I am crazy jealous and proud at the same time of a friend of mine. She is super special to me so everything she does well makes me happy for her. But occasionally, when she does things really well, I have to fight the green-eyed monster a little bit.
I think the green-eyed thing comes from the fact that both she and I do about the same thing. We are both speakers. It’s been my dream and passion for a long time but it’s only been her dream for about a year. The truth is, she is better at it than I am. And that’s okay.
You see she stumbled in to this newfound calling, having never had it on her radar. Being excited for her, I have done every thing I can to help her develop this potential and it really is exciting to watch it blossom like a flower in spring. I have the privilege of encouraging her, investing in her and loving her as she navigates this new world and she is knocking it out of the park!
I found myself recently thinking that it would be nice if I had someone who saw my potential and spent time encouraging, investing and loving me as I figured out my own journey. A cheerleader of sorts. Almost immediately a powerful thought popped into my head.
Jesus is my cheerleader.
I have a lot of evidence from events in my history that suggest that I am not valuable, worthy, good at anything, etc. In fact, I am pretty sure that most women would say the same thing about themselves. I see it all the time. The world tells us that we are inherently bad and after while, consciously or not, we begin to believe the lies.
Instead of focusing on our good and leaning in to our God-given gifts, we retract, we seek shelter, we build walls and then we call it humble. At least, that’s what I do. But as I was considering the idea that Jesus is my cheerleader, I realized something.
Never once did Jesus say “It can’t be done.” He said in this world we will have trouble but he never said we couldn’t push through or past it. Jesus came here not only to save us but also to encourage, invest in and love us. When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “Go now and leave your life of sin,” (John 8:11 NIV) he never said that it would be impossible to leave the life. Jesus knew she could do it because he understood her potential.
He sees my potential, too.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
God knew me before I was even born. He gave me gifts and he put me in this world and he started to cheer for me. From my first breath, God has been on my side, helping me to grow into my potential. “Come on, Anne, you can do it! Go, go get ‘em, get ‘em. Go, go get ‘em, get ‘em.” (Insert cool hand motions and rhythmic clapping.)
Too often I have looked to the response of my peers to feel validation. Clearly, that plan isn’t working. Green eyes emerge and converge and I forget that my story looks different, my gifts are different and my purpose is different from the one I am jealous of. I forget that I am uniquely made and that God will use me as long as I keep my focus on him.
So I need to readjust my gaze. I need to keep my focus on the one who made the plan and ALLOW him to encourage, invest and love me. I need to actively CHOOSE to accept it and respond to it. I also need to have grace for myself when I stumble knowing I will. That’s ok, too, because I know that Jesus will reach down with is hand to help me get back up. I’ll dust myself off and press on.
In the meantime, I want to keep encouraging, investing and loving my friend who deserves it and needs it like I do. I am watching my friend step in to her potential and gifts and it’s breathtaking. What a gift that I get to be involved in her story. In fact, I want to do that for any woman that needs it. I just want them to know that whether or not I am there, Jesus always will be. Cheering, clapping and whopping for us!
At least for now, I’m kicking the green-eyed monster out of my head. He’s taking up space that I would rather fill with affection from my favorite cheerleader, Jesus. I am so grateful that he sees my potential.