I’m not going to lie. When I see pictures of newly married couples, I get a twinge of envy.
“Wow, she looks so beautiful,” I think. “The groom looks so handsome. The rice… the flowers… the Pinterest perfectionly perfection of it all! I remember that….” Sigh.
When I see baby announcements pop up in my Facebook feed, I get a small case of the ‘I Wishes’ – not enough to take me to my bed for days, but enough to make me feel a bit down for a few hours.
“I remember those days,” I mope. “The tiny hands, the baby feet, the head that smells like baby powder and laundered cotton.” (Wah wah wahhhhhh… Call the Wambulance! My whining continues because I’m just that pathetic.) “I wish I wish I wiiiiiishhh I could go back just for a few hours and enjoy that again!”
Despite some wistfulness, I snap back to reality quick enough and am happy for the newlyweds. I’m also thrilled for the new parents. Why? Because I had that amazing season of life, too. I vividly remember strolling thorough malls with supportive girlfriends… thinking about dress colors or where I would register. Maybe my girlfriends were jealous of me, but they were mature enough to never show it. I appreciate that.
I also have a strong recollection of walking through Babies R Us with my mother-in-law, only too thrilled that she would be buying me a shiny white glider rocker. With my son in my stomach and dreams in my soul, my life was one giant canvass, ready to be painted with glorious colors. How lucky I was that my mother-in-law was very interested in my journey. She didn’t spend those precious hours moping about missing my husband as a newborn. She didn’t make my present about her past.
In both cases, people supported me. It’s my turn, now, to support others.
I know this, but I don’t always feel it. And it’s precisely during this time of weakness when the green-eyed monster of jealousy creeps in and grows stronger. It pounces on me like a lion on its prey.
He lurks in secret as a lion in his ambush. He lies in wait to catch the helpless. He catches the helpless, when he draws him in his net. Psalm 10:9
Such times of weakness for me include:
* Lack of sleep
* Lack of time
* Parenting worries
* Marriage concerns
* Pressing friend and family needs
* A dog that seems to think she is human and consistently steals my food and my covers
I could go on, but I don’t want to make you jealous of my amazingly exciting life.
What I tend to forget in the above scenario, every single time, is God. When I forget about Him, I put everything on myself. And when I put everything on myself, I subconsciously think that I’m God. And that kind of “stinkin’ thinkin’” can only lead to one thing: JEALOUSY.
And, um, that’s dumb. Because, lest I forget, there is one person who is very jealous – even more than me. Who is that? None other than God himself. He has a plan for my future, not just my past. The best days are still to come for me!
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death. Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a very flame of Yahweh. – Song of Songs 8:6
In her article, Jesus the Green-Eyed Monster?, Believe.com contributor Mary Southerland writes: “God is zealous – eager about protecting what is precious to Him. It’s the kind of jealousy that compels God to pursue each one of us relentlessly, no matter how we try to evade Him with our indifferent attitude or our propensity for sin. The jealousy of God is comparable to the jealous passion of a parent for their child. As a mother, I know what that kind of love is like.”
So do I, Mary, so do I.
And maybe some of you do, also.
Do you know what it feels like to have your child overlooked for an award or an accolade when they consistently work so hard and do “all the right things” but some other kid gets the back pats?
Perhaps you don’t have kids, but you know what it feels like to always be “the bridesmaid but never the bride?”
Let me tell you, ladies: As a mom of two and wife of 14 years, no one has it all. I’ve seen enough marriages, divorces, births and deaths to know that when the grass seems greener on other people’s lawns, I only need to give it time. Soon enough, thorns pop up on their roses. Their crisp green grass dries out to a dull brown. These visuals serve as reminder to take my own gardening in hand. “Clean up your own weeds!” it instructs me. “Clean them up with gladness, too, while you’re at it. Your crab grass ain’t so bad!”
Am I happy for other people’s heartache? Far from it. But I do take comfort that they, like me, are human. All of us have struggles, hurts, unfulfilled dreams, desires and heartache.None of us have it all on our own. It’s why we need a savior.
What works for jealousy every single time?
When I stop comparison shopping (check out the post to the left) and give my jealous tendencies to my Father, I’m filled with a peace that transcends understanding.
What doesn’t work for jealousy?
Being a nosy body.
When I consistently peer into other people’s lives, a la the Facebook fanatic who gets bugged over every post rather than give it to Jesus, I get what I deserve: Envy.
A few weeks back an incident with a visiting relative left me feeling vulnerable. Insecure. Sad. Frustrated. JEALOUS.
I’m just now finding my peace again, thanks to readjusting my heart with God. Let’s hope this time when the green-eyed beast comes knocking, I slam the door quickly. I don’t want to fall into his nasty clutches again anytime soon.
What about you?