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Jealousy Loss Perspective Questions Unexplained Waiting

The Green-Eyed Monster

green monster

There have been times that I have found myself thinking, “When will it be my turn?” These kinds of thoughts usually find their way into my mind when someone else has had their breakthrough when I think I am deserving of one as well. To be honest, there have been times I thought I deserved it even more than they did. I’m sure no one else has ever felt this way (queue sarcastic eye roll) but the reality is that we’re sorely tempted to compare our situations with what others are facing and weigh their value on our scale of what is fair.

Books have been written, seminars and conferences dedicated to climbing “the ladder of success.” All of us will, at some point, reach for a goal that often has to do with financial, social, or physical success. We want the promotion, the prestige, new house, car, and to be in the best shape of our lives. It feels great when someone recognizes our efforts or blessings and we feel deflated when others seem to be moving towards success while it seems we are lagging behind.

Why do we engage in this internal competition?

We’re quick to quote Scripture and verse for our own need for encouragement, but loathe to shower on others what we crave for ourselves. The green monster of jealousy, yes it sounds horrible but it is what it is, will find its way into our lives as if by stealth and we may go a long while unaware of its dangerous presence in our lives. The only way to counter jealousy is to sow authentic joy into those who have had a breakthrough.

Acts 20:35, “it’s more blessed to give than to receive” quoted frequently in the sense of giving financial gifts, works not only in our lives when we physically offer a gift to someone – it is equally powerful when we rejoice with those who have come through a situation and seen God work for them.

Years ago when our family was young, we experienced a series of 4 miscarriages after having our first child. For nearly 5 years, we had miscarriage after miscarriage; it was a trying time for us. As have many who have struggled with repetitive miscarriages, I found it difficult to rejoice with other young moms-to-be when they announced their pregnancies. Sometimes I would avoid those situations as much as possible so I could lick my wounds. Understandable as my actions were, they weren’t helping me long-term to heal emotionally. There’s something about sowing into others that births joy and healing to our own wounded and disappointed souls.

As difficult as it was for me to be happy for others, I always felt better when I summoned the courage to do so even though my feelings of grief still lingered. In turn, I reaped the strength I needed and was able to grieve and heal from those losses. My turn did come later and now I find myself a mother of 4 and grandmother of 2. I was reminded of the sting of those years recently when, during our move to Burundi from Malawi in late May this year, a vase I had that had been given to me full of flowers when we lost one of our babies, shattered. I had kept the vase with me everywhere I went; in some way it was a connection to those little ones who never saw one sunrise, and when it shattered, I felt the sting. Memories washed over me for a few hours while I unpacked. Whilst I felt the sorrow of the losses, I felt a greater thanksgiving for God bringing me through those dark days and leading me to one of the greatest lessons of my life – rejoicing with those who rejoice.

God is always looking for what is best for us. He never, yes never, assigns anything to us meant to harm us – no matter how hard it might be in the moment, the end result is good, so good. The green-eyed monster is always looking to raise its ugly head in our lives in order to keep us stagnant, stale, in pain, and broken. So what’s the remedy? Sowing into those around us, then we will discover the real life-changing breakthrough that is not like a momentary blessing of a promotion or even having children (for our kids grow up and move away). The breakthrough God is trying to get us to is one that will have lifelong and even eternal impact, we only must summon the courage and look past our own pain to slay the green-eyed monster.

Romans 12:9-15 NIV Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” 

 

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Motives Uncategorized

How Dare You?

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Have you ever wondered how someone could question your motives? Felt as if all you do is spend your time trying to prove yourself?

Early on in relationships, there is something to be said for proving oneself. New employees must show themselves worthy of their employers’ trust, new friends earn trust through the test of time, and a fiancée must prove him/herself faithful throughout a time of engagement to prove they are deserving of a lifetime commitment. There is a place and time for proving of motives.

Unfortunately, many find it difficult to move past proving and into trusting and fall into a lifetime pattern of making people prove themselves to us. As a parent of 4 children, I have watched my children pass through times of proving themselves – to me, their friends, teachers, and as they have matured and married, to their spouses. Initially, times of proving for young children are as simple as trusting them to brush their teeth, clean their rooms, and do their homework without being told. As they progress, our confidence in them grows. They are proving themselves.

It’s normal to have moments along the journey of proving ourselves that we fail, and as my kids learned, there were consequences to those moments. I felt badly for them when they faced consequences for their actions: no TV time, early bedtimes, to name a few. Their sweet faces pleading with me to “pleeeease” forgive them. Forgiveness wasn’t the issue, their father and I explained, they were forgiven. They still had to pay the price for their actions.

I remember how angry they were with me as they grew older when I would pepper them with questions, “Where are you going? Who else will be there? How long will you be gone?” To which they would reply, “Don’t you trust me?” The pain in their eyes betrayed their feelings, and it was then that I knew it was time to step back.

As they grew and matured and spread their wings, I cringed when they made certain decisions that I knew were off. I learned to bite my tongue, pray, and see them grow and follow the wisdom that we had instilled in their hearts when they were growing up. Witnessing this process was perhaps the greatest privilege I’ve had as a parent. All of the self-doubt that had plagued me throughout their childhoods was put to rest when I saw them following right paths. They grew up wiser than I could have hoped, smarter than I ever was, and gained reputations of being faithful in whatever capacity they were working or serving in. I am just a little bit proud.

I remain with daughter number 4 at home; she is our “bonus” baby coming home when the 3rd born was nearly 15. All of the lessons I learned with the first 3 have come back to me vividly as I pray to lead her down the same road of learning the importance of her facing the consequences of her actions.

There was a time when friends, close friends, of King David scorned his trust in God. Surrounded by enemies at a time of intense distress, they told him to “give up and run away.”

Imagine how God, Who had faithfully given David and his men victory after victory, must have felt when those who surrounded David, who had seen His power, told him to quit. I wonder if God wanted to ask them, “Don’t you trust me?”

Psalm 11:1,4 TLB “How dare you tell me, ‘Flee to the mountains for safety.’ When I am trusting the Lord?…But the Lord is still in His holy temple; He still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth.”

“How dare you?”

That’s what David’s response was to those mocking him. Anger filled his heart; he was outraged with their doubt. Hadn’t God rescued them time and again? Why did they need more proof than what they had already seen?

He knew God was faithful, God had proven Himself time and again. He wasn’t going to be silenced into defeat – he told everyone who was near him that God didn’t need to prove Himself. No, he wasn’t going to run away in defeat.

How dare we?

When we have seen God come through for us time and again, question His character by failing to trust Him? It’s as if we have amnesia when trouble comes; we forget all of the miracles, all of the times God came through for us.

How dare we?

I’ve decided that God doesn’t need to prove Himself to me again; I have seen His power, I have experienced miracles that are too numerous to list. I’ve decided not to allow the doubt of others creep into my experience and cause me to question God’s faithfulness. If this means that I alone trust God, as David did, so be it. There is no other that has proven himself to me as my Heavenly Father has – He is closely watching me.

Joshua 1:9 TLB Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”