Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:14
It’s not a complicated assignment.
- When something goes haywire for a friend or neighbor, feel their pain. Help bear the load of grief, loneliness, or frustration.
- When they are happy about something good, smile. High 5’s all around. Cheer and carry on. Whoop it up.
Not complicated or tricky.
But I’m not always good at it.
I am an accomplished weeper … a veteran when it comes to helping someone in distress or someone who has suffered loss. I can be an attentive and understanding listener. I’ll gladly make a meal for a grieving family or help with a trip to the airport. I have experienced some significant life losses and disappointments, so I have a pretty good idea about how to comfort those in need. Yes, I’m a good weeper.
It’s rejoicing with winners that gets a little sketchy.
You would think that being genuinely happy for someone you love who has reached their goal or found what was lost would come naturally. And I am generally quite tickled when I hear about the new job or the new baby or good news from the doctor.
But I have somewhat darker feelings about some other kinds of “good news.” Hearing about Little Miss So-and-So’s writing or publishing success doesn’t always create a soft warm fuzzy in my heart. And when a creative I know, or know about, enjoys an audience big enough that they have to use that K after a two-digit number, well, I have another Dove dot and try to find some funny YouTubes.
The truth is, as much as we like to think of ourselves as cheerleaders and loyal supporters – you know, Jesus with skin on – don’t we often find ourselves the tiniest bit envious and just a tad annoyed about someone else’s good fortune?
Why is it so hard to just be happy for those who are rejoicing? for those who have worked hard or waited long for the good news?
I mean, I’m working hard, too. I’m attending webinars, praying every day, asking for guidance and ideas, staring at a blank screen in anticipation of a breakthrough. Baring my heart and soul to a yet-to-be-determined audience.
And, I get maybe 3 comments.
Besides, that one blogger… does she really need more followers? and comments? and “Likes”? And another book deal? Seriously? Isn’t everyone gaga’ed enough over her?
The frustration mounts with every new story: His artwork is where? How many did they sell? She got published already?
So here’s the question: What’s really going on? Why is it that our disappointments are magnified by others’ joy? Why can’t I just be happy for them – the people I love and respect?
Is it envy? Is it greed? It could be either or both.
But I really fear that it is pride. Because the very success of their situation as compared to mine makes me feel “less than.” Like I’m not good enough for goodness or happiness or success.
And the crazy thing is that most of the time what she got is not what I want. At all! A book deal? Are you kidding me? Right now, the thought of writing enough stuff to fill a book is, well, just WOW.
When someone else talks about their latest, so exciting opportunity, I can feel myself turn the slightest shade of green. Because, remember, the measure of my success is based on a comparison to everyone else who writes.
And if I’m not being recognized far and wide for my awesome ninja writing skills, well, where are you people?
I deserve to be noticed.
I am good enough…
We hear a lot about good enough lately. So, I did a little research. One of the synonyms for enough is adequate.
Adequate? I think NOT.
LysaTerkeurist recently wrote about this. I love it:
Never ever for one second did God look at us and say, “My goal for this one is to simply be good enough.”
No. I’m not just good enough, just adequate.
I’m a treasured child of the most High God. And what He will do in my life must be up to Him – the only audience that matters. (I talk more about that here.)
So I’m praying that God will grant me the grace to jump off that high horse of pride. Because the next time I hear about your good fortune, I want to do a big ol’ gen-u-wine happy dance of delight. I want to have so much practice that my dancing shoes wear thin. I want to just bust out dancing every single time you bring good news.
Even news about your latest book deal.