Awhile back, a few of my friends and I were confessing some of our issues over email.

  • I can’t lose weight, it is totally impossible. 
  • I am not going to make enough money this month. I won’t be able to clothe and feed my children. 
  • People think I am a bad mom. I think I am a bad mom. Am I a bad mom? 
  • I like my children better when they are sleeping.
  • We have to tighten our budget and I don’t want to survive without Starbucks! Can I disguise Starbucks in an Aldi-brand coffee container?
  • I am afraid that everyone is going to think that I am not good at my job. As a payback one of my co-workers is going come and try to kill me like from that Bruce Willis movie where he is dead the whole time and then we find out his client killed him. I really hate that movie. 
  • OMG the self-hatred…I am not even going to repeat those thoughts. 
  • My daughter’s brain is going to get eaten up from all of the tv I let her watch. 
Let’s come  back to those in a minute….

If you missed them, here are parts 1- 6 on Psalm 131 and Contentment, from a talk I gave at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) a few years ago.

Psalm 131: Oh, Lord my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; 
I do not occupy myself with things too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother,
                                          like a weaned child is my soul within me.

The final verse (3) of this Psalm says, “Oh Israel, put your hope in God both now and forevermore.”

What a perfect way to end this song. David is moving from his own personal journey of contentment and now he is encouraging his entire community to put their hope in God. 

Remember, this is a Song of Ascent — a song that the community regularly sang as an act of worship TOGETHER. 

The greatest part about Contentment is that it’s not something we have to achieve on our own. Contentment is played out and learned in community. Cynthia Willet has an essay called “Collective Responsibility for Children in an Age of Orphans” in the book The Best Love of the ChildIn it, she argues that our culture has made orphans of us all, and that when we neglect interdependence, we miss out on true freedom.

Just yesterday I was with a group of women and I asked for prayer because I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety about my kids. It hits me at night when I am, of course, desperately trying to fall asleep. 

(Remember sleep? Oh it used to be so refreshing…those were the days.)

Anyway, It was a small moment, but it was healing for me to hear the other ladies say, “Oh tooootally! I do that too!” The conversation normalized my anxiety and gave me some insight into why I might be feeling that way.

When we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, when it feels impossible to breathe, when we can’t for the life of us figure out how to be content, we can allow our community to practice it for us, and then we can carry our community in their times of need. We can encourage each others strengths and strengthen each other’s weaknesses. 
And that’s the 4thstep in the discipline of child-like contentment:
4. Be in consistent, authentic, vulnerable community with other women.
If you feel like you don’t how to find those women, search for a MOPS group near your hometown, find a local church, pray that God would bring women into your life. Join a small group, start a playgroup, organize a regular girl’s night in or out. And if you have those women in your life, remember to thank God for them.

Now, I realize that some of us have difficulty finding authentic relationships. We have tried all of these things and they haven’t worked. I KNOW that being in community is not easy or natural for everyone. There are introverts out there. There are women that suffer from social anxiety and/or shame. There are women that have put themselves out there and have truly been hurt. 

If that’s you, please know that I am praying for you. You are loved beyond measure by a God who knows how you feel, can handle your burdens, and wants all of you. 

Back to the email conversation…another one of my friend’s–the wise one in the group–replied to all: 
“It seems like your feelings are telling you to rest.”

It was a moment of pure and profound brilliance. Oh yes, maybe we are not a lunatics. Maybe we are just exhausted. 

Interdependence is fundamental to being a satisfied and content woman. Other women can give you a much-needed break, hold you accountable, and remind you that you are not alone. 

Wherever you are, may you feel adopted this week, loved, and cared for. May you find joy in community.

So, I’d love to know…how do you practice interdependence? How do you and your friend’s encourage each other? If you have struggled with this, what is your story? How do you think women can love each other better? 

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