Sometimes we don’t get the reaction we hope for from the people we most want to be proud of us.
Most of the time it’s not intentional. They are just wrapped up in their own world, thoughts and perspectives and don’t realize you are longing for their approval or attention.
Now before y’all start thinking that I am saying that we should long for the approval of others….that’s not what I’m saying.
The only approval that matters is God’s.
But let’s be honest and not pretend that it’s not hard when we don’t get the reaction we want from the people we love and care about.
I recently shared some news I am excited about with someone and their response was basically a question about if all the work it took to accomplish it was worth it. I immediately felt deflated.
In that moment, my joy started to slip away. Before reacting, I took a moment to think about what I was feeling and realized that I was expecting a celebratory high five. I thought they would celebrate with me. I don’t think their reaction was intentionally hurtful. It may have even come from a place of concern over how hard I have been working. But whatever their intention, the impact on me was discouragement.
I thought…if this person who I love and respect isn’t excited about this thing I’ve been working on so long, then no one else will be excited either…have I been wasting my time?
But that’s the funny thing about joy. If you are in tune with your feelings and can examine them in the moment, you can stop that joy from leaking out.
As I felt my countenance changing, my mood deflating, my joy slipping away, I stopped and reminded myself that although it’s human and completely normal to desire the approval of others, their approval isn’t why I do what I do. This thing I’m excited about is the result of me following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is the result of my obedience. It is the result of my perseverance in the face of obstacles. And in that moment I was reminded that it is the result of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
My personal relationship. Something I had sat with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit over a long period of time and prayed about. Something I felt was my personal assignment to do. These thoughts ran through my head as I simultaneously stood across from someone with a look of disapproval on their face.
I saw them, but I felt God.
I felt God reminding me that He was proud of me.
I felt the Holy Spirit giving me peace and self-control to not react to this person in a way that would cause damage to our friendship.
I felt Jesus reminding me to forgive, have compassion and show grace, because I know they love me and hadn’t meant their reaction to cause me pain.
Here’s what I already knew, but learned all over again….
You can’t control how other people react. Don’t let your expectations of others steal your joy.
So you know what I did?
I celebrate anyway. I high fived myself. 🙏🏽 😜 I slapped my hands together and had a little celebratory praise party with God.
I thanked Him for what He had allowed me to accomplish. I praised Him for trusting me with the vision to see it through. I prayed in advance for the ripple effect it would have, the positive impact on the lives of others I may never meet. And I prayed for that friend, that whatever situations were going on in their life, whatever was going on in their mind that did not allow them to celebrate with me, would be lifted. I thanked God for helping me choose joy in that moment and prayed that joy would be renewed in my friends life too.
Choosing joy isn’t always easy. But it is possible. You can stop your joy from slipping away. You can steal it back when a person, situation or the enemy tries to steal it from you. But we must be alert and on guard and know who we are in Christ and whom we belong to.
I pray that you learn how to be joyFULL all all times, live by the Spirit and know that even when others don’t see your value, your contribution - or just don’t see you - your Heavenly Father see’s you and is sending you a high five from Heaven.
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.