Jealousy. This topic has come up quite a lot in the past few weeks. Why even my Pastor was talking about it last night at Bible study.
Am I jealous? Not particularly. I do have waves of envy and jealousy at times, I am only human. I definitely wish for things to be different quite often, in the sense that I love my life but would love to not feel like a slave to debt. I know, it takes time to get out of it and we are wading through.
Today I am not talking about my being jealous, it is more along the lines of what to do when I find people are jealous of me. I mean even typing that feels weird to me. Jealous of me?? Who on earth would be jealous of me? I am so flawed! I struggle with so many things! I am dirty, I am poor and I am unworthy. I can be so self-centered and crabby and well just plain ol’ mean and judgemental. Truly, I see not one thing another should covet in this person.
There are quite a few things that make me very happy in my life. The fact that I have found Jesus and have a growing relationship with Him. I have found a wonderful husband, whom despite all my many failings, adores me and I him. We have an insanely busy life as a blended family but 5 beautiful children who are all growing up so quickly and have shown us just how thoughtful and caring they are. Our church family is extraordinary and it is such a HUGE blessing to be able to study God’s word and lean on real people. No religiosity, just real folks looking to come together in fellowship….this I have found to be rare. I am blessed to not only be employed in this economy, but in a field where I am able to make a difference in people’s lives. My work is difficult but can be so fun and rewarding as well!
So, yes there are many beautiful things in my life, but I have worked hard and prayed hard to get them. I have struggled and have been cut down many more times than I can count. I have been in the darkest of places, I just refuse to stay there. I have never settled for what this world has offered, I strive to climb out of the filth and to lead a life of meaning, to be in this world but not of it. I daily beg my Lord and Savior to let me be a light and to use me as His instrument to all of those around me. I generally complete many tasks without complaining too much because I think about the fact that I should just be grateful for the fact that I am alive, breathing and fully functional. I am capable of doing these things because I am blessed with health, so why see them as a burden?
I guess it all boils down to the fact that I look at some people who has shown jealousy through either word or action and think to myself, how on earth can they look at me and covet the things I have while completely ignoring the blessings that have ben bestowed upon them? How can they know my life story, all that I have endured and all that I have lost and really not just be happy for me when things go well? How can people I let in turn around and hate me for accomplishment and growth? I don’t know that I will ever understand it. I am an open book, I share my hurts, my battle wounds, my insecurities, but I don’t wear them on my sleeve for all to pity. I have always avoided pity, I have only craved understanding and love.
Is this my problem? I expect too much? Expectations seem to cause me problems more often than not. I expect that when I am in a place where I can let my walls down and let people in, that they will keep my hurts in mind and be kind when I need them to? I expect them to see the hurt little girl who still lives in here and to be there for me when I fall apart. I expect that they will look past those walls that come up automatically and to see through them. I am beginning to see that there is really only one place I can do this and that is before God. He sees through me to the very center of my being. He knows me better than I know myself.
Maybe it’s me that needs to look past the jealousy and see the hurt and pain that person holds. Perhaps I should be pushing my own hurt aside and look into that person’s life and love them through whatever it is that is causing them to hate my joy. Maybe I should stop being the self-centered person that only thinks about how unfair it is that people close to me don’t meet my expectations and don’t react the way I need them to. I think it is me that needs to hold myself up to those expectations with everyone in my life instead.
This brings me to judgement. Judgement is another thing I have struggled with all my life, mor so since becoming a believer in Christ. All in all, I am typically the type of person that tries to look at all situations from all points of views before even trying to come to some kind of opinion about a person or situation. I know that very rarely are things the way they seem. There is always more to it behind the scenes. I try to keep perspective. The problem is that another expectation rears its ugly head and I expect that others should do the same. I find it difficult to see and hear people blame everyone and everything else in their lives for their situations when you can clearly see that they played the biggest part in it! How can people be so blind?!?
We are all blind, aren’t we? When it comes to ourselves we can be blind to so many things. It is our human nature to look outward and to think about how life would be so much easier if x,y and z didn’t happen to me! If only a particular person didn’t hurt me in such a manner, well then I wouldn’t be where I am right now! How do you tell someone who they should really look at the big part they are playing in their situation as well? I feel so judgemental when all I can think of is “look at what you’re doing! Snap out of it, you’re causing your own issues right now and blaming it on others! How can you do the things you’re doing over and over again?!?!?”
The damage people can cause in our lives is very real and I don’t want to come across as if I think otherwise. I do however think that we can very often get caught up in a vicious cycle and be in a place where we never hold ourselves accountable and choose to use our past hurts as a crutch. People can get in a place where their lives can come crashing down around them and they cannot find the strength to stand up and put an end to it, instead they hide under the idea of “well this is all (insert past hurts)’s fault that this is happening and it’s not fair.”
Is it true that this person or circumstance has caused damage that lead up to this? Probably. How do you gently tell a person that they can’t really possibly be blind to their own course of actions? At what point do you blatantly tell a loves one that they are wrong, so wrong and have been wrong for quite some time now? How do you tell someone in a loving manner that you can see all the things they have been doing that has contributed to their current situation without hurting them? I feel so judgemental in these situations. I feel like I am judging another’s actions but is it judgemental when it is a fact? Am I really the horrible judgemental person I feel like I am when in reality I am just seeing what they can’t see because I am on the outside looking into the places they refuse to see? Am I being a worst friend for not shedding light on the places they need to see in order to truly be where they say they want to be? Do I sit back and continue giving words of comfort and gently nudge them in hopes that they will see those places themselves one day?
What is the right answer? I am not sure I will ever know.
Maybe the only right answer is to pray and leave myself open to God’s will. Let God lead me and beg for Jesus to work through me and use me in whatever way He needs to. I think the answer is to take myself out of the equation all together.
It’s funny, I once would joke that whenever you would ask a Christian their advice as to how you should handle a situation, the stock answer would always be “pray about it”. I am now in a place in my walk that I see why! Prayer is powerful and really is the first course of action we should all take in all things.
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.