I clapped and cried, rocked hard, gave high five’s, shouted and sang, laughed and hugged through the joy and deliverance from pain this past weekend. Friday, I met with my discipleship daughters and we basked in God’s great love for us in spite of the messiness of our lives. And we surrendered to the conviction from His Holy Spirit in prayer and praise. Yes, we all rejoiced.
Saturday, my son Joshua won a community service award from the Urban League of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan and I clapped, shouted, cried and snapped, texted and posted photos as I rejoiced over the mighty work God is doing in my son.
Sunday, I celebrated, along with a host of incredible women of God, the coming child of one of my discipleship daughters. Our testimonies and confessions blessed one another as we rejoiced over the privilege to shower our sister with the blessings that the Lord has given to us.
These Friday, Saturday and Sunday events made it easy for me to rejoice as I love the women I’m privileged to lead and adore the boy God birthed through me. But, I must admit, rejoicing with others is not always that easy for me. And realizing this has not been that easy for me.
See I am the motivator, the one people come to for encouragement and guidance and love. I’m the one who will help you see what God put in you and help you use it to do what He’s called you to do. I host gatherings, make calls and meals so others feel special and welcome. These I do easily and thought ‘This is me’ until I began to see a side of me that surprised me.
When I began following a blog that started a minute ago and it had 15,000 subscribers and I had 58 subscribers after four years of blogging, I didn’t want to rejoice with my blog sister.
When another blogger began blogging after I did and she gets dozens of comments and I hardly get any, I didn’t want to rejoice with my sister.
When things are happening for others and I think those things should be happening for me it’s hard for me to rejoice. (That was hard to type.) I don’t want to take anything from them; I just want what I think I should get to come to me. And when it doesn’t, I struggle to follow the biblical commands to rejoice with those who rejoice and to rejoice always (Romans 12:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:16). I think about the time when I finally do get what I think I should get and others rejoice WITH ME. I told my discipleship daughters this and relief swept their faces, and they all exhaled. They have felt this way, too, and just were glad they weren’t the only ones battling this ugly, sinful, unbiblical thinking. We may not want harm to come to others, like King Saul did with David, but this covetous thinking puts us in a category with King Saul.
No matter the degree of our covetousness, we still can’t rejoice the way we should rejoice for those who do better than we do. All while we are clapping and congratulating, we are still thinking we want to also be the ones who people rejoice over. We should have people singing and dancing over our 10,000s—like they did for David—and not just our 1,000s—like they did for Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-8). We may not throw a javelin at the one who does better than we like Saul did to David, but we toss looks and have thoughts that clearly keep us from rejoicing with others as God commands.
So what do we do? Remember, that God has given us all gifts, but we will not use them the same way nor use them for the same purpose (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). It stands to reason, then, that we will not get the same results someone else will get. If we are both being obedient to God in our calling, the results others get are the results they are supposed to get and the results we get are the results we are supposed to get. There can be no comparison. Everyone is unique and results we receive are uniquely designed for us. In my case, my lack of subscribers and commenters helped me see I had a problem with coveting that I had no idea was there. I was paying attention to the wrong audience instead of the only audience that matters—God. When we focus on God and what He has for us, then we can easily rejoice with those who rejoice, no matter where we are in our success. That truly is a radical act of love.
Take a Risk Challenge: Rejoice for someone you would normally not rejoice for by exhibiting an open display of love (such as having flowers sent to their job, taking them to dinner, or, like in my case, writing a comment on their blog how proud I am of the blogger’s success at moving people to action.).
My One Thousand Gifts List
LaTonya Glover for having a spirit-filled, scripturally-based, illustrated sermon
Watching Pride and Prejudice
Beans & Franks
Flynn grocery shopping
Flynn’s hilarious Mother’s Day card for me
Nate arising at 9:15 a.m.
Nate asking me if I wanted to sing “How Great is Our God”
Being on time to church despite my help being late
Selling 24 books at church