Sharing the Joy of Others

One of the biggest lessons I learned this last year is to share in the joy of others. In November, I took to my blog to write those reflections for my readers. It weighed on my heart. I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish it, eager to share my discoveries.

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In the last month, we have discussed the value of others, the variety of our life stories, and the importance of coming alongside other people on this long, hard, worthwhile journey. Thinking of others doesn’t come easily, we are selfish people — every single one of us. Considering others takes work, especially as we trudge through deep valleys of our own. However, I want to encourage you to not only look at other people, but to see themA task that requires purpose and thought.

Most of us have social media accounts. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, we have accounts! While participating in these online communities, we often rebel against the perfection that our friends post. We wonder why we don’t have such beautiful lives. We judge our whole person-hood by likes on a photo. But last November, as I started to realize the uniqueness of my story, I also began to see the lives of my friends in a different way.

Our lives are something to be shared, not shown off. I pulled today’s reflections from my November blog post, “It’s Not about My Messy Life.” 

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 What if —

Instead of going against the tidal wave of edited photos and pretty life moments, I purposefully decided to enjoy the lives my friends are living.

What if —

I shared in their joy, took their happiness as my own, commented kindly and sincerely on the beauty, the laughter, the smiles, and the honest highlights of their lives.

What if —

It wasn’t about fixating on the mess, but deeply enjoying the mountaintops. And shouting a CONGRATS to those on the top when I am in the midst of a valley.

What if —

I delighted — relished — absorbed — cherished — held close the wonder and magic in the lives of my friends.

What if —

It’s not about me at all. Not even the stripped divulging of my mess. Not even the promoting of my world. But the sharing, the sharing of each other. Life to life. Bare of comparison, clothed in the joy of each other.

What if —

I threw back their joy double the size they had initially.

Honestly —

I should care less that its edited. That it looks perfect, pristine, and magical. I should care less if the Newsfeed is full of highlights that look nothing like my current life.

By now, I should be mature enough to inwardly, purposefully accept that life is messy and that my friends don’t have perfect lives. I should be mature enough not to compare my life to the edits. I should be well past the proving of my authentic existence.

I should value —

Knowing who to share parts of my mess with (hint: it’s not the whole world).

Knowing when to share the highlights.

Knowing when to share hardship and when to share wonder.

I should remember to hold the private moments — both good & bad — in the corners meant for my heart.

I should remember to live and cherish my own memories, nurture my personal relationships, and deepen the bonds in my life all without an audience.

And maybe —

I am given a daily chance to cherish the lives of others through the edited pictures, strings of happy moments, and special milestones posted on social media. And maybe that’s all OK. It might even be really good, because perhaps this is something I was meant to do: delight in the joy of others. 

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Can I just tell you how sharing in the joy of my friends and family has enriched my life? I am content in my story while sharing in other stories. Social media provides a way for me to be a small part of so many lives. That should not make me jealous, envious, or discontent. Rather, it should fuel joy, gratitude, and sincere relationships!

Living within your own story means hard work, but it is so worth it. As you live within your own story, don’t forget to look out and share in the lives of your friends and family. Don’t forget to see their joy and celebrate alongside them. When sharing, and not showing off, becomes the goal, the social media community becomes a joy, not a burden.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

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