The Importance of Rejoicing with Others

I never understood how people don't rejoice with others. If you get something I want, well let's praise God because now you're evidence that it’s possible. You’re a testimony for me to hold on to. I can now pray knowing that God who did it for you can do it for me.

Then last year something odd happened, for the first time that I can remember in my life as a Christian, I was actually envious of someone. Like don't get me wrong, in the past I have seen and known people that had something I wanted, but my natural response has been to celebrate and rejoice with them. For example, I want to get married. Let’s be real. I've wanted to get married for a while and I've watched quite a few people around me get married, but their engagements, weddings, marriages and kids have always been such a joyful thing for me. It has been something to look forward to as opposed to be something that would cause me to be discontent with my life and resentful of them.

However, in the case of this stranger. And I mean a complete stranger. I'd seen her on social media, but I didn't even follow her. I knew and still know next to nothing about this woman and somehow, I'd seen something online and within seconds I got the impression that she was getting everything I'd ever wanted and instead of my usual response of "go girl" or "praise Jesus", I felt some type of way. I don't even know how else to describe it, but to say, "I felt some type of way". As I write this now, I’m acutely aware of how ridiculous this was. This woman was a stranger. I had no idea about what difficulties she might have been dealing with. Yet there was a negative energy bubbling up inside me, rising up from my stomach, through my chest and it somehow left an odd taste on my tongue. It felt so strange to me, but that’s how I became one of those people that I didn't understand. I didn't know how to rejoice with this beautiful young woman who was just killing it at life and being blessed.

At that time, I did the only thing I could do. I scrubbed her from my social media, because if I didn't see her then the felling would have to go away. Right?

And it did. I was back to being me. I was joyfully loving and celebrating others. In fact, I forgot all about this slight hiccup till months later, when one of her posts snuck on to my Instagram and instantaneously there it was. The bubbling was back in my stomach and it was rising up. I couldn't ignore it this time, so I did the only thing I could do. I clicked on to her feed and I started looking at the pictures of the things that made me so envious. As I kept looking the feeling remained, but then there was a small part of my mind that whispered, "good for you". I kept scrolling and scrolling and then there was a picture that changed that whisper to a slightly louder "that's beautiful" and before I knew it, I was double tapping because I was proud to see her succeed.

In the middle of this, the bubbling in my stomach still remained, but it wasn't rising anymore. I could no longer taste the bitterness in my mouth. So again, I did the only thing I could do. I followed her. I chose to continue to celebrate her. I decided that the bubbling in my stomach was not my problem. When that decides it wants to go then it will go, but I refused to succumb to it.

And here's where I'll refer back to my opening line. I still don't understand how people don't rejoice with others. I have a better understanding of the emotion behind it, but emotions are emotions. Not only am I a grown woman, but I'm a grown woman of God. So, when I see anyone else succeeding, especially another woman, I choose to celebrate. Whether I like it or not, I choose to be proud of them. I choose to hold on their testimony while trusting God for my own. I celebrate you and I hope that when my time comes that you will celebrate with me too.

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