My 3 year Milena old loves to dress up. She’s Elsa, Belle, a Ballerina and doesn’t mind throwing on a Darth Vader helmet once in awhile too. She loves to try on something different and prance around the house about 17 times a day hence contributing to my 2 load a day laundry routine.
Recently Milena got a new ballerina outfit complete with toe shoes. I have never seen a child more elated than she was when she stepped into this. I believe it made her feel on the outside the way she felt on the inside. Milena loves to dance and twirl and sing and arabesque so to drape her already inward dancer with the outward expression made her even more confident.
She was excited.
She was weightless.
She was – herself.
A friend of mine brought her precious little 3 year old Paulita over who also happens to be Milena’s best friend. Can I just tell you how special it is to watch two little girls who share the same affection for Elsa, playing dress up and Doc Mcstuffin’s? It’s a sight to behold for sure.
Milena had been pacing as she waited for her Paulita to arrive “I can’t wait to show Paulita my new dress” she repeated over and over. Paulita finally arrived and the first thing Milena did was run up to Paulita and say “Paulita do you like my new dress?” Paulita squealed with delight and touched the fabric and said “Yes!” The two of them ran off to play with dolls for the reminder of their time together. In that 2 second exchange they unknowingly demonstrated what a truly good selfless friend does
A good friend will celebrate your new dress.
She didn’t turn up her nose, she didn’t ignore Milena, she didn’t pout because she didn’t have a new dress. She celebrated with her.
This isn’t the likely response from a child or an adult.
Have you ever watched your friend have a victory and silently wondered when yours was coming?
Have you ever been the bridesmaid…again?
Have you ever been to the baby shower…childless…again?
Have you ever watched someone soar in the same area of gifting as you while you watch on the sidelines….again?
Have you ever waited and watched someone else..not wait? Have you ever prayed and felt like you were being ignored?
Did you celebrate them with them for them or did you sulk and wonder when you would have one?
Seriously. This is a tough one. I mean if you are completely honest with yourself.
I remember being about 21, I was just beginning to lead worship but always felt like I was being under utilized. I wanted more leadership but I didn’t have the integrity or growth to grow into it yet.
I remember being in my 4th year of infertility and watching about 8 of my friends bloom in front of me while I was paying $900 every time I stepped into a doctors office to do another failed infertility procedure.
These are just two scenarios in my life where I was waiting for something or longing for something and watched others that I love receive what I desired.
I didn’t celebrate their new dress.
I was a jerk in my heart about it. I didn’t rejoice with them. I didn’t dance with them. I pouted. I thought about myself. I ignored what I was given and focused on what they had. I licked my wounds and babied them like a precious pet.
But this kind of heart isn’t one that allows or fosters unity, trust, kindness or intimacy. This kind of heart actually creates a divide. This kind of heart lacks gratitude – plain and simple.
The heart is deceitful above all things. We mask our jealousy, our envy, our ungrateful hearts. It looks different for everyone.
Maybe when a friend shares something special with you about a victory in their life you don’t outwardly express your green side. But you change the subject quickly, avoid being around them, give a left handed comment or talk about yourself instead of letting it be about them for just a minute.
Oh there is a million ways we harbor our bitterness. These are just a few but in light of longing for true intimacy in our relationships, we must search our hearts and confess when it’s not where it needs to be.
To celebrate with our friend we say ‘I love you more than I love myself.’ That is the kind of love we are called to.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” – Proverbs 17:17
“Love is not jealous…” 1 Corinthians 13:4
We might want to take our cues from cute little three-year-olds who don’t compete with one anothers uniqueness but celebrate each victory.
Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. – Romans 12:15