She's excelling in her calling.
She's engaged and soon to be married.
She got that promotion at work.
She was invited to be a guest speaker.
Her audience is growing day by day.
You're not sure of your purpose.
Your boyfriend hasn't popped the question.
You haven't been promoted.
You weren't considered to guest speak.
Your audience is stagnant, in fact, your followers are reducing.
It irks you to see her win. I know, we know and perhaps have all had that thought of 'why her and not me' swirling around in our shattered hearts.
You want to genuinely clap and comment on her latest announcement, but the keyboard is burning the tips of your fingers in a moment of joy stealing comparison syndrome.
In those moments you may find yourself thinking of a million (unfruitful) ways to up your game, work harder to catch up or have something to show the world that you're worthy too. But that's precisely what will avail - unfruitfulness. Because in that moment of jealousy and not having the ability to celebrate those around you who are in their season of consecutive wins - you're storing up for yourself bitter lemons and a look from God that says 'behave yourself'.
So how does one combat and overcome comparison in order to celebrate?
Firstly, realising who we are and whose we are will help us to understand and identify with the fact that each of us is created unique. And in that same line, realising that we are all in different seasons of that said uniqueness. A moment of promotion for one is a season of preparation for another.
Secondly, having a heart of gratitude and contentment for our portion helps us to be filled with joy irrespective of other peoples achievements. This doesn't mean we cannot strive to want more for ourselves BUT it doesn't subtract from our joy and cause bouts of jealousy to arise if what we desire has fallen on someone else's lap.
Thirdly, knowing and I mean really knowing that you are not in competition with her, him or them. Even if you're operating in the same industry or line of ministry, adopting the idea of competition only hurts yourself.
Fourthly, choose to celebrate those who are celebrating. I believe if we learn to clap and cheer for those who have achieved in one way or another it helps us to keep hope that the same can happen for us. Not only will that cultivate a culture of celebration it also cuts out the cancerous nature of competition. You can thrive in your current season and best prepare for the celebratory seasons ahead.
How can we adopt this culture of celebrating in other areas of life?
Acknowledge and celebrate your children with their achievements. Whether that's learning to walk, tying a shoelace for the first time or getting good results on a test. Cheer them on, children tend to thrive and repeat good behaviour when it's been highlighted with words of affirmation and encouragement.
Avoid at all costs comparing your relationship and spouse to carefully curated social media highlights. Instead, focus on the positives in your union over the negatives and this will lead your significant other to feel appreciated, loved and valued.
Celebrating your employees or colleagues efforts will do wonders for your work atmosphere. It encourages staff to go beyond expectations as they feel seen and not just a number on the payroll.
Pray for, celebrate and encourage those in the body of Christ, especially those in leadership roles such as Pastors! They already have a mighty fight on their hands leading the flock. Congratulating them on a sermon they've just delivered can offer much-needed encouragement to keep doing the work of God. After all, the anointing that flows from the altar transfers to you, so we need our Pastors in tip-top shape.
Words by Dara Olagbami