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Women and covenantal relationships

I wrote a blog on accountability and provoked this response from a couple of women about their struggle for covenant: Tami Kesling writes: Women have fallen trap to seeking both accountability and leadership from males opening them both up to many temptations.  I am longing for both co…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I wrote a blog on accountability and provoked this response from a couple of women about their struggle for covenant:

Tami Kesling writes:
Women have fallen trap to seeking both accountability and leadership from males opening them both up to many temptations.  I am longing for both covenantal lady friends and a strong female spiritual mentor, so what is the answer?   

Carol Chambers writes:

Women are not good at this stuff on the whole and I find it bizarre. I have been in deeper, open relationships with other women and yet none of them lasted.  Whereas it is supposed to be women who are good at talking deep personal stuff and men are supposed to struggle with that, preferring football and beer to anything remotely intimate, I find the converse is often true. There aren’t that many women I know who are secure enough to both be loving but to also dare to say and hear the tougher stuff.  Many women are too scared of losing their friends to handle the depth of mutual accountability. 

One woman I know, Jennifer Smith, has seen success in developing covenantal relationships, so I asked her to explain how she developed them. Here’s what she wrote: 

The greater part of my life, I viewed women as competition. I struggled with insecurities. I had little confidence in who I was as a woman.
 
I look up to a lot of men as leaders, Seth being one of them; but making a man your accountability partner is not a trap, it is plain stupid. A man can never “understand” the emotional and physical aspects of a woman, just as we can’t a man. We are not designed that way.

You may ask, “How can you find both covenantal lady friends and a strong female spiritual mentor?” Personally, I have three sets of friends/mentor/accountability partners.

1.    My mentor – This person is everything a mentor should be. She advises me, counsels me, and teaches me about everything in life. I believe this person should be older than you… hence mentor… experience…
 
2.    A group of five accountability partners (I’m the sixth) – These are my absolute best friends! They no everything about me. They have walked alongside of me through thick and thin. They have dropped everything to come to me, literally, as I have them. We have cried, laughed, grown, traveled, and speak into one-another’s lives daily! We have an open-book and strictest of honesty policy. All things go! Oh yeah, we are all different ages.
 

3.    A single woman – Unlike my five above friends who are all happily married, this girl is single and has the same longings as I do. Beings this is a huge deal, we spend time together every Monday night via phone talking, asking, and digging into to our lives and end in prayer.

The key is to make it a lifestyle of demand! I have lived this lifestyle for seven years! Now before you say, “I don’t have time for all that,” let me tell my busyness for the last 7 yrs: I work a full time job, I’ve gone/go to school, I have a teenage son, I travel at least 2x a month to speak and preach in churches, prisons and schools, have been on multiple missions trips, church activities, I teach, I serve, I LIVE!

I understand busyness in life, but how much am I willing to be committed to a friendship that I desperately need?!?!? Jesus was committed enough to die on the cross. You have to make the time as if your life depended on it!

You may say, “We lack strong spiritual women leaders.”  My response is that we have fallen victim to the “submission” word. Yes, we are to submit; yes, we are to be lady-like. However, we are to also dream dreams, see visions and prophesy. I have seen a rise in women leaders lately. Also, there are many strong women who are Christian icons that we can look up to like Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Luci Swindoll, Patsy Clairmon; the list goes on, and it that is not enough, do a study on Deborah and Esther. As for in your church or your circle, if there are not any strong leaders, then be one yourself. Make disciples ~ Reproduce! It has to start somewhere. Let God use you.

I hear people say, “You have to trust the person you are sharing with” as an excuse (I’ve been guilty) to live an isolated life. I propose a question, can a person actually stick with you through “it all?” What expectations am I putting on humans? Can I be there for someone’s all? I can try and try I do, but sometimes I fall short.

Comments (4)

  • “Fallen victim to the submission word” – hmmm. Maybe some have, agreed. Personally I think men and women were both made in the image of God, both supplying different aspects of that image, so both are as valid and as needed as each other. But yes, you have to be under authority in order to safely exercise authority, whether male or female.

    I love what you have there, Jen. Sounds excellent. And I agree that you can’t have a mentor of the opposite sex, whereas you can have a good friend and encourage and teach each other, no problem. The deeper understanding is wired differently from guys to girls, as you say.

    Your experience is quite a full on one, which obviously works very well for you. I imagine there are many creative ways to develop these kind of relationships. You can be deep and committed without it necessarily being time consuming on a weekly basis. There will be as many ways as there are women. The important part is the commitment.

    Whereas lack of trust can be an excuse for not opening up, it is an important factor. You can’t expect the level of faithfulness and constancy from any human being that you get from God. No-one can be God to you. But the important part of your comment is your heart attitude. You know you won’t get it right every time, but you want to. If you have that, you are trustworthy. That kind of gentleness, truthfulness and humility are important characteristics to look for I think, both in other people and in yourself.

  • Amen Carol. And I totally agree to being under authority with others; but women have a tendancy to think that they have to submit to everybody; I have seen it too many times. That’s simply the point I’m trying to make there.

    I have a WONDERFUL thing going! Why? Because I work at it. The relationships I have are not time consuming, though we’ve spent considerable amounts of time together. Like any relationship, when you genuinely love someone, you want to be with them! Like Jesus… I spend chunks and chunks of time with Him.

    Trust is not always earned. However, one does “build” trust!
    If there is a lack of trust, then either the person one is not trusting did something to break that, or there is a wall up, and I won’t let people in so I can trust. I’m not going to pour my heart out at first, just like I wouldn’t kiss on the first date… BUILD… Just my opinion

    Thanks, Carol, for your feedback! You always have wonderful things to say 🙂

  • Thanks, Jen – you are very kind.

    Very interesting point there about trust not always earned but built. Like that – very helpful. Bless you, lovely lady :))) lol Cxx

  • Seth, what a great topic… thanks for expanding it and including Jen for all this great insight! I emailed that section from your other blog off to my best friend thanking her for being part of my network and teaching me how to do all that. It is so tough being open and not letting the fear of being judged close you off… but man does it fell good when you’re finally getting those well established footholds out into the light! Thanks again!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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