Monday, October 10, 2011

Digging Deeper

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,, 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.


  1. Melinda, beautifully written statement on who we are, and who we are not at times. Thanks for pointing out the ease with which we move from one to the other in our daily lives. This weekly refill came at a needed time -- thanks!

  2. Thank you, Melinda, for your reflections on digging deeper. I love digging deeper as I know that this is where the richness of our lives is. In fact, just today I'm digging deeper on wisdom I'm asking from God. Your reflection provided some insight for me.

    Many Blessings,
    Janae Bower

  3. "Feeling inadequate, silenced or imperfect, we engage at the surface, yet long for the succulent fruits borne of deeper soil."

    I think you have hit on a roiling holy discontent that is building among female followers of Christ. I think it does have to do with a lack of depth in relationships and missing authenticity, but I think it goes deeper than that. My deeper soil is dealing with gender and leadership.

    Uh-oh. Prepare for soapbox.

    Throughout my 13 years of ministry, I have routinely felt dismissed in the church due to gender and I feel like my husband's leadership has been considered the one of greater value because he is paid and a male.
    (Just being honest here - and nothing against my hubby - because he is a great leader)

    I think it is a cultural issue, one that I am pressing up against and finding a lot of resistance.

    When it happens, I get all unenlightened and pissy because I feel like my voice isn't heard and half the church is being ignored, under-utilized, and we are missing out on the fullness of what God intended for humanity just because of the fall.

    You know. That dang fall. With the serpent and the apple and whatnot. We get so hung up on Genesis 2 and 3 that we forget our story started in Genesis 1, and that chapter is where, I feel, God reveals the bigness of His heart and His perfect plan for humanity, both male and female.

    In Genesis 1 man and woman were both designated 'image bearers'. I am frustrated how the exegesis of the word 'ezer-kenegdo' has 'suitabler helper' has relegated women to the role of husband's helper.

    What if you don't have a husband? Are you no longer able to function in that role?

    Kenegdo needs a better definition. Kenegdo can also mean the man's match - literally, 'as in front of him'. A good picture is Yin and Yang.

    Victor Hamilton's commentary on Genesis wrote "Kenegdo suggests that what God creates for Adam will correspond to him. Thus the new creation will be neither a superior nor an inferior, but an equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity and will be to man as the South Pole is to the North Pole."

    That is RAD.

    I believe we here in the West are offered an incredibly opportunity that has never been seen in this world since the beginning of time. We stand upon the centuries of women who were seen as inferior with the responsibility to reclaim our Genesis 1 heritage, that we are not inferior to man but his equal, his polar opposite, and in God's plan, the completion. The two made one, literally (which is why marriage is such a cool picture)

    Our value and worth in God's kingdom extends far beyond marriage and children (though I have both and I do believe they are important) but that God's purposes for us as His daughters are SO MUCH BIGGER than a life stage or a marriage certificate. We have influence, and spiritual daughters, and a voice that is missing in Christian leadership.

    Wow...I am going on too long. And reading back through my comment I very well may have wandered off topic. Oh well...I'm gonna leave it. Let's just say I resonate deeply with your post, am wriggling my way through God's purposes in my own life and am seeing a much, MUCH bigger picture.

    Thank you again and be blessed.