Recently daughter Maggie got a raise and a promotion.
AND she won her first round in the company ping pong tournament.
Of course it was easy to be excited for her, to celebrate her success.
But sometimes I think one of the hardest “suggestions” in the Bible is “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
It’s easy to rejoice with someone who’s not taking up MY space, BUT when it’s someone with similar gifts and hopes and dreams getting all the attention? All of a sudden there’s that yucky loserish feeling that rises up.
It doesn’t feel very celebratory. It’s more of an anxious left-out feeling, like when all your friends got an American Girl doll for Christmas and you didn’t.
There are times we just want to say “But what about ME??”
- You’ve been struggling with infertility and the bazilionth friend excitedly announces her “accidental” pregnancy.
- You’ve worked diligently to improve your skills only to hear that someone else got a promotion, or a book deal, or a consulting contract while you seem to get no validation.
- You’re single and you’re asked to be in yet another wedding.
- You watch as others post pictures of exciting trips to far off places while you discover cheerios stuck in your hair and change poopy diapers.
- You listen other parents share about their kids’ accomplishments while yours have “issues” that try your patience and faith.
Recently I was re-reading the interaction between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth and it struck me how hard this might have been for her.
I can imagine her thinking, “So…Mary gets first place and all the attention being mama of Messiah and my kid is the weirdo in the desert eating bugs. I am soooo happy for her!”
Instead, when Mary shows up, Elizabeth says:
You’re so blessed among women,
and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
the mother of my Lord visits me? Luke 1:43
Hmmm… Is it possible Liz struggled with a tiny bit of envy in her less-than-godly moments?
Or maybe she was a grown up in the way I’d like to be – truly able to celebrate EVERYONE else because she KNOWS there is only ONE OF HER. Only ONE Liz that God can use to accomplish His unique purposes.
Now maybe I could write some true and tweet-able stuff that sounds godly about living out of abundance instead of scarcity, but honestly, this can be a tough one sometimes.
Spiritual formation isn’t a pithy saying or easy formula.
So I talk to God.
Me: Lord this really stinks. And you know what else? It’s not fair. And BTW, I really HATE Philippians 2:3. And since we’re being honest here, the LAST thing I feel like doing is a happy dance for this person. Instead I’d be delighted to see them experience a tiny bit of setback, so I am basically a terrible person, but I want to do better. I’d appreciate it if you’d forgive me and help me to love bigger like You do.
God: Ok. Good talk.
I’m continuing to listen and I trust that eventually He will grow a better me out of our little chats.
Anyone else struggle with jealousy? What have you learned?