a raging river ready to extinguish any fire behind my courage. I push anyway. Sure there are times when the only response are crickets. Yet, the times when others share their stories in response with me, I believe, Jesus sits back and lets that “magic” of connection swell. There are even times when I share and no words are said, but in my soul, the Lord reaffirms possible change in the sweet silence.

Sharing is cornerstone to connection, growth, and community. Without it we are often left overwhelmed, lonely, and ineffective. We are meant to share our stories of trial and triumph. We are all dealing with something in our lives (perhaps in a season of trial with no triumph) and need to hear hope through each other’s stories of victory.  Our God knew what He was doing when He had The Faithful pen stories of unthinkable circumstances and never leave out the joy and celebration of the win. Job was one of the first books of the bible I could really relate to. Job endured much, even when his faithful turned their backs on him, yet, he was not forgotten. He had such sweet victory at the end of his story…

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before….After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. Job 42: 10-17

You have a choice. You can decide to place a limitation on your life and keep the wonders and healing of the Spirit at bay and withhold. OR, when the Spirit leads, have faith and go for it! Watch our Maker work!

“When do you know it is best to share and how much do I share?”

The question is, however, “When do you know it is best to share and how much do I share?”  What I have learned in my path to authenticity is that loose lips sinks ships and my Maker is the only one that will meet the need to be known the way I so deeply desire. Keeping these things in mind, I share when the Spirit leads.

For example, if I share to try to force connection, that isn’t the Spirit. When I share so that I will be liked, again, not the Spirit. But, when my stomach churns with anticipation and my heart races with words that need to be said, I take a deep breathe, ask the Spirit “Yes?” and obey whichever way He leads.

The “crowd” is another factor in my sharing. Do I know this person well? Has she earned my trust? Is she a person that will hold my words close? Or, is this person needing me to listen, even when I actually have a story to share that would relate to her story?  Is this person rushing into authenticity with me like I used to? Is she safe?

Yes, all this crosses my mind as I am in conversation, and, yes, I don’t get it right all the time. I believe that as long as I am leaning into the Spirit, He will direct. And if I don’t listen, He will still be there to clean me up and set me back on my feet. He’s that kind of daddy and I am grateful. This girl has scuffed her knees too many times to count.

So, if Siri is your only friend right now and you are really struggling with stuff in your life, maybe it is time to lean into the Spirit. He is waiting to ask, “What can I help you with?” He will give you the words if He intends. Test the waters. I promise, you won’t get it right the first few times, but you will get the hang of it. Over time, you will find those few that you know you can call on and they will answer you with “Sweet Friend.”