Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I've never thought of myself as a jealous person. I was rarely one who had to have an exclusive on my relationships. I understood that there were others before me and that others would follow. No big deal. If my significant other talked to another woman, steam did not rise from my head. It just wasn't my style. But lately I have learned that envy is an entire different animal. Envy is more about comparison. And boy was I becoming good at mastering that lovely attribute.

Doesn't it seem like that which is elusive to you comes so easy to everyone else? Of course it is magnified by our own sensitivity but nonetheless it feels like a cruel joke.

When we were trying, for two years, to conceive our first child I felt like every conversation I had included a woman telling me how "she just looked at her husband and got pregnant." (so that's what I was doing wrong.) When we were renting a home for five straight years all I heard on the news was how quickly home prices were rising and that if " I didn't act now" we'd never realize the "American Dream". I felt like I was "the only one." Everyone else's life was rosy and I was missing out. Such a lie.

In the recent season of losses, I regularly found myself in a pity party of enormous proportions. I spent more time than I care to admit resenting my own lot and taking inventory of my neighbors' lives. Through my painted on smile, thoughts would run through my head like: "Why can't I have her life?" "Why does everything always go their way?" "They're going to Hawaii..... again?" "Her husband got yet another promotion?" All that was missing in my life was spilling over the top in theirs. I was in a funk that was easily justified by my "extenuating circumstances". Add the "winter blues" and no one could argue with my crummy attitude. Hmmph.

While at last weekend's retreat, the second evening I felt free to unload with my dear friends and bared my ugly soul about this. One of them shared this quote: "Comparison is the thief of joy." Ouch! It is so very true. I had let my scorekeeping and comparison steal that joy I once had. No more. And to hit it home, God showed me this passage from His word: "A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones." Proverbs 14:30 Isn't that a perfect description of joy: a heart at peace? Now that's a comparison I'd rather be reminded of.