Joy or Jealousy?
This topic I'm writing about today is one that has caused a lifelong journey of learning for me. It's the topic of rejoicing with and celebrating others. I have to, sadly, admit that I have not been good at this in the past. I remember being a teenager and something great would happen to one of my friends. This combination of emotions would rise up within me. One of them was joy for my friend but another was jealousy or sadness for myself. It sounds so lame writing it out but I know I'm not the only one who struggled or struggles with this.
At an early age there are so many voices feeding us messages of competition, comparison and what it means to be successful. You have to be beautiful & skinny. You have to make a lot of money. You have to take amazing vacations. You have to marry the perfect guy or girl. I could go on but you get the point. These messages are fed to us through media, television, and even people we look up to like parents, teachers, and coaches. Nowadays social media has got to be one of the most provocative forms of fuel for jealousy. We are constantly being bombarded with the best sides of people, their families, their jobs, their vacations, etc.
So I really began to notice my inability to rejoice with and celebrate others when I started trying to get pregnant. One of my closest friends started having babies one after another. With the first baby I could totally celebrate with her because I wasn't trying to get pregnant and didn't have a desire to have kids yet but when the second and third ones came and while I had started trying to get pregnant and wasn't yet I noticed this emotion in me that began to grow. Jealousy eventually took over all my other feelings towards my friend. It took everything in me to talk with her but, eventually, we had a long conversation and I was able to explain to her how I'd been so jealous and she was so gracious and patient with me as I explained my struggle. This was the beginning of me figuring out how to celebrate and rejoice with others. I was tired of carrying those jealous feelings towards people that I sincerely loved and sincerely wanted to be able to celebrate.
God has really used my current lack of children to teach me to celebrate and rejoice with others. I've had to face jealousy head on through the fact that lots and lots of women that I love and care deeply about are getting pregnant or already have kids. So here are some of the major lessons I've learned that I hope you can use to overcome your own inability to celebrate and rejoice with people.
1. God blesses others. He can also bless me.
One of the biggest breakthroughs I received on this journey of learning to rejoice with others came from this revelation. If God can and does bless others then he can and will bless me. Others successes, blessings, promotions, etc. should be a testimony to me of how faithful and loving God is to all of His kids. He DOES NOT show favoritism (Acts 10:34). And just because my brother or sister is being blessed right now doesn't me I am loved less. I am not an orphan left out in the cold by my Father. I am a beloved child of God who has access to an all-powerful and all-sufficient Father.
2. How would I want to be treated?
When I am finally pregnant someday, I sure do hope that the people who say they love me celebrate with me. I would understand if they couldn't but it would also break my heart. Holy Spirit constantly reminds me of this. If I say I truly love the people I say I love and If I say I am a good friend then I will lay down my jealousy to give my friend all that I would want to be given if this were me being blessed in this way. Those we love long for us to partner with them in their joy. They deserve to be celebrated by us.
3. Celebration is a discipline that unlocks your destiny
Celebration can be defined as a "marking". I believe that every time we truly and sincerely celebrate others that we place a stake in the ground and we make a marking in the spiritual realm that says we will not be overtaken by jealousy or fear and that their victory is our victory, their success is our success, their promotion is our promotion. I believe that these are defining moments between you and God. He says, "I can trust her. I can trust him. They understand how my Kingdom works" and as He trusts you He ENTRUSTS more to you. This is a discipline of the spirit. You will be faced with temptation to give in to self-pity and an orphan mentality but there is GREAT reward that comes with celebrating others blessings as if they were your own. You immediately get to experience the joy with them but you will also reap what you sow. And as you sow in celebration so you will reap.
Life is so very short and those who are in our lives are actually the most important blessings to us and to God. Let's not waste another moment being jealous of those we love or those who are in our lives. We all deserve to be celebrated and let's face it, celebration isn't very common in our world today and people are surrounded by strife, jealousy and hate. Let's treat others as we would want to be treated. Let's recognize that if God can bless others He will bless us and let's make a mark in the spiritual realm and sow abundantly and unreservedly in celebration for we will surely reap a harvest of it.