Sharing the Joy of Others

One of the biggest lessons I learned this last year is to share in the joy of others. In November, I took to my blog to write those reflections for my readers. It weighed on my heart. I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish it, eager to share my discoveries.

sharejoy

In the last month, we have discussed the value of others, the variety of our life stories, and the importance of coming alongside other people on this long, hard, worthwhile journey. Thinking of others doesn’t come easily, we are selfish people — every single one of us. Considering others takes work, especially as we trudge through deep valleys of our own. However, I want to encourage you to not only look at other people, but to see themA task that requires purpose and thought.

Most of us have social media accounts. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, we have accounts! While participating in these online communities, we often rebel against the perfection that our friends post. We wonder why we don’t have such beautiful lives. We judge our whole person-hood by likes on a photo. But last November, as I started to realize the uniqueness of my story, I also began to see the lives of my friends in a different way.

Our lives are something to be shared, not shown off. I pulled today’s reflections from my November blog post, “It’s Not about My Messy Life.” 

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 What if —

Instead of going against the tidal wave of edited photos and pretty life moments, I purposefully decided to enjoy the lives my friends are living.

What if —

I shared in their joy, took their happiness as my own, commented kindly and sincerely on the beauty, the laughter, the smiles, and the honest highlights of their lives.

What if —

It wasn’t about fixating on the mess, but deeply enjoying the mountaintops. And shouting a CONGRATS to those on the top when I am in the midst of a valley.

What if —

I delighted — relished — absorbed — cherished — held close the wonder and magic in the lives of my friends.

What if —

It’s not about me at all. Not even the stripped divulging of my mess. Not even the promoting of my world. But the sharing, the sharing of each other. Life to life. Bare of comparison, clothed in the joy of each other.

What if —

I threw back their joy double the size they had initially.

Honestly —

I should care less that its edited. That it looks perfect, pristine, and magical. I should care less if the Newsfeed is full of highlights that look nothing like my current life.

By now, I should be mature enough to inwardly, purposefully accept that life is messy and that my friends don’t have perfect lives. I should be mature enough not to compare my life to the edits. I should be well past the proving of my authentic existence.

I should value —

Knowing who to share parts of my mess with (hint: it’s not the whole world).

Knowing when to share the highlights.

Knowing when to share hardship and when to share wonder.

I should remember to hold the private moments — both good & bad — in the corners meant for my heart.

I should remember to live and cherish my own memories, nurture my personal relationships, and deepen the bonds in my life all without an audience.

And maybe —

I am given a daily chance to cherish the lives of others through the edited pictures, strings of happy moments, and special milestones posted on social media. And maybe that’s all OK. It might even be really good, because perhaps this is something I was meant to do: delight in the joy of others. 

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Can I just tell you how sharing in the joy of my friends and family has enriched my life? I am content in my story while sharing in other stories. Social media provides a way for me to be a small part of so many lives. That should not make me jealous, envious, or discontent. Rather, it should fuel joy, gratitude, and sincere relationships!

Living within your own story means hard work, but it is so worth it. As you live within your own story, don’t forget to look out and share in the lives of your friends and family. Don’t forget to see their joy and celebrate alongside them. When sharing, and not showing off, becomes the goal, the social media community becomes a joy, not a burden.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

Guardar

The Kitchen, Cooking, & Confidence

My husband and I recently celebrated our first year anniversary (May 23rd!). It has been a full year! I have enjoyed being a wife and not having to plan a wedding anymore! I’ve also learned a lot.

I’ve had a good start to my journey as Mrs. Sierra Fedorko, but I had to re-learn a lesson that can apply to anyone’s life, married or not.

our fist home
Our first home

I used to call myself a go-getter. The kind of person who confidently plunged into new things. It turns out, I’m confident with the things I know I do well, those that hold minimal risk of failure. I accept failure as long as I don’t believe I can succeed. I automatically cross off anything that doesn’t fall under my natural gifts and abilities. I don’t try to learn it. I give up before I even begin. I’m notorious for this. So much for being a confident, go-getter!

Leading up to marrying Ben, I convinced myself I couldn’t cook. Now, I do have some horror stories in the kitchen department, including a box cake that turned out flat and super oily brownies (stories for a different day!). But I had barely spent time in the kitchen. I just assumed that since I wasn’t a natural, I wouldn’t excel at it.

Could we live off of chocolate chip cookies? After all, that entailed the extent of my culinary prowess. It became our joke, but I knew I had to learn. I was nervous about it. When I voiced my concern to Ben, he assured me that we could learn together. I didn’t marry a make-me-a-sandwich man, and I was thankful he’d learn alongside me. It comforted me.

So, we got married on a windy May day. I wore a pretty dress. We took a thousand+ photos. We said our vows. Happiness abounded. But do you want to know something?! The wedding day doesn’t last forever, and I had to buckle down and learn how to cook!

Remember, I had already accepted failure. I let fear stand in the way and put unnecessary limitations on myself. So my kitchen days began. I scoured Pinterest for easy recipes, I fumbled with pans and measuring cups, I had a horribly hilarious experience baking bread, and I made a surprising discovery.

I enjoyed cooking!

Wait a minute … how many times had I vocalized my inaptitude in the kitchen? How many times had I said how much I disliked cooking? How many times had I accepted failure, before making any true attempts to learn? So, so many times!

You can’t pick and choose when to exemplify confidence in life. It doesn’t mean doing only what you’re good at and avoiding anything new and different. Don’t pull a Sierra!

Understand that failure is inevitable, but don’t place limitations on yourself and accept defeat as the final word. I’m learning to tackle new things and exhibit confidence even in areas I struggle with. I now plunge in, knowing that failure means I can learn from my mistakes.

Being confident doesn’t mean I’ll thrive in everything. It means I refuse to limit myself to a little Sierra Box. I want to keep learning, undertaking challenges that scare me. And folks, cooking scared me! However, a year later, I have learned I love spending time in the kitchen. Can you imagine if I had gone on forever just believing that I was a terrible cook? I almost did.

These days, I experience more successes than failures in the kitchen, but the failures make for hilarious stories. All because I made myself learn something that didn’t flow naturally.

My advice? Don’t give up before you begin. Don’t be scared of failure. Confidently plunge into the things you don’t do well and let yourself learn. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Sierra Straightforward