(July 10, 2017, My beautiful friend Rebecca with her new baby girl Rylee)
“I just can’t stand getting on social media anymore; everyone is either posting about how they’re pregnant or how they’re engaged. Like…WE GET IT!”
All of us have heard, said, and thought that exact phrase before. Some of us have even gone as far as posting it to our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Now, you reading may think: “She’s just saying “us” so other people will be able to relate and not feel so bad about themselves”, but that isn’t quite the whole truth.
I have shared before how I want these letters that I write and post to be full of wisdom, faith, and hope, but most importantly, honesty. Because people relate to honesty. And if that’s how I can reach and help others grow and learn, then that’s what I’m going to set out to do: be honest.
So when I say “us” I mean me too.
I’m going to do something I don’t do often: be vulnerable. Which I am still learning that that is also ok sometimes.
Whenever I first found out that one of my best friends from middle school through high school was pregnant with her first child, I was accepting, but not necessarily excited.
In school, whenever people would ask us what we wanted to study to be after we graduated high school, our friends would say: an engineer, a forensic scientist, a pilot, a doctor.
Her answer was: “I want to be a mom.”
That was her dream. That’s what she aspired to be.
And I didn’t get it.
Me, and others like me would ask her: “Yeah, but there’s nothing else you want to do before that? Don’t you want to go to college, meet new people, have a career, or travel?”
She would shrug, shake her head no, or say: “I’ve always wanted to be a mom ever since I was little.”
I would mentally roll my eyes.
And I would think to myself: “How could someone not want more?”
Now, I kick myself for being so mean-spirited.
Throughout her pregnancy, we would text a little, but for those nine months we didn’t see each other.
Whenever we would try to get a group together to hang out, one of us was always too busy or unable to go.
I even missed her baby shower.
I chalked it all up to: “We just don’t have anything in common anymore. She’s starting a family and I’m not. I don’t want that right now. We’re just too different.”
As I’m typing this all out, I find myself on the verge of tears because I realize what a terrible friend I was during those months. Perhaps when I’m finished some of you will do a little reflecting and not make the same mistakes I did.
But when her little baby girl finally made her debut into this world, I thought I’d go and pay a visit to both of them in the hospital.
Upon arriving, staying, talking, and getting to hold her baby girl for the first time, I finally understood how wrong I had been.
I don’t know if it hit me while I was at the hospital or after I left and I don’t know if it was God speaking to me, but I asked myself:
“Are you really so bitter and selfish that you can’t celebrate what’s happening in other people’s lives?”
It hit me like a bus.
When did we stop being happy for our friends?
The moment we decided it was too hard to work at a friendship because we didn’t want the same thing as them at the exact same time?
The moment we got bored because it wasn’t all about us?
Yep; that hit me hard too.
It’s so amazing how God speaks to us in a way that we understand.
And sometimes, He uses the “Snapping His Fingers In My Face” method.
There have been so many times within the past few months that God has woken me up by saying: “Be quiet and sit down. It’s not always about you.”
In fact, I have come to peace with this conclusion:
Nothing is ever just about me.
Even when it’s all about me, it’s not just about me.
All of my thoughts, everything I say, and each one of my actions has an impact on others.
We are so quick to proclaim that we are Christians, but can’t love selflessly like Jesus did.
Isn’t that the second greatest commandment?
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV).
You see, when Jesus said “you shall”, that officially made it a commandment; not a suggestion.
So what does that mean?
Be happy for your friends.
Whether they’re getting married, moving to a new place, or starting a family, celebrate with them.
When you’re scrolling through social media, don’t be so quick to dismiss what’s happening in other people’s lives. I’m not saying you have to share, comment, or even ‘like’ someone’s post, but the least you can do is control your thoughts and your tongue.
Because you know when your time comes to do all of those things you’re going to want people to be genuinely happy for you too.
Because you love them and want to see them happy.
I’ve watched my friend become a mother. I’ve realized how important it is to her. I’ve seen the way she has cared for her little girl so far. And though it has only been a few weeks, she’s an amazing mother. And that’s exciting. That’s something to celebrate. That’s beautiful.
And I’m happy.
(P.S. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, then I have become just an annoying distraction.”
1 Corinthians 13:1)