Monday, September 29, 2008

An Ugly Shade of Green

My 18-month-old-son, Pickle, is a quintessential "Mama’s Boy." Times exist when the affections of others are pushed aside like a cold Brussels sprout if I am near. Recently, his wishes to spend time with his mommy have evolved into unbridled jealousy of anyone else who holds my attention.

Yesterday, I witnessed the proverbial green-eyed monster transform my sweet-tempered toddler into an enraged, purple-faced vigilante swinging his fists at a perceived injustice. His target was none other than his big sister, Pumpkindoodle. My four-year-old daughter was guilty of standing in front of me while I brushed her straight blond hair. At that moment, Pickle saw his greatest fan as his worst enemy…she stood between him and his mommy and if it took brute force to remedy the situation by golly he was prepared.

Jealousy. I wonder why the color of life, calm, and emeralds was also assigned to such an ugly, resentful, and often ill-will bearing emotion. It is neither life-giving nor soothing in nature, yet it has existed in the hearts of humans since our genesis.

Many years have passed since I have experienced the type of coveting that would allow another to experience hurt in order for the attainment of my desire. Even so, I’m not exempt from feelings of envy. Only instead of harboring anger toward another, the type of jealousy that creeps into my life breeds discontentment.

Jealousy is often rooted in insecurity (which, by the way is rooted in pride) and for me there are three areas in which I feel most vulnerable: My talent, my intelligence, and my appearance.

There have been times that I’ve written stories that received various accolades, only to feel disheartened moments later when reading beautiful words transcribed by someone else. Instead of being inspired, I put on that ugly shade of green. I won’t think ugly thoughts about the author whose style I may covet, but I will belittle myself. Discontentment settles in and I think, “I’m just a mom who dabbles in writing. I’m not a writer. I’m not even sure why I pretend to be one.”

I’ve mentioned before about my love of word games. I can play a word game on line and earn a fantastic score, but as long as there are others ahead of me, discontentment settles in. Again, I’ll don that ugly shade of green and think, “I’m only mediocre. I wonder if I should even continue home schooling, I’m just not smart.”

Until recently, I’ve been identified as the “cute little blond.” I slipped back into my size 4 suits six weeks after my daughter was born. Being thin was part of my identity. While I am not obese, I am considered slightly over-weight and that thrusts me out of the cute and little category. I don’t like it. And when I am around women who do fit into that category, discontentment settles in and once again I drape that horrid shade of green around myself. Do I wish my friends would gain 20 pounds so I will feel better about myself? No. And that’s the truth. But I do wish I were 20 pounds lighter and I think, “I’ll never be pretty again. I turned into an old frump and I’m five years away of 40.”

Yep. That’s one ugly shade of green that I need to ditch. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing with it, because as you now know, this is an on-going struggle. It’s a struggle that will require my focus shift from my imperfect self to my perfect Savior.

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

Proverbs 27-4 NIV

(Many who follow this blog know that I’ve mentioned working on a piece about jealousy several weeks ago. As I developed my thoughts, something was missing…I just couldn’t get the article to gel. Then yesterday, during a sermon by our new pastor about being content in all circumstances, I realized the missing link...discontentment. In fact, I have at least one follow-up piece already in the works.)


Anonymous said...

Someone once told me that "Comparison is the root of bitterness." It has stuck with me ever since. I have been struggling with comparison and discontentment a lot recently. It is so encouraging to read your thoughts on it as well. Thank you.

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

"I won’t think ugly thoughts about the author whose style I may covet, but I will belittle myself." This could be true of too many areas in my life...thanks for keeping it real and sharing where you're at. Praise God He doesn't keep us there!

mommydani78 said...

i can definitely relate and i love your perspective! thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I too can relate to your post. But I am on the other side of the fence, being "alittle bigger than my peers in height & weight" since I hit puberty.

I try to keep in mind that God likes variety-everyone wasn't MEANT to be the same (how boring would that be???) & MOST importantly is: What matters MOST is how you see yourself.

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

I've turned green more than once :) Thanks for sharing.

How are you feeling?

sister sheri said...

Oh, my dear soul sister... I've just been digging myself out of my little... "no one leaves comments for me" hole!

I told God... "No one is listening (reading my blog)"... and He gently said, "I AM"... gulp... "You had me at 'I AM'"...

Looking forward to any follow-up! Feel free to be brutal... well... in love, of course!

