“ But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.”” 2 Cor 12:9 TPT
Why is it hard at times, to celebrate the ones rising higher than us? Perhaps it is easy to love and feel compassion for those going through apparently harder times than we – but what of feeling just as warmly towards the ones who are rising, who are in a season of apparently reaping the good they have sown? Admittedly, this is something I fall victim to from time to time; it feels somewhat like a thorn in the flesh; I have to acknowledge the sting of its arrival in order to find what I need to then redirect my energies away from the bitterness it produces.
Interestingly, within certain contexts and seasons, I personally find it easier to be in a position of hardship, than a position of power – somehow it offers a more certain place of people feeling warmly, albeit out of pity, towards me rather than distasteful. In these times, I get a sense that if I were to rise up as a stronger me – there’s a large chance I will be faced with disapproval from the world around me. The risk is high.
Contrarily within other contexts and places, I find it easier to appear to be in a position of ease, rather than hardship; a place where hardship feels threatening and power feels comfortable. Somehow it gives me the freedom of appearing to the people as successful and clever, rather than struggling and weak. In these times, I get a sense that if I were to allow the hardship hidden below to leak out, I would be faced with frowning faces and rolling eyes. Here too, the risk is high.
I sort of notice something similar about both though; they stem out of a sort of fear; of keeping up appearances; of being something we are not for the sake of the world around, but not for the sake of being honest with ourselves. And I know when I experience both, they come also with an underlying sadness or frustration that is unable to find its way out. I think that’s what it feels like not giving truth its space. What would it look like to be in a genuine season of hardship and let that be? What would it look like to be in a season of flourishing – and to also, let that be? Moreover, what would it look like to let them be, without the presence of the poison of shame taunting our current experience?
I think vulnerability is what both seasons would feel like. The risk to be real is indeed, high. At least if we are fake and dishonest about how our now looks and feels, people won’t be rejecting something of our essence, right? But what happens to our essence when we consistently deny our truth the freedom to be as it is?
If we are honest, indeed with ourselves, but also with others about acknowledging without a sense of shame, how our now-story looks and feels, perhaps some people will feel distasteful, jealous or insecure as a result. Our human now-stories are messy and laced with bad and good, after all. But I would think through the honouring of our truth, whatever shameful secret that may or may not reveal – love now has a real chance; grace is offered the space to move; encouragement has a landing spot; criticism becomes a powerful change agent rather than a threat. Our degree of honesty about our now, I think, just might pave the way for the entry of new life, of which I believe, God -The Divine, is the source.
Does this perhaps speak to why it might be hard to celebrate the rising and success of others? Does our own sense of where we are positioned affect how we feel in comparison to another’s? If we are in a season of hardship – might we find it harder to celebrate the ones who are currently winning? The ones reaping the goods we ourselves had hoped to have seen and known long ago?
Perhaps people become less threatening to us, when we have found the courage to plant our feet into our own two shoes – to stick upon our own path whichever season we are walking within. Perhaps the sting of jealousy towards those around us could merely be a gentle reminder from Grace himself; to stop trying to squash our hurting, tired feet into shoes that were never ours to fill, and to instead place them back into the ones tailor-made specifically for us – fit for the nature of our now-story, for our own path. People we may indeed be afraid of in revealing our truth, but of God we need not be. As we are honest with ourselves, whether rising or falling, so too can God meet us; and he, we can be sure, brings not the poison of shame, but the breath of life.
“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!” John 10:10 TPT