Let’s face it, we all want to do well in life and receive praise or promotion for our hard work. So when I see someone else succeed in life, even if it’s a good friend, it can bring the temptation to feel not like I'm not doing enough or that I am not enough. Deep down I want to be happy for that person, but if I'm honest, sometimes my heart can lag in catching up to what the Spirit is telling me. It can be easy to slap on a smile and manage to say the obligatory “Congratulations, so happy for you!” But God is not satisfied with the outward appearance of obedience but my inward attitude.
What do we do when we see others around us flourishing with opportunity, basking in promotion, and glowing with good news? How do we get to a place of sincere happiness for them and joy for ourselves? It can be easier said than done, but here are five markers that have helped me stay on the path to rooting for others even when I feel like I'm stuck in a rut:
1. Gratitude Journal
Keep a journal where you can list off specific things you are grateful for in your own life. Write in it at the end of each day or keep it with you and jot things down as they come to mind. I find that when I reflect on all the great things God is doing in my life I will see that I've got a lot to be thankful for. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. “ 1 Chronicles 16:34. Seeing a record of God’s past faithfulness to you will keep you encouraged about His present and future faithfulness.
2. Position Doesn’t Mean Purpose
I remind myself that my worth and value as a person is not tied to the external praises of men. It’s easy (and nice) to feel a sense of validation connected to my position, but I must first know that I already have infinite worth and immeasurable value through my relationship with Jesus; nothing and no one could ever add to that. From God’s viewpoint, position is not that same thing as purpose. Jesus “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,” 2 Timothy 1:9. Do not strive for a position, but seek your purpose and Jesus will give you ultimate fulfillment.
3. Commend Others
I love this one! I like to make it a daily habit to put me aside and shine the recognition spotlight on someone else. Something as simple as acknowledging others for their great work or complimenting them on Instagram can go a long way in my heart. Be aware of the fruitful things other people do and commend them for it! Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Making it a habit to recognize the good things others are doing will help you see the hand of God in their life and keep bitterness from taking root in your own heart.
4. Don’t Compete
Another person’s gain is not my loss. Instead of seeing them as competition, I am inspired by their example and dig deeper in the Lord. Most times we will never fully know the hardships, faithfulness, endurance, or challenges someone faced to get where they are. Let their achievements bring a sense of motivation to help you continue to work hard, pursue your purpose, set bigger goals, or soberly evaluate changes you need to make. At the end of the day, we are all destined to run our own race in life and running it faithfully, not quickly, is what secures our reward. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin, which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1.
5. Just Do You
If comparison is the thief of joy (Theodore Roosevelt), then comparing myself or my life to someone else’s will only kill my vibes and rob my joy (I know we've all been there). There is only one YOU, and you have your own gifts, talents, and skills to offer this world; only you can fulfill what you are meant to. As someone who has wasted too much time being someone other than who God created me to be, I can tell you that it's not worth it. "Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for Him with all their hearts” Psalm 119:2. Thank God for who you are in Him (strengths, weaknesses, personality quirks and all) and serve Him with joy and thanksgiving.
Retaining joy and peace when we’re in a rut is possible; not only that, it is our right as children of God, so we won't let anything steal what is rightfully ours. These tips have helped me keep a right heart and be genuinely happy for others' successes in life so I hope they helped you too.
How do you root for and celebrate others?