Today we’ll introduce you to Emily Rudolph. She’s been married to Travis for three years. Although working at a church wasn’t her plan, God led her to a position as Women’s Equipping Director at Watermark Church in Dallas, where she uses the gifts He has given her to lead and equip the women of Watermark Church.
4word: What do you observe about the women you get to know through your work?
Emily: As women, instead of looking for similarities, we tend to measure ourselves against others around us, noticing our every deficiency and lamenting that we are not “that” woman. This thinking isolates us. We begin to believe, “No one understands. I’m the only one struggling with this.” I call this thinking that we are “terminally unique.”
We tell ourselves, “She doesn’t know what I’m going through.” The lie that God is holding out on us, that He really doesn’t love us because He’s blessed that woman with (fill in the blank with whatever you don’t have) runs through our minds continually. But the truth is that we women are more similar than different.
4word: What makes you say that?
Emily: We all look to the world for affirmation and identity instead of running to our Father who reminds us of who we are in Him. (A few of my favorite reminders are Psalm 139:13-16, 2 Cor. 5:17 and Isaiah 43:1-2, 10.) We all struggle to look through difficult circumstances to Truth to define who we are.
At a heart level, here’s how I see women being more similar than different. A woman longing to be married has a similar struggle to those struggling through infertility. A woman just starting out in a job, dealing with fears and insecurities, can be similar to an executive with a recent promotion.
We all need reminders that God has us exactly where He wants us because He is in control. I can trust Him even when I don’t understand. Remember Isaiah 55:8: “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.” Oh, how I think I want to be in control. To be let in on His plan – or at least be consulted about the plan – but praise God that I’m not.
My daily prayer is that I would grow in my faith and my belief that God is who He says He is. That I would trust Him in a tangible way. That I would take Him at His Word that He has me right where He wants me – smack dab in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).
4word: Do you struggle with comparing yourself to other women? How do you overcome that?
Emily: I have to fight the urge to compare myself daily. I have to choose not to believe the lies that if only I had ___, then I would be ___. Believing lies robs me of the joy of following the Lord today. It’s essentially telling the Lord: “You don’t know best, so I’m going to take matters into my own hands.”
Sound familiar? It’s Eve in the garden. God desires us to trust Him alone with our lives, identity, everything. To really believe as if everything depended on it means knowing that God is good and that He loves you. It means training your minds and your hearts daily with intentional time in the Bible and walking with God.
4word: What are some ways we can combat the lie that we are “terminally unique?”
Emily: One of the greatest blessings in my life has been my community group. They are the friends who love me through the good, the bad and the ugly. They even love me enough to point out my rough edges and work through conflict with me. They love me enough to challenge me when I’m believing lies and not looking to God as my true source of joy and life.
Community is the greatest way to be reminded that I am not “terminally unique”. Community stops me from believing that if I just had ____, I would “arrive” at a destination and be completely fulfilled. That destination I’m longing for is called Heaven. Until that time, I’m so glad the Lord has given me friends on this journey.
Have you ever caught yourself comparing your life to another woman’s?
How would you fill in the blanks in this sentence?
If I only had ________, then I would be _________.