Last year I wrote a post called when it’s hard to be happy for her, that was a genuine reflection of how I was feeling at the time. However, I had this aha moment of realization this past summer when a friend got engaged of “wait… I AM so happy for her!” It was happy tears, not a happy-yet-disheartened, but a genuine cannot-stop-smiling-because-of-how-excited I am for this person. I looked back at other similar things that had happened and noticed that I felt genuine happiness.
So what changed? I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere I begun to stop operating out of a mentality of scarcity and it freed me to start rooting for my friends with 110% capacity, knowing that we’re not all competing over a supply of jobs, guys, whatever it is that’s going to run out… that there is enough, in fact “immeasurably more” than we could imagine (Eph 3:20), to go around.
Maybe it was looking back on relationships that didn’t work out and being so thankful that it wasn’t “my guy” because it freed me to grow and find myself. Or knowing that I wouldn’t want to be the girl standing in the place where it’s someone else’s guy, freeing me to be happy for the two of them when they find each other.
Maybe it was realizing that there’s no “right path” or way to succeed. That no choice or life is perfect, contrary to what we see on social media. That I have time to figure it out and room for failure, because there’s grace to fill in the gaps. Maybe it’s realizing that I’m not in a competition or a box-checking-race to get approval from others. That giving my best doesn’t mean perfection; but it does require giving myself the grace I’d give to a best friend. That looking back, doors that closed were some of the best gifts, and believing the same in my present and future.
I’m hoping this encourages someone today. I’m certain that wherever you are now is not where you imagined yourself five or ten years ago (thanks Covid), but I am certain that you’re not “behind”–that if you’re missing out on something it wasn’t meant for you. That you’re free to be happy for the person it was meant for, trusting something just as good is coming your way (even if it doesn’t look like what you thought it would). That you don’t have to fear that you’re not doing enough because there is grace to fill-in the gaps where you (inevitably) won’t measure up.