Have you ever found yourself in one of the seasons of life where everyone around you is doing new and exciting things? They are getting new jobs, new opportunities, success in areas of their life and you are not. (or at least you don’t see it!)
These last few weeks I have trawled Instagram and seen happy announcement posts – new ventures, someone picked to be a rep for an amazing company, positivity and excitement all over it. And I felt bitter and angry that it was not that way for me and my family at the moment. I begrudged them their right to be joyful and shout it out, and instead of congratulating them, I ignored it and seethed. Which did not make one ounce of difference to them (as they are Instagram friends who don’t normally see me in person!) but had a huge impact on my own heart.
Then a few days ago God whispered into my ear “other people’s success is not your failure”. I stopped and thought for a second. God was right (isn’t he always!). Just because someone else is succeeding doesn’t automatically make me a failure. It’s not an either/or situation like my head had been telling me previously. Other people can be successful and it doesn’t stop me from being successful too. What does stop me from being successful however is sitting and sulking rather than working hard to achieve something!
It is a well known saying that “comparison is the thief of joy” and truly I can attest to that. I have been reading a book this week called "and the Shofar Blew" by Francine Rivers. It’s been a difficult one to get into as it is quite negative from the start. There are people making mistakes and being bitter and angry about the achievements of others. The over-riding message coming through it for me is to check who I am serving and where my heart is in what I am doing. Am I serving myself and my own reputation (do I want to make my brand and blog bigger just to feel good about myself) or am I doing it for God. If it is for God then I will be happy to see it grow in the way He wants, that will accomplish things for His kingdom and not just build my own reputation. Seeds of bitterness about other people’s success shows that perhaps I hadn’t got God’s motives in mind but my own. And so I am working to bring that back into sight. I will be celebrating the successes of others now, and hopefully with my perspective back in the right place they will be able to celebrate with me too in the years to come as God works through me also.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15