I have a confession. I’m a recovering Hater. OMG, I can’t believe I just typed that.
I’m getting better, but sometimes struggle to be happy for other athletes’ success if mine aren’t experiencing the same or greater success. Ugh – now you know my terrible secret.
I’ve asked God to help me, but inevitably those horrible feelings creep in from time to time. As if someone else’s shine somehow diminishes my own children’s success. How many times do we do that in everyday life? Someone gets a promotion? A new car? New home? Another straight A report card proudly posted on social media (I admit, this one gets me frequently, as I wish my A/B students would just once give me an opportunity to post their perfect scores).
As I looked to the Word of God for direction for how I handle my feelings, I kept coming back to today’s Steady State verse – one that I’ve known most of my life, but never really paid much attention to. On one particular day, I was still contemplating why I couldn’t shake the negative feelings I was having at someone else’s recent success – and I implored the Holy Spirit to speak to me. And right there He revealed to me – it was due to my selfishness and self-centered thoughts. I was interpreting the success of another as a reflection on me (or my family) and not understanding that it was just truly about the other person. If only I would take myself out of the equation, I could easily be happy and rejoice with and for someone else.
Was it that simple? Was I able to easily shake off those selfish thoughts when the opportunity came to celebrate someone else’s success? Not at first. But what helped was that every time I felt those ugly feelings creeping in, I had to shut them down simply by telling myself
“It’s not even ABOUT you!” Or sometimes a different emphasis –
“It’s not EVEN about you!”
And the more I reprimanded myself in the moment, the feelings would scatter, and I could celebrate and enjoy others’ successes.
And in recent months, I was able to sincerely celebrate the recent scholarship signings for many of our friends’ children to big name D-1 schools on athletic scholarships, even while continually fighting off fearful thoughts about my own child’s future.
Their success had nothing to do with mine or my husband’s or our children’s success. Their shine didn’t dim our light. We were the same people after their success as we were before. And furthermore, our identity should be tied to who God created us to be, and not our performance.
So, I implore you to rejoice and celebrate with your friend, neighbor, co-worker, and teammate on their success – no hating is necessary. Let’s work on being amazing cheerleaders for our circles of influence.
I believe God smiles when we overcome our selfish tendencies and show we have a heart for others. And then He can freely trust us to handle the success He has planned for our lives, while keeping us humble enough to remember that every blessing comes from Him.
Are you able to be happy for someone else’s success, even if you aren’t experiencing any in your life?
How does your thinking need to change, in order to celebrate those around you? Pray and ask God to provide direction if you need help in this area, and then practice your new way of thinking!