Have you ever noticed that there’s a Christian ranking system about what constitutes the best, most holy spiritual activities?
Not that anyone publicly acknowledges this system, but you’ll see it when you get that “look” of judgment from your friends. Like when you opt out of attending a special lecture series put on by your church, or you don’t participate in an outreach event that your campus fellowship is promoting. You know the look–
“Oh. Well, have fun with whatever you’re doing.”
There’s a tendency among Christians to rank those activities that constitute the ultimate in discipleship. And if you aren’t participating in all of these involvements in just the right order and amount, you may incur great judgment from some of your peers.
You might also be the one dispensing that judgment.
In particular, I’ve noticed this occurrence when it comes to fellowship. Fellowship is a Christian practice that we have highly devalued. If you choose to go out with the girls instead of the participating in, say, a 24 hour fast with your church, then your priorities must be WAY out of whack. Girl time is like the J.V. level of Christian discipleship–it’s for the rookies, the lukewarm, the mediocre.
This perspective is also horribly wrong, and let me tell you why:
1. Girl Time is Good For Your Health–Studies have shown that spending time with other women has positive biological effects on your body. God desires that we take care of ourselves, and the women around us, and girl time is a crucial part of that equation. One article explains:
When women are stressed, the hormone oxytocin [known as the “love” hormone] is released as part of the stress response; it buffers the typically male “fight or flight” stress response. Oxytocin production encourages women to gather and gab with other women–and when a woman does bond with her pals, studies indicate she’ll release more oxytocin, which further alleviates stress and creates tranquility.
That’s the good news about female bonding: When we talk to each other, we feel better-at least temporarily. But there’s a bigger picture effect at work. What often occurs in conversation between women, especially under stress, is commiserating. Haven’t you noticed that when you have men, motherhood, or career problems, you tend to gravitate toward friends who have the same kinds of challenges?…Friends who praise and appreciate life together get closer to each other and soar higher in their personal and professional lives. (For whole article click here)
2. Girl Time is a Scriptural Mandate–Ok, so maybe there’s no verse in 2 Chronicles that specifically commands women to spend time together (although Titus 2 comes pretty close!). But what is mandated by Scripture is fellowship. I’m not sure why we’ve come to think of having fun with other Christians as a lesser spiritual practice, but given that Jesus’ final words to his disciples were delivered in the context of a group meal, we can surmise that fellowship is pretty important.
That said, going bowling, going out to dinner, hanging out at a friend’s apartment–all of these activities are valuable forms of Christian fellowship. We may not be explicitly talking about Christ, but the way in which we listen to one another, build one another up, and create an environment of trust has the fingerprints of Christ all over it. The Body of Christ is a refuge of safety and strength, but we’re also allowed to have fun in the process!
So the next time someone tries to make you feel bad for going to the mall with your friends instead of attending a 24 hour prayer vigil or a fund raiser for AIDS in Africa, don’t let them. Granted, you shouldn’t use fellowship as a mask for spiritual laziness. Don’t swing in the opposite direction by never going to ministry events, writing them off as being too boring or self-righteous for you. That is one in the same vice.
But sometimes we need to take care of ourselves, as well as the women around us, and that can mean having a fun night with the girls. Don’t let your pride get in the way of making it a priority–you will be blessed by it!