By Jacki C. King
I always wanted to be a cheerleader. The big bows, flying in the air, getting to pump up the crowd at the games with their big smiles and glitter face tattoos. Those dreams didn’t come to fruition after the hard reality of being on 8th grade pep squad and my herkies looking more like a spastic self defense move than a graceful jump of athleticism.
So I hung up the skirt and tube socks (I kept the bows) and pursued other dreams, but now in my adult years as a wife, mom, church member, and leader I have found the need for more cheerleaders in our world.
In a culture that tries to pit women against each other, the need for women voices to support, champion, and cheer on other women is so incredibly vital. Here are a couple tidbits to becoming a woman who applauds the work and value of other women around you:
This is such an ugly part of our flesh, isn’t it? With comparison comes jealousy, pride, bitterness and envy. It is wise for you and I to know that this is where our hearts will go without deliberate and purposeful moments of checking our flesh and pushing into Jesus.
Comparison comes from a place of insecurity and pride that God didn’t make us like ‘her.’ It creates false narratives that we can only be used by God in a certain way or that God is withholding His goodness from us and giving it to others.
God has created you specifically, given you a unique story, and birthed within you passions and calling that only you can fulfill in your workplaces, churches, homes, and community. The more confident we are in who God has made us, the more free we become to work out our own giftings while celebrating other women in their giftings.
Instead of a competition, it becomes a collaboration of strengths that makes each of us better.
I’ve found that most women have the love language of time or words of affirmation. This isn’t everyone, but even those that rank higher in the other love languages have these two are close to the top.
Specifically pointing out what another woman does well can mean a great deal. Blanket statements like “You did such a great job,” seem detached and impersonal, but a comment like “I loved how your organization skills and your ability to execute all the details of that project made this such a success” highlights her strengths and also helps her know how to continue chasing after those strengths.
When we compliment and edify specific talents and gifts that another woman has we birth within her a desire and affirmation to keep using that gift.
Be a Learner
Another woman’s strength is an opportunity for me to learn and develop. See how the women around you are gifted, how they lead, how they communicate, and follow their example. Another woman’s win is not our loss.
Great leaders and workers are constantly trying to become better collaborators, communicators, and executors. Much like how Paul describes the body working in its different parts, we need one another to function, but also to help us be better in our own roles.
Remember Where You Came From
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the women who cheered me on and pulled me up out of my comfort zone and insecurities. Shirley Moses was an older woman in her 60s who pulled me up in ministry as a young 20-something. I was incredibly green with no real clue what it meant to lead or teach.
She not only came alongside and showed me what it meant to be a woman leader, but she also pushed me in areas that I didn’t think I could be used. If it were not for her investment, her trust to push me forward in teaching roles, and even her correction when I didn’t hit my full potential.
We have the beautiful privilege to help bring others to the top and help pave the way for them to be great in utilizing their gifts and abilities.
Set The Culture You Want To Be A Part Of
No one wants to be a in a spot where they feel beat down, over-criticized, and undervalued. The personal characteristics that you exhibit to others will set the tone for what is allowed and celebrated in your circles of influence.
Squelch gossip and criticism. If you don’t entertain the conversations of tearing down other women or picking apart their every move the comments have no power. A lot of times this starts in our thought process.
We have to be diligent to train and retrain our minds to create narratives in our minds that celebrate one another.
Use social media for good. Instead of self-promotion or political wars, use social media to champion the women you see doing things well. In a world and culture that is constantly tearing down, be mindful to use your influence to build up.
Put on your glitter tattoos. Grab the megaphone. Look around at the women in your circles and let’s be the voices championing one another forward as we each chase after our callings.
Go. Fight. Cheer!
Jacki C. King (@JackiCKing) is a Jesus follower with a passion to see women fall in love with Him and His Word. She lives in Conway, Arkansas with her husband, Josh—lead pastor of Second Baptist Conway—and their three sons.