Yellow = cowardly. Red = angry. Blue = sad. Green = envious. Two days ago I was having a teensy little problem with envy. Actually, truth be told, it was more like jealousy. Is there really a difference, you ask? Yes, but it’s subtle. Sort of. Envy’s definitely the milder of the two. Envy says, “I want what she has.” Jealousy is more like, “I want what she has, and I want to be the one to rip it out of her grimy little hands and take it for myself!” (not the kind of sin I feel like admitting to, but here’s to honesty)
I can always tell when I’m starting to go green. I read a blog or talk to a friend–and I feel the twinge. I see God blessing certain people (often people I’m close to and normally thrilled for), and I start getting all irritated. And then pouty. And then bitter. And mad. Then I (sub-)consciously start wishing curses upon their heads.
I’m just lovely.
All day Wednesday I was fighting the green. (Work-at-home daddy + girlies home from school didn’t exactly help my mood.) It was a looooong day. After supper (and some yelling) and dishes (and some more yelling), I decided to be pro-active and climb out of my pit before I slid any farther (further?) down. See, the good thing about struggling with jealousy on a semi-regular basis is that I know by now that I DO NOT want to fall all the way into the pit. It’s a crappy place to be.
So. I turned off my computer (a.k.a., My Best Friend and Worst Enemy) and played games with the girls. It was a very long hour and fifteen minutes. I put them to bed a bit early, and all the squabbling must have worn them out, because I heard nary a peep out of them after that. I walked right by my laptop, grabbed two Bibles, a pen, and my journal, and headed up to my bed where I sat and prayed through some Psalms with David and Asaph.
I’ve learned that “actions first, feelings follow” applies to much of life. Attitude adjustments, cleaning the bathroom, energizing the marriage bed… So, even though I might not have felt like praying, I did it anyway. God, forgive me… Please turn my eyes and heart toward you… How ugly it is to be self-absorbed and me-centric… Please bless friends X, Y and Z, and bless ’em real good… Oh, God, love on the little ones hanging on to dear life right now… My “problems” are so trivial…
And then I took some concrete action. Sent some e-mails, commented on some blogs, caught up on facebook and twitter and generally just tried to leave bits and pieces of cheer here and there for various folk. Purposed in my heart to find people God was blessing and be happy for them if it killed me.
And you know what? God took over. I offered him my stinky heart, he wiped it off, and handed it back to me ALL CLEAN! I love that. And then I did some more praying–much of it face-down on the floor where I go when I’m super-burdened about something (and since I rarely vacuum our bedroom floor, I always stand back up with pieces of fuzz all over me–there’s gotta be a metaphor there). I asked God to prepare my heart for Big Mama’s give-away. See, I know me. And when I’m not fixing my eyes on Jesus, I start to find my worth in what I do, not who I am. Good day in Author Land? I feel warm and fuzzy. Down day? I feel worthless and neglected. ENOUGH OF THAT. So, I said (over and over) to God, “Lord, if nobody enters the give-away, help me be okay with that. I’m yours. That’s all that matters. And if tons of people get excited about it, PLEASE don’t let it go to my head. All I have/do/say/know is from YOU. The glory’s not mine.”
And, wow. He answered my prayer in a huge way. Lots of comments, and I just felt humbled and grateful. And while this may have been a shining moment in my writing career, it kind of got evened out by bickering kiddos, overdue bills, and some other personal junk.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I loved your comments. Some of the more personal stories moved me, and I prayed for you. You have until Sunday to win a book at my place and a book and Target gift card (!) at Mel’s. I’ve loved meeting so many wonderful new people this week. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on jealousy. Anyone else struggle with the Green-Eyed Monster? Any antidotes (or anecdotes) you’d like to share? Happy Weekend!