I’ve learned something this year, as I’ve attended conferences and traveled for business. It’s something I want my daughter to learn but something I realized I’m not very good at yet.
Not everyone wins.
As the year has gone on, I’ve seen friends on Twitter talking about the conferences they’re at, the trips they’re on, the communities they’re part of, and I’ve almost constantly fought waves of envy. Tempted to put a “oh you’re so lucky, wish I was there” message. Occasionally posting an “I’m small, I’ll fit in your suitcase” message.
But you know what God has put on my heart? That those messages aren’t encouraging, or helpful, or building community. In fact, those messages, pointing out how left out or envious we are? They’re actually pretty hard to read when you do get the chance to go to the conference or take the trip. Just because I don’t get to go this time doesn’t mean I should ruin the experience for someone else with my own commentary. Because you know what happens?
- They don’t want to post photos, because they’re afraid people will feel left out.
- They don’t want to write the blog post about how amazing it was, because people will focus on the fact that THEY didn’t get to go.
- They don’t want to share the memories because someone might be hurt.
And while that is very thoughtful of them, it’s pretty awful of me to expect that. I don’t want to be ok with that. I want everyone who gets to go to a conference, who gets to have a fun experience, who gets to do something amazing and life changing to have the same peace about posting fun photos with their friends on Instagram as anyone else, without fear of unnecessary commentary. Behind the scenes? Those ladies work super hard to get where they are, to make plans for their families so they can travel, to save money and plan and get excited for their experience. We have no idea what they’re going through to make it work, or what they’ve left behind, or what they might go home to.
So now, instead of sharing my feelings of “poor me, why can’t I be there too” – I’m going to do something differently. I’m going to go out of my way to say “I hope you have the time of your life! Can’t wait to read all about it.” Or “What an awesome photo! Can’t wait to see more!” Or maybe even “I know how hard it is to be away from family – hope your time is blessed and you love connecting with your friends!”
Because really, isn’t that what I would like to hear when I’m away? A word of encouragement? A rallying of at-home community while I’m off working, or retreating, or conferencing? Let’s do some cheering, friends.