Today we will wrap up our series on how to steward your breakthrough practically, with our sixth and final tool: Reinforcing the weak links.
Reinforcing the weak links in your life is all about getting our relationships in right order: reconnecting to the right people in the right season, and disconnecting from those who are not appointed and not serving to move us toward where we know we should be going.
A number of years ago, I was taught an important lesson in leadership, which has served me in all areas and all seasons of my life. That lesson was about the levels of relationships that are necessary for anyone desiring to grow. If that’s you – if you know you should be moving forward, but are feeling stuck or even like you’re moving backward – this is a tool worth picking up.
There are three levels of key relationships we should always have in our lives:
1 – Someone pouring in – these are mentors, people who are wiser, stronger, and have gone further on the journey than we have.
2 – Someone to walk beside – these are peer relationships, friends who are on a similar journey, who we can share the joys and struggles with.
3 – Someone to pour into – these are the people who are coming behind us, people who look up to us and who need the same thing as we are getting from our own mentors. If we are only being poured into, and never pouring back out, we will grow stagnant and become stuck, because God designed that everything we receive, we should give away to others who need it, so that we can receive more. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that a closed fist receives nothing…when we’re holding onto what we have, there is no room for anything more.
Now, I encourage you to consider your life, in light of your promises. There are breakthroughs at stake, and one of the keys to reaching those breakthroughs is the relationships you are stewarding.
Do you have an older (at least spiritually older), wiser woman that you meet with on a regular basis – even once a month? Someone you can reach out to with questions and concerns, and someone you are accountable to in all areas of your life? Someone who has the right and privilege to look you in the face and challenge you, ask hard questions of you, and pray you through the obstacles in your path?
When you consider your peer relationships, do you have at least one solid friend who knows, loves, understands, and encourages you on your journey – because she is also on a similar journey? Now, there are friends we have as friends just because we’ve known them and loved them for years, but these are not the kind of friends I’m speaking about. You will need a friend, or friends, who have taken up the same courage and commitment as you have – friends who are determined to grow and to reach their breakthrough. Friends who are determined to see you reach your breakthrough, too. While my dearest, oldest, closest friends love me and support me unconditionally – and even believe in me – I can’t say that they’re the ones I share my journey toward breakthrough with. The women I worship with have actually become the friends I share my breakthrough journey with, because they are on the same journey, and they understand. Some of these women are in my church, and some of them are from other churches, but are still rooted in God and committed to the same journey of faith that I’m on. This is what we have in common, and it is a strength that binds us together as we persevere in believing we will see all God has promised to us.
This is tough for many women, I know. If you are not currently rooted in a church community, I urge you to find one, no matter how difficult it might be for you. No church is or will ever be perfect until Jesus returns, of course, and you will have to confront some old beliefs and maybe even old wounds in order to be able to let God plant you in a church body where you will grow. But you can’t reach real, true breakthrough without this. It is part of God’s plan, for all of us. Outside of connection – real connection – to the body of Christ, you will only ever be able to taste breakthrough in measures that will never unfold into what God has designed to be experienced in fullness.
What about the younger girls/women in your life? Do you have any younger women who are hungry for growth around you? Maybe you will encounter them at your workplace. Most certainly, there are bound to be young girls or young women in the church you attend (or will soon be attending!) who are on the same journey as you – who will need to know how to navigate the pitfalls of life and even of religion. They will need someone they can talk to and who they can turn to with the difficult and even embarrassing questions that are burning in their hearts.
Don’t worry – they won’t need you to be perfect, just honest. Just authentic. It takes time and commitment to sow into their lives consistently, but this will not only help them to grow – it will help you to grow, as well. All you have to do is open yourself up and make yourself available. They will supernaturally be drawn to you. And you will know it is time to share what you possess with the ones God puts in front of you.
You don’t have to serve in the children’s church ministry to do this. Just be willing to share your journey with one or two at a time, until their appointed season with you is finished, and God will naturally move them on to the next woman they are appointed to journey with. I have daughters and nieces, whom I’ve given my best to. But as a mother/auntie/guardian, there will always come a season when what we have to offer is no longer enough. They need more, and I am so grateful for the women in my church community who have stepped in and begun to walk alongside my daughters and nieces, loving them into their lives in Christ…loving them into who they were created to be and into what God has promised them. I know there are mothers in my church who are grateful to me for doing the same with their daughters. It truly does take a village to raise our children up into their destinies. But we can’t just pull from the village. We must also be a part of the village.
As you take stock of the relationships in your life and consider those that need to be established, there will also be some that you will likely need to detach from. That detachment might be a real severing, because they are truly not healthy for you to associate with, a weight holding you back, rather than a support pushing you forward. Don’t waste time in severing these relationships. Do it quickly, if you know the Lord is leading you to do so. Hesitancy only breeds the room for compromise to make its way into your reasoning, and you will soon find yourself more stuck than you were before.
Some detachment in relationships, however, may be partial, or compartmentalized. For example, you may have some friends in your life who truly do love you, are not toxic for you, but aren’t on the same journey you’re on, and won’t really be able to understand – much less help or encourage you as you move toward your breakthroughs. In these cases, you may have to intentionally connect with other women who will be able to share your journey, and disconnect this part of your life from the friends who just aren’t able to be there yet. Because to share your journey with someone will mean being vulnerable about things they will need to support you in, and some friends may not have that capacity, even if they love you.
I understand what this is like, and there is a heart struggle involved, because we naturally want to be loyal and share everything with our friends. If our friends don’t have a grid for where God is calling us to, however, they just may not be able to go there with us. I have found that it is more loving to detach those places in my life from such friendships, than to expect such friends to become what I need them to be. I have learned to accept them where they are, and open myself up to other friendships that are better equipped, and more appointed, for those areas of my journey.
Connecting ourselves to other women, at different levels, builds security into our journey, and propels us closer to our breakthroughs. We need each other, and while there are obstacles to overcome in yielding ourselves to this God-given need, the rewards are rich indeed.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, I hope that you will seriously and prayerfully consider the relationships you have in place in your life right now. If you haven’t been intentional in seeking to establish connections with the right people for your current season, now is a good time to determine to do so. Each new season may bring new women into your life, and may remove some that you’ve grown comfortable with journeying beside. Don’t worry, God knows what He is doing as He draws you together with each woman who has been appointed for you. You can trust His leadership, and you can trust that – more than you want your breakthrough – He wants your breakthrough, too. When we seek to acknowledge His will and direction as we journey, we will surely see Him make the path clearer and clearer as we move. And we will have the added blessing of beautiful, healthy, and God-established relationships to share the moments of breakthrough with!
May you be blessed as you employ these tools in stewarding every breakthrough promise you receive. And may you share them with other women on the journey, so that they, too, will reach their breakthroughs. Together, may we see all that God has promised to us! May we be a company of women who are blessed indeed, and thereby equipped to be a great blessing to the world around us!