“Jealousy is counting someone else’s blessings.”
I heard this on the radio yesterday morning as I was sitting in my office getting prayed up for our worship service. At first it just struck me as fairly profound, but now it’s just eating at me. I’ve never really thought myself as a jealous person–cynical yes, jealous no. When I look at it in this context, I am in fact a terribly jealous person.
I often weigh myself up against other’s accomplishments and wonder why I’m not good enough to do those things? Or why was I not chosen for that? Or…I could go on in a thousand ways.
I wonder “why” a lot. Am I not good enough? Smart enough? Do I not work hard enough? Is my testimony not dramatic enough because I choose not to wear my hardships that I deal with on my sleeve? Does God’s redemptive work in my life not matter?
I see a lot of the 80/20 rule (or is it 90/10? I never remember…) in the ministry that I am involved in. The same people are always chosen to do the same things. I’ve questioned why before, and have experienced a variety of answers from “that’s just the way it’s always been done” to “no one else wants to do it.” None of these answers have ever really satisfied me. I don’t think people know how to break into the small clique of people that are doing it all. How does one scream from the rooftops “I’m worthy enough” to be able to contribute to the whole without being looked down upon? I’m getting off my topic here…
Jealousy is a dangerous place to live because too often it leads to judgment. I was in a text conversation with someone this weekend talking about someone I used to consider a friend, someone that I thought cared about me the way I cared about them, and their accomplishments. I realize that I am jealous of this person and their accomplishments because they have done the things that I want to be able to do in ministry–the things that I believe God has gifted me to do. They’ve done it and I haven’t. Someone along their way has encouraged them to pursue something further and they have accomplished something that no one has seen in me. I’m jealous. And it hurts.
I have to look at the flipside of this situation too, and look at the person. Their accomplishments have changed them. They are no longer the once humble person they used to be. They have left behind a lot of friends they had and pursued friendships that appear on the outside to solely be for status and personal gain. I don’t want to be that person. That’s a judgment. And that hurts that I can be ugly like that.
So how do you move past jealousy? I don’t know. I do know what I need to do–and that’s to get my nose out of everyone else’s business and mind my own. Easier said than done. But that’s reality. I really have no right to judge–ever–and jealousy is sinful, it just leads to more trouble. It feels good at the time, but that ugliness builds up. And then I find myself right where I am.
I don’t want to be ugly–inside or out. That’s kind of the advent of this whole personal overhaul. It’s time to stop comparing myself to others in every situation and focus on myself and who I am as a child of God. I can’t say it now, but I do believe someday I will be able to say that “I am enough.” (cue tears) God has created me to me, and it’s time that I get to know that person instead of making myself into someone else. I am called to a particular mission in life that’s all mine, and it’s going to look different from someone else’s calling, as it should. In the end, it’s all about showing Jesus to a dark world. May I never let anything, including myself, stand in the way of that.