Why Your Tribe Needs to Include Women Who Don’t Know the Tribe Trend

#Tribe seems to be one of the things I am constantly inundated with on Instagram these days. It’s usually attached to a photo of a few teenage or twenty-somethings making duck faces or just loving life in general. While I am a huge fan of Christian community, I fear that we are limiting ourselves if our “tribe” only consists of people familiar with the tribe trend.

Communities are not built around people who are exactly the same. Diversity is a beautiful thing. We are all aware that we should seek to surround ourselves with people who look and think differently than we do. We look for diversity in ethnicity and, if we’re really edgy, political views, but too often, the limit to that diversity is age.

Ladies, we need to step up our diversity game.

When you survey your friends, is there anyone in a different life stage than yourself? Is there anyone significantly older or younger who might be able to provide a different perspective than you and your peers have?

We’ve all read the Titus 2 exhortation for old women to train the younger women in Godliness. There is a strong disconnect from Scripture if we think this is only in the context of formal Bible studies. Throughout Scripture, training is seen in the context of relationships. Elijah brought Elisha alongside him to be trained. Jesus spent three years traveling with and training His disciples. Paul trained Timothy through a close, friendship relationship. If we want to live out Titus 2, we need to develop close relationships with people in different stages of life.

Deep community and meaningful instruction can only come through the open vulnerability unique to friendships. Women in other stages of life, both older and younger, have perspectives to add. They see life from a different angle. Blindspots, which are a certainty for each generation, tend to vary. When we are building community with people in different ages, they are able to help us see where our blindspots lie.

Older women, this requires sacrifice. It often means putting aside what you want and doing the hard work of building friendships. Depending on your stage of life, it might mean pushing back your children’s regular schedule to grab lunch or dinner or neglecting your own bedtime to engage in conversation with a night owl. Many times, you will have to be the initiator in these relationships. Do the brave, vulnerable work of being the first one to extend your hand in friendship.

Younger women, our generation has lost the art of hospitality. Open your homes or apartments or even host someone at a local park. Practice opening up and inviting people into your life. Invite people over for dinner even if your house is insufficient. Be the woman who offers whatever you have in service to others. And never forget that you are the “older woman” to someone just behind you.

But we need to reach beyond age differences. If we want to strengthen our tribe, we need to humble ourselves and open ourselves up to learning. We need to foster friendships of different ethnicities, political views, and economic circles. Our lives are limited. Let’s bring people into our lives who can speak into our lives and spur us on in the path towards Godliness.

When we practice building these friendships, we strengthen our circle. Life will bring many unexpected challenges but when we build community beyond those like ourselves, we are strengthened.

I have seen this play out in my own life. When my husband and I were diagnosed with infertility, we were the first of our peer group to bear that burden. I am so grateful for the women, older than myself, whom I am friends with because in this time, several of them were able to identify with that struggle and share with me their experiences. They pointed me to Christ and filled me with hope.

Our struggles are never meant to be born by us alone. Christ has filled us with His Holy Spirit and equipped us with the Church, His hands and feet on this earth, to be strengthened and supported. I hope that as you build your deep community, your tribe, that you are able to find strength, wisdom, and beauty in diversity.

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  1. Wow what a great article. It really spoke to me as a 40 something, having a adult generation behind me and one ahead of me that I am able to socialize with both. This is an age where many woman are having to learn balance between allowing the younger generation to learn and that its ok to lean on the older generation. Thank You…..

  2. Great words of admonition! Love the Titus 2 reference and discipleship examples from Scripture. I feel somewhat conflicted about the “tribe” trend, as it automatically implies exclusion, but also illustrates the reality and importance of close relationships. Thank you for emphasizing the need to seek others different from ourselves and draw them into deeper, purposeful community.

    • It does imply exclusion but I think you’re right, it also illustrated the closeness and unity. We need each other. Let’s focus on that and be a welcoming, unifying “tribe.”

  3. This is an interesting take on friendship. I’m 46 and just moved to a new country. I’m making friends with older and younger women, and it feels good to have a wider circle of friends.

    • Moving is such a hard transition! I hope you’re able to find a beautiful, Godly community in your new country.

  4. So true, that diversifying your friends is important. I have a hard time making friends with ladies who are older than me, but something I need to work on.

    • Can I tell you a secret? It’s hard for me too. I always worry that they don’t want to be friends with someone my age or will think I’m immature. But I am always so grateful when I vulnerably step out and trust God.

  5. This is beautiful. I also really like how you have presented the idea of “older” women (I am only 40 myself…old enough to know what you mean!) taking this on as a responsibility. So much of what you have shared resonates with me. And, as proof in the pudding, I am not someone from the tribe that is quite possibly your day-to-day audience. I am someone who keeps my faith personal. I am not a member of a specific church, I draw on several religions for my strength and spirituality. I look for the good in each person, the spark that makes them shine, and so I have friends from many walks of life.

    • Alison, Thank you so much for sharing! It’s so encouraging to hear that this resonated with you.

  6. As a 40 something with friends ranging from 30 something to 60″ish” I am learning to grow my own tribe. It’s a lot different from what I thought it would be, and although we all share common interests, we are all SO different. I seem to find that wither myself or my friend Ilene are the initiators and the glue that binds our tribe and seeks to add diversity in numbers (small numbers) to our group. Proof positive, last night I hosted 8 beautiful women at different stages of life, careers, and responsibilities. We ate, drank, chatted, and laughed a lot. We shared the good stuff. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. This post definitely takes a new spin to frindship. Nonethless it is empowering and I love the strength in your words!

    ww.nmdiaries.com

  8. Yes, it is so easy to stay in our comfort zone and never move outside of it. But, that is how we grow. I love the idea of being disciplined and taught by the older women who are much wiser that we are. We all should have someone who is wiser than us pouring into our lives. Thanks for your post!

    • We definitely all need someone pouring into our lives and we need to turn and pour into those younger than us. It’s a big calling!

  9. I agree with this and feel that our day in time and all the technology we have often time actually inhibits our relationships. Conversations and time spent together are not the same anymore!

    • We definitely need to make an intentional effort to put away the phones, open up our homes, and engaged in true friendships.

  10. This is huge. I wish our church focused on this more. I feel it happening slowly but the waking up stage is vital and I believe that is where we are right now. (My home church I mean!) Sometimes you have to “discover” you need to refocus before you can do the important next step. I am pinning this!

  11. This is awesome 🙂 I totally agree! I think once you have passed the mid 20s it is easy to relate to so many different age groups. I still feel like teenager sometimes yet I have lots of friends that are early 40s as well. At some point age becomes just a number and the person you have become defines you more than simply your age. Learning from each other is so important.

  12. This is such good advice! And I’m pleased to say I’m blessed with a lot of different friends around me who can support and encourage me in my journey 🙂

    • We certainly are loosing our ability to be with those unlike ourselves. I hope we can each do our part to regain that ability.

  13. I love this post! You’re right diversity in ones tribe makes for more of a richer experience. Variety is the spice of life as the saying goes. My friends vary from different countries and walks of life. We all learn so much from each other.

  14. This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with in my own life and blog! I feel intimidated by sharing to women older, and I stay too much in my own lane. It’s as if I expect my inexperience to somehow devalue our interactions. This is challenging me to step out with more confidence in my life and even in my blog! Thank you!

    • Brittany, That made my morning! You reminded me of 1 Timothy 4: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

      You have unique gifts and wisdom to offer the Kingdom of God. I hope that you can reach up and back to serve and love those in different lanes of life.

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