Why do feel we must berate and belittle other's success? View it as a threat? Assume that person didn't walk through fire to get there? COMPARE? Maybe it's because we feel their success devalues our own? Or perhaps they're rubbing our faces in it while we walk around in limbo wondering who tattooed LOSER on our foreheads?
I was struck by a couple examples this week.
1. I saw a post about a health fitness guru who looked nary a day over 21, had three children under the age of 3 and if you wanted, you could run a spoon over her abs and play beautifully toned music. The accusation toward this well-fit beauty is bragging. Well, maybe somewhere she did brag. I went on her site. I didn't see it. What I read was a woman who went through years of eating disorders, extreme self-esteem issues, desperate to find love ... hurt, pain, agony. Now she's publicly celebrating her rise from her personal dismal pit. Her poster asks, "What's your excuse?" It's poignant. I have a lot of excuses. In reality, I can make time to look like her. I can cut back on my sleep. I can eat better. If I want to, I can. I choose not to. That's my fault--not hers.
And yet we hate her for looking hot. Hate you, lady, hate you, braggart. Fail, why don't you? Don't make me out to be a loser and don't take joy in your accomplishments!
2. Someone was bemoaning being a stay at home mom the other day. The mounds of laundry, the children grappling at her ankles, her unfinished bathroom, the craft pile on the kitchen table, then she rejoiced in the fact she was able to take her kids to the water park for an afternoon of fun!...really? Take all that and add 40+ hours of full time work on top of it and WELCOME TO MY LIFE LADY!! After I heaved a patient sigh and bit back every ounce of sarcasm, I went home. To my stay-at-home plus work like crazy youth pastor husband. Frazzled. Dishes were done. Toys were hanging off the ceiling fan. Mounds of his projects that would keep him up until midnight. Laundry all over the bed. Kids as cranky as ... well ... yeah.
Yet I dealt with three people threatening to quit, put out 50+ fires, wrote policies, all so I could bring home the bacon and here is my house--a wreck--and I have to clean it up too? Not to mention people say I should be home with my kids like a good mother. I watch while my husband shovels supper in his mouth, packs his stuff up and scrambles out the door for a meeting leaving me with child on hip and another one yelling, "Watch me MOMMY!" as she slides across the kitchen floor in a spray of milk from her sippy cup. Today was a success because we're a family. A functional, working together to make things work, family.
And we hate working moms who have so much "alone time" away from the kids. Must be nice while I'm stuck here at home doing laundry everyday and my life amounts to nothing. And we hate stay at home moms who get overwhelmed by keeping a house clean 'cause they're too busy wasting time on Pinterest. Must be nice to be home all day while I'm stuck making money.
Comparisons are evil, friends. Suckers of joy. And it makes us into bitter people. Proverbs states that "bitterness dries up the bones". It does. And it colors our lives green with envy or hate. WE ALL have our stories. Our personal pains. That I had the stamina to make it through something that seems heavier than yours is ... well, the grace of God. SO why am I taking pride in it? OR lauding my trials over your successes and saying you're a jerk or I'm a loser or ... or ... or ...
Frankly. We ALL have a story. And when we achieve a success, whether it's folded laundry, getting home on time from work, or losing 20 lbs, why can't we rejoice with each other instead of listing out the twenty reasons your a dumdum for bringing up your success in the first place?
SO LET'S STOP with thinking we've walked in the other person's shoes. We haven't. We don't know the conversations that took place behind closed doors to bring that person to where they are today.
The woman who cried into her pillow at night because her daddy told her she was fat.
The wife who weeps at how hard her husband works just so she can be home and invest in her children.
The wife who works hand in hand with her husband to make ends meet and still have a cohesive home life and ministry.
The skinny lady who still thinks she's gargantuan.
The homemaker who feels like a failure.
The working mom who just misses her kids.
The writer who can't land an agent.
The writer who DID land an agent.
... insert your story here ...
They're all stories that make up God's big book of humanity waiting for the day to be perfected. In the meantime, we can rejoice with each other, or become haters.
Today, I choose to be a lover...a lover of the souls God created and the beautiful successes all around...how 'bout you?
Here's to stay at home moms who keep their head above water.
Here's to working moms who maintain sanity saying 'goodbye' to their kids every morning.
Here's to people who dropped 20 lbs.
Here's to people who made it out of bed this morning.
...or rather.. HERE'S TO GOD! Who gives us the grace to have any success at all. It is His. His successes. His glory. For the great I AM. Shame on us, for trying to to make it our own.
Ok. I'm done. 'nuf said.