By Melinda Schmidt
Digging deeper is always worthwhile: looking in the sofa one more time for the missing car keys, going through the recipe box again to find that holiday favorite, planting the flower bulbs deep enough so the chippies don’t snag them. Well, I guess that last one isn’t guaranteed!
As American women, however, living at the surface, rather than digging deeper, is often more accepted. The dissatisfying ritual of superficiality is lived out too often in our conversations at coffee shops, playgroups, book clubs, church small groups. After enough time, superficiality and its good friend, inauthenticity, become the way of the tribe.
What we miss when that happens is the excitement of knowing that God’s Spirit has used us to introduce deeper, engaging thoughts into our friendships - thoughts that open up the mind and the soul of a woman.
I’ve seen this most recently in my workplace. On the radio show I host, a new segment models what Christian conversations can look like as they go deeper. Four of us discuss a variety of light-hearted as well as spiritually or topically deeper issues. Listening to us debate, laugh and share openly, other women see the possibility of deeper connections around them.
Three authors I know are using the internet to engage women more deeply. Either through a Bible study blog, through intentional spiritual friendships, or through connecting critical thinkers who are kindred spirits both via email. I’m working to engage the internet more intentionally, yet simply, as well. Recently I forwarded a “codependency fable” in an email blast. One friend responded, “I am in this exact position with someone. I am paying a very heavy price… and I need to let it go.” How can I enliven others spiritually through the internet? Jane said over dinner, “Thanks for those emails you send. I pass them along.”
Our influence fingers its way to places we may never know.
Sadly, many of us greatly underestimate our ability to be a thought leader among those in our circle of influence. Feeling inadequate, silenced or imperfect, we engage at the surface, yet long for the succulent fruits borne of deeper soil. We hang between what we desire and what we feel we can do. Yet, as we begin to refuse superficiality, we notice new opportunities to engage in meaningful thought and spirituality into others. An empty nester friend surprised me last week by declaring, “Why are we still talking about our kids? I’m so much more than my kids!” I was shocked when two other “together” friends, told me independently that they feel they have lost their way, themselves, while raising “successful” kids. These new vulnerabilities are spiritually renewing our journeys together.
During this season of “the harvest,” may we seek God’s Spirit to lead us, and find ourselves blessed to see what he will bring forth both into ourselves and others, as we courageously dig deeper into our relationships. Vaya con Dios! – go with God!
Bio: Melinda Schmidt is the co-host of Midday Connection, www.middayconnection.org, a daily, one-hour talk show that encourages women toward spiritual and personal transformation, living fully into who God created them to be. She has co-authored the program’s two devotionals for women, Daily Seeds and Tending the Soul. Married to Dave and the mom of two young adults, she enjoys soul crafting, speaking on creative faith, conversations with friends and the community of the Redbud Writers Guild. www.melindaschmidt.com.