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.)