Misty said...

ahh, i've been green too. i can still remember the day in college bible study when my leader said that vanity and self-deprication were diff sides to teh same coin. i was floored b/cs i realized how vain hating yourself is! where were you when the skies were made and all that!

Susan said...

I definitely wrestle with this and I love the connection to "discontent". This was so beautiful and something that I needed to read today.



Gretchen said...

Oh, geez...the only thing worse than a little cute thing is a CHEERY little cute thing with her makeup on and hair perfectly coiffed at the drop off line in school. ;)

Actually...for my own reasons, I'm trying to pull myself together in the mornings. But...I'll never be a cute little thing. And I'm learning that that's okay. God delights in me. As hard as it is to wrap my brain around that thought. It's true. Praise Him. And praise again for a forgiving God when I get some of that green in my eye.

Thank you for being (as always) so transparent. Definitely a relatable post for me. Definitely. Blessings.

Debra said...


You know what sweet one, I read this and came away with two things...#1) you are most definitely a writer and #2) the green I saw here was the green exhibited in "growth".

I pray your doctor has found the cause of you feeling less than well and I am looking forward to coming back and reading more of your journey of "Becoming Me".

Blessings to you sweet one!

Genny said...

You are a beautiful person, inside and out, and you are a beautiful writer!

Amy said...

Great job on this post. I appreciate your openness and honesty. We all struggle with pride and discontentment at times. In my own life it has been an ongoing struggle. We do have a source of strength to run to when we are weak. Praise God for our perfect Savior. Blessings.

Kimberly said...

I don't actually believe in mind reading, thought sometimes your posts hit so close to home, I think you MUST be reading mine!

I am afraid I wear green way too often! And I struggle in those same areas you talents, my intelligence, and my appearance. Comparison..yuck! I know it makes me feel terrible, so why, oh why do I do it?

Here is a pitiful example. As I was reading this VERY post I noticed in your "following" pics someone who comes by my blog from time to time. The green began to creep up...asking why she doesn't want to follow my blog? YUCK! What pride! I had to decide not put up the who is following me thingy because I KNEW I would fall into the comparison trap. But unfortunately, whether I want to know or not, dashboard tells me who follows me. (Thanks, by the way.) :) I have to remind myself WHY I am bring HIM glory, NOT me.

Anyways, thanks for always being so transparent. You are a blessing!

Becoming Me said...

Oh Kim...I had to think long and hard and pray about putting up the follower box. I had to take down my rating thing because I found myself feeling very competitive toward another blogger whose rating was once lower than mine...pure silliness on my part. But I have made peace with the follower thing because I view it as publicity for the other bloggers and not so much of a "look,I've got peeps" thing. I figured that since I had a list of "followers" anyway, I may as well give them credit for

That thin line varies for everyone.

I will say that I almost slipped in my rationale when I lost a follower. I know, I'm weak.

Becca said...

Boy, have I felt these very things. Uncomfortable, difficult and very humbling. You put it all down very well.

By the way, I'm a new reader! Love your site! I can't remember how I landed here but I look forward to reading what you have to write.

Cindy said...

I believe you have expressed here what many of us feel at times but won't admit.

I'll never look at someone with green eyes the same again.

Great post.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

I hardly even know what to say. SO much good. Some of it I am a bit resistant to. I want to grow, but sometimes letting go of pride is a long and painful process. I know the other side harbors so much joy.
Thank you!

Tales From the Eurovan said...

What a great post my friend! I think to myself sometimes, "Boy, I thought I would outgrow THIS with Jr. High!" Not always so!

Take care,

Angie said...

Seems to me it's rooted in pride. I find so many of my struggles come from that same ugly source. It was satan's downfall. Think about it, wasn't he jealous of the worship given to God Almighty?

It disgusts me when I really see it for what it is and brings repentance.

Why does it rear it's nasty head so easily? Let us remain sensitive to this tendency and keep bringing it into the light as you have done.

Excellent words here.

Alana said...

I think everyone can relate to this. You are right that jealousy is rooted in insecurity and pride.

Dakota's Mom said...

You're perfect, right where you are.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I know that shade of green, I've worn it more than once myself, and often over a lot of the same things. I think this is an area in which I will always struggle for growth. I am constantly having to yield that crazy thing called pride to God. (See, I'm already having to yield over the idea that you were fitting into a 4 just 6 weeks after having a baby, for me I just wanted to fit into a size that ENDED in a 4 :) )

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