This is the closing thought in Chapter 10, “Her Success Does Not Threaten Mine”, of Lysa TerKeurst’s Uninvited. I borrowed a copy of the book from another woman and thumbed through a few pages before deciding to read it. When I came across this line about my exact brand of beautiful, I knew I had to read it.
In this chapter Lysa shares about the earlier days of her career as an author and the challenges that she faced. She’d received rejection letters from several publishers while her “wannabe writer friends” received many letters from publishers that turned into book contracts. At times she was genuinely happy for them, but during more challenging times she felt that her friends were receiving new opportunities and affirmations of their callings from God while she wasn’t. Her friends were moving forward while she was stuck standing still. She says that, “the raw essence of honest hurting rarely produces pretty thoughts.”
Why can’t I see the kind of breakthrough she’s experiencing?
She’s so much better connected, resourced, and talented than me.
Since she’s already successful with her endeavors, I wonder if there’s even a need for mine.
I’ve felt this before, I still feel like this at times. A few years ago I attended a women’s leadership program that was designed to inspire civic engagement and women’s public sector leadership. I was one of the only women majoring in a STEM field while the rest were from liberal arts institutions interested in law, medicine, the environment, and peaceful protesting. They all had these once in a lifetime opportunities, knew what they wanted to do after graduating, and were on a mission to change the world. I had no idea what I wanted to do long-term and still don’t. Nothing I did would measure up to their successes though. I used to check social media and see posts from people who I went to high school with, talking about their awesome careers and business ventures. Part of me feeling bitter because I had worked a lot harder than them in high school.
Having thoughts like these stink. And in order to stop the stink, Lysa says that we must stop the scarcity thinking. Before we can genuinely celebrate the accomplishments and successes of others with nothing but joy in our hearts, we have to starve our scarcity thinking. She offers a few pieces of advice.
Ask Him to bless others and pray this verse of abundance over them. “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Ask Him to help others succeed. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
When she does well, we all do well. All tides rise when we see a sister making this world a better place with her gifts…So even as the closed doors and rejections seem more prevalent than the new opportunities you’d like to see, even as you’re seeking to readjust your thinking, remember that there is an abundant need in this world for your contributions to the kingdom…your thoughts and words and artistic expressions…your exact brand of beautiful.
I’m choosing to live loved where I am right now in the middle of my journey.
TerKeurst, Lysa. “Her Success Does Not Threaten Mine.” Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely ; Study Guide /six Sessions. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 2016. 124-25. Print.