Recently, I shared a video update on Instagram to let you guys know the conclusion of my book proposal pitch at She Speaks.
If you caught the video, you know the disappointing news: after waiting a couple months to hear back, I got a big fat “no” from the two literary agents to whom I pitched my book idea.
As I began processing and working through the disappointment, a funny thing happened over the following few days: I was literally inundated by positive, exciting news from my fellow social media friends and writers.
Sisters signing agents.
Sisters signing book contracts.
Sisters launching new books, enthusiastically holding onto their book baby while smiling big for the camera.
Of course I’m thrilled for these amazing women of faith and all God is doing to bring their messages to life… but naturally, all the sweet news felt a bit like salt in my open wound of rejection.
It’s a universal truth, is it not? Celebrating from the valley is hard.
Maybe you’re trying to rejoice over a friend’s baby announcement when your arms still ache with emptiness.
Maybe you’re watching a friend walk down the aisle in her dream wedding while you’re still very much single.
Perhaps you’re seeing a friend crush her goals this year, though 2020 has threatened to crush you with hardship—and you’re just thankful to still be standing.
In Romans 12:15, Paul admonishes us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (NIV)
If we’re honest, when we find ourselves walking through the valley, mourning with others comes a little more easily than rejoicing.
But as challenging as celebrating from the valley is, it’s one of the most crucial and necessary skills we can cultivate in our faith walk, for two reasons:
First, choosing to celebrate inoculates us from the noxious decay of a jealous and envious heart.
I’m so grateful my mama taught me this truth early in my life. From middle school on, she encouraged me to rejoice with and celebrate the successes of others. Doing so not only encourages a fellow brother or sister in Christ, it also frees our hearts from the grip of the green monster.
When we allow our own pain and disappointment to prevent us from praising the good fortune of others, we’re only hurting ourselves. And, we grant the enemy a wide-open door into our souls.
Bitterness is not becoming to a daughter of Christ. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit provides the strength we need to choose a better way!
Second, celebrating from the valley is tantamount to constructing a monument of trust in the goodness and sovereignty of our Father.
It’s a massive declaration that says:
Yes, my heart is hurting, and I don’t understand why others are receiving the gifts I so desire, too. But, I will yet praise the Lord. I will yet hope in Him.
When we celebrate from our own valley, we join our voices with that of King David. In Psalm 27:13-14, he declared:
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)
Dear one, you will see a better day. Maybe not today, maybe not in this season. Or maybe not in the way you envisioned.
But may I gently encourage you to keep your chin up, and do as David did. Be strong, and wait on the Lord.
The God who is bestowing good gifts on others also has good gifts in store for you. The hard part is waiting, in settled trust, as you put one foot in front of the other along the valley path.
Will you wait with me? Together, may we celebrate from the valley and watch with eager expectation for all He will do.