Your excitement for someone and something they’re experiencing and your grief for not experiencing it yourself do not have to be tied together.
Let me explain
A few days ago was National Sibling Day. People were posting all over social media the love they have for their siblings. Sharing photos, funny stories, and their love for one another. My joy for others who have siblings to honor isn’t lessened because I grieve the death of my only sibling.
It can be so easy to allow your pain to spill over to those near you. What you walk through and the burdens you carry can easily be placed on undeserving shoulders.
Hebrews 12:15 says “…Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble, corrupting many.”
When you feel like you’re in a situation that seems unfair- bitterness and jealousy can develop in your heart if you’re not careful. It’s not my friend’s fault their sibling is alive and mine isn’t. It’s not my cousin’s fault that it wasn’t their brother. It’s not the stranger at the store’s fault who has no clue the grief I carry. If I allow bitterness to form in my heart- it will affect everyone around me. It will cause them to feel the weight of the death of my brother and that’s not fair to them.
It’s not anyone’s responsibility to carry the pain you feel from your difficult seasons. We cannot get upset or expect others to not celebrate or rejoice in their blessings because we’re grieving. We shouldn’t want that for them. We should want them to praise and celebrate the good Christ is doing in their lives.
In the same token, we cannot be frustrated that others don’t understand our internal struggle because they haven’t walked the same path.
There are experiences in life you desire that other people will experience before you. Your season of waiting will always encounter others whose season of waiting has ended. There may also be some things you may never get to experience which can make it even harder to see others doing something you deeply long for. We need to be careful to not expect others to withhold their excitement or tiptoe around us because they know we’re wanting the same thing.
The grief, longing, or frustration you feel because it reminds you of what you don’t have doesn’t make you a bad friend, sibling, or family member. Your feelings of being left out are valid and real.
Can I gently remind you that when you take your pain and allow it to affect the people who have what you want, that is when you need to hit the pause button. That’s the moment to take a step back and remember it’s not their fault and God wants to bless them as much as He wants to bless you. This is when you can pray and ask God to give you joy for them.
It’s one thing to say to be joyful for someone when you’ve waited what feels like a lifetime, it’s another thing to actually live it out. It’s hard seeing your friend get married while you’re single and not seeing any possibility of marriage in your future. It’s hard to see your cousin announce she’s pregnant when you’ve cried yourself to sleep after another miscarriage and a poor doctors report. It’s hard to see your brother buy a house when you don’t feel like you will ever be approved for a loan. It’s hard to see your co-worker get the promotion you have worked hard long hours for. It’s hard to see your neighbor go on fancy vacations when you struggle to afford a Starbucks drink.
It’s hard to see others moving forward in areas you feel held back in. It’s hard to see others succeed in areas that feel like strongholds in your life. It’s hard to see others not having to wait as long as you are.
Just remember, it’s not their fault.
And when the day comes and it’s your turn for the promotion, or it’s your housewarming party, or it’s your two pink lines on a test, you will want others to rejoice with you and share in the excitement.
But also remember, there will be someone seeing your promotion, attending your housewarming party, telling you congrats on your new addition to your family and they will be looking at you wishing it was them.
So while you grieve the lost opportunity- rejoice with others for their blessings. Your internal struggle is not a reflection on the quality of relationship you offer. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It means you’re human and you have feelings, and that’s okay.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
If you’re reading this today, please hear my heart. I know it’s hard to be in a season of longing and grieving while watching others in their season of blessings. I’m not encouraging you to ignore your pain or push it aside. What I am encouraging is to know that even in the midst of your pain- you can still feel true joy for others.
How? Giving it to Christ by leaning on His word and speaking it over your day. He says to cast your burdens on Him, we shouldn’t ignore that. The deepest voids of your heart can be filled with His grace and love. So whether you are in your season of waiting or you’re faced with something you know will never happen, God is standing there willing to take the weight of it from you.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
This post originally appeared on HeatherMargiotta.com and was republished with permission.
Heather Margiotta is a Christian Writer and Speaker from northeast Ohio. She is a wife to a loving husband and a mother to two handsome sons. She received a bachelors degree in Theology and writes about her faith, adoption, relationships, and grief on her blog, HeatherMargiotta.com. Besides loving Jesus and her family, Heather is obsessed with coffee, local pizza joints, and nail polish. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.