I find my mind wandering around my old high school lunch room this morning.
I went to a very large high school, yet there were only a couple of tables that were strategically placed within view of all the others, and open to only a select few that made it “in” through some unspoken code. It was, of course, the “popular” table. Just outside of those couple of tables were a few others which were filled with the “semi-popular” kids. Out from there were different groups that chose to sit together: music, chess or French club. Then, in the far outposts of the lunchroom were the ones on the outside, looking in; of whom, sadly, no one took much notice.
Why, you might ask, is a 46 year old woman thinking about the high school lunch room?
Because we, as women, still tend to operate this way. Our insecurities come into play every bit as much, it seems, in our everyday lives as they did back then. Wherever there are women, even Christian women, there are cliques that form…and where there are cliques, there is exclusion. It hurts my heart to think of it, and crushes me completely to think that I might ever be a part of it, even inadvertently!
I’ve seen some of this go on recently in my own world, and have found that I’m not alone, after reading these insightful posts. What are we doing, ladies (and note that I say “we”)? Whether we are in a Bible study, PTA meeting, or using social media, we are still the “body of Christ.” If we are all a “body part,” we are, quite literally, limping around if we keep others from joining in!
I read recently about an old teen organization that was started by the YWCA, prior to WWI, called “Girl Reserves.” It was “dedicated to improving relationships between female students” and hosted lectures on such topics as “Popularity vs. Success” and “Gossip vs. Conversation.” Their pledge went like this:
I will try to be…
Gracious in Manner
Impartial in Judgment
Ready for Service
Loyal to Friends
Earnest in Purpose
Seeing the Beautiful
Eager for Knowledge
Reverent to God
Victorious over Self
Sincere at all Times
I’m thinking that old high school lunchroom etiquette needs an overhaul. The evil one who wrote it is no Emily Post. I say we recite our “pledge” and push our lunch tables together…learn a few moves from the girls in Chess Club, perfect the way we say “Je t’aime petite amie” with the girls from French club, and join our voices in praise with the girls from the music department. And who knows what we’ll gain from letting the ones from the far reaches join the group?
Join me for lunch, won’t you? Let’s find out.
I was generally a fringe-friend throughout school, only get as close as the fringes of the groups, never really into the center. Perhaps that is why I found solace in the written word, and thankfully now, in His Word!
Scoot on over and wipe off the crumbs. I am squeezin' my raggedly self in for a seat in this circle of sisters! Thank you for the invitation…
AMEN, indeed!!! I was just talking about this today with a friend. Are you reading my mind? Why do we do this to one another. I know I am guilty, even if I am not meaning to be. I am saying the pledge and will try my hardest to LIVE the pledge!
Thanks for this!
I remember the feelings of not being in the 'in' crowd. Not fun!! I'm so thankful that with Jesus, I'm always 'in'. I pray that I never exclude others, knowingly or unknowingly.
Thanks for this thought provoking post.
mmm-hmmm As I told my discussion group at BSF this morning: Spiritually, I'm over it. There are certain relationships that I am no longer actively pursuing. Still healing emotionally, though. Because hurt is hurt no matter who you are.
Funny that I posted about friendship again today.
Thanks, Melinda for this meaningful post! I so remember those days of the cafeteria 'power-struggles'. The pledge is a challenge and an example to all of us to rise above the temptation to pettiness and pretence.
Melinda — love how the Lord links our hearts… and our posts. Nothing hurts my girlfriend heart more than to think another girlfriend is hurting.
I'm committing myself to inclusion! I want to know all the women the Lord puts in my path! I don't want to MISS ONE BLESSING!
Thanks for making me think even more on this tough topic.