The Illusion of Cliques

“That church has so many cliques.”

“No one said hello to me….again.”

“People are so selfish!”

These are all things I have heard over and over again in my 15 years of being involved in ministry.

I am hoping to encourage you lonely folks out there by giving you a different perspective.

I went to college in Northern California. I became a believer in Junior College and my first goal when I hit the campus at a “real college” was to get plugged in to a church, preferably one full of college students. I found one! They met on campus on Sundays and I couldn’t wait to go.

I walked in eager to have all these people flocking to me to make me feel welcomed. Um… nobody talked to me. I walked in and out without meeting a soul.

I went back. This time my heart was different. This time I would initiate. And that’s ok. Ya know why? They were like a family already. Some of these people had known each other for years and I couldn’t expect to walk in and be on the same level as them.

So, I introduced myself to numerous people. I did the same the next week. Sometimes to the same people who “forgot my name”. So I re-introduced myself a few weeks in a row. I didn’t quit going and get mad at the cliques. I kept pursuing friendship. I kept telling people my name. I kept going to all the things the church had to offer so that my face went from being unfamiliar to familiar. I went from being unknown to known.

But guess what? I still never really felt like I was part of the in-crowd. Nope. And guess what? I think I have a pretty good idea of why and it’s not because there were so many cliques. Nope. It’s because I was controlling and talked about myself too much.

Marriage has a way of helping us to get rid of some of our rough edges. Suddenly many of the character flaws that no one had the guts to tell me had come to the surface because a spouse has to live with those flaws and they are certainly worth confronting.

As a side note, my husband and I are very purposeful in training our children on how to not be annoying. We tell them when certain behaviors and actions are obnoxious. We tell them we want them to be well-liked and have lots of friends. That’s the loving thing to do. 

I for one am thankful for the iron sharpening iron aspect of marriage. My controlling, manipulative nature along with the propensity to talk too much was finally confronted and I am able to see more clearly that the cliques I thought existed were actually an illusion. There was a reason that a certain number of friends of mine were part of the “in -crowd”.

When I look back at those friends I notice some things that they had in common: they asked people questions like: “how are you doing?” and they really wanted to know! They listened well. The didn’t dominate. They weren’t restless. They enjoyed each other and served one another. They stuck around through awkward silence and just hung out.

I can’t help but wonder if some people feel lonely because others don’t have the guts to tell them they don’t want to hang out with them.

I know that was me for years and years and I am thankful for the people who have loved me enough to say: “Katie, it’s not them, it’s you.”

One time I ordered a “household meeting” with my roommates in college. We were going to “get it all out on the table” and tell each other what we really thought so that we could be honest. I let one of my roommates go first and she said to me: “Katie, I hate to come to you with my problems because you lecture me and don’t listen.” I did the mature, godly thing any woman who wants to grow would do: I walked out of the room and got into my car and drove off… um, yeah, so clearly I am amazing at receiving criticism.

We would all do well to listen to others’ criticism and seek to change. That’s the way we grow. If we want people to want to be around us we have to be open to growth and change even if the truth of how we need to change is super painful.

So here are some types of women I know drive people away. Sincerely seek the Lord and see if you fit into one or more of these types and ask the Lord to help you change.

Snarky Susie: This woman is always full of sarcasm. Nothing can ever be taken seriously. All of life is a big joke to her. Continue reading The Illusion of Cliques

7 Ways To Always Be Offended

It seems some of us wake up looking for ways to be offended. I know I struggle with it! Here are the 7 ways I have found that make it quick and easy to be offended.

offended

1. Insist that EVERYONE view the world through your eyes. Forget that everyone is different. Forget that everyone comes from a different back ground and are at different places in life. Insist that they see everything from your point of view.

2. Don’t be open to any opinion that differs from yours. Especially ones that you can only back up with: “This is what I have always believed” or “this is how I was raised”. If you do this you will surely succeed at being offended. Refuse to be teachable.

3. Take every difference of opinion personally. Tell yourself that everyone is out to get you and the fact that they see things differently is because they hate your guts and are on a mission to ruin your life.

4. See it as your main goal in life to change the views of others. Scratch this verse out of your bible: “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.” (1 Thess. 4:11) Instead make it your ambition to lead a loud life, never minding your own business or working with your hands. Make it your ambition to get all people to conform to your opinions. Continue reading 7 Ways To Always Be Offended

Why I Wear A Head Covering

why i wear

I have been wearing a head covering to “public worship” for about 4 years now. I have been a Christian for 13 years. I was not raised Christian and I definitely wasn’t raised around women who wore head coverings.

When I became a Christian I remember reading 1 Cor. 11 and wondering: “Why don’t women still wear head coverings? If God says it is dishonorable for women to have their head uncovered (verse 5) then shouldn’t what He considers dishonorable be important to us?” The fact that it was in the new testament carried a lot of weight with me too in that it wasn’t under the old covenant, this was a new covenant guideline.

The argument I often/almost always heard was: “it’s a cultural thing.” Since when is a Christian called to do what culture dictates? Don’t we allow the Word of God to direct our lives/decisions?

I moved to WA about 5 years ago. When we came there was one family here that had a couple of the ladies wearing one. It intrigued me. So I asked them about it and how they came to that conviction. Fast forward a few months and I am on the phone with a friend that went to a church where there was a woman teaching pastor. I asked her: “How can you choose to go to a church where a woman is teaching men when the bible clearly teaches that shouldn’t happen?” (1 Tim. 2:12) Her response: “I’ll give you the same reason that you would give me for why you aren’t wearing a head covering, it’s cultural.” Oops. Can’t argue with that. She was letting the current culture, which says women should be able to teach men, dictate that it was okay for women to teach men just as I was letting the current culture decide whether or not I needed to wear a head covering. I was convicted and on a mission to figure out once and for all if God wanted women to wear head coverings and if He did, I would do it.

Let’s look through 1 Cor. 11 together. Some of the information here was taken from a helpful website you can see by clicking here. Continue reading Why I Wear A Head Covering

10 Ways To Be A Miserable Church Member

#1 Forget that your pastor is a sinner. Yep. Dwell on the fact that he is not perfect as often as possible and make sure to meditate on all his faults.

#2 Forget that the entire leadership is made up of sinners. While you are thinking about all your pastor’s weaknesses be sure to look for all the weaknesses in all the leadership. Criticize their every decision and talk to others, but don’t ever go to them with your concerns.

#3 Forget that your brothers and sisters in Christ are all sinners. This is a really important one. Go to church expecting everyone to be perfect. Get really upset when someone doesn’t notice you or someone offends you. Then leave the church and tell people you don’t go to church because it’s filled with hypocrites.

#4 Forget you are a sinner.  Like numbers one through three instruct, focus on everyone else’s faults, but do your best to forget about anything you do wrong. And since you’re perfect nobody should ever wrong you. Expect the most out of everyone except yourself and get really angry when people don’t live up to your standards. Continue reading 10 Ways To Be A Miserable Church Member