What jealousy really means

There's this feeling called jealousy--maybe you've heard of it. If not, let me give you a little description: Jealousy wreaks havoc on your body. It makes your heart hurt, your head throb, causes you to get TMJ, not be able to sleep, and makes you drive your nails into your palms until you have two sets of mini-craters.

Jealousy makes you overanalyze your work, try too hard; it can turn you into a very judgmental (and sometimes arrogant) person, or do the exact opposite and make you hate everything about yourself that, at one point, you used to love. But most of all, jealously makes you lose site of what's important.

Not long ago, YA author Leigh Ann Kopans shared a post about jealousy, and it got me thinking. This jealousy is something I know a lot about, considering I've been writing for 4+ years now and have received, I'd say, more than 150 rejections/no responses from agents/publishers (for three separate books--mind you, I'm not saying that they were all perfect).

I agree with a lot of Leigh's points, including truly being happy for other writers when they announce signing agents and/or deals (while at the same time wishing the same thing for myself). But there's a few things that came to me as I read, and I felt they were necessary to mention.

1) For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that Lovemuffin was very sick a while back, and a few things changed for us personally afterwards. My relationship with the Lord grew immensely as He showed me more about His true heart, and who we are in Him, to our Heavenly Father.

As a result of that, He's opened my eyes to a lot of things, one being that when He opens a door, no one can shut it. I used to think I had to do everything on my own. It's a pretty popular mentality: If I don't do it, no one will. But the problem is, that mentality makes you rely on your own effort... which can end up being a problem.

For one, you look at other people's journeys and try to mold their steps/happenstances into your own in order to achieve the same thing. But each of us has a completely different story, and He has written a unique plan for us as well. We are meant to touch different people, to rub against different people, to move and learn and brush off on different people as they brush off on us. We can't look at anyone else's writing/publication (or any other kind of) journey and expect it to be our own, any more than we can look at one person's diet/workouts and expect the same results.

Another reason that thought process gets in the way is we depend on man to work when Someone much higher and more powerful can change things for our favor instantaneously.

Knowing that simple truth gives you the power to work and not worry about what is going to happen in the future. Knowing He wants what's best for you and has a plan for what's been put on your heart gives you the desire to continue.

2) I recently heard a sermon where the pastor made a comment about jealousy. He said that, when we get jealous, what we are really saying is that we think God doesn't have enough power/smarts/ability/ect. to make all of us prosper.

At first, that comment bounced right off me, but as I thought about it for a while, I realized he was so right. When we get jealous about someone "making it", what we're really thinking is "That's not fair--I wish it were me."

There's nothing wrong with wanting something for our lives--having the desire to show what we've accomplished. But knowing Who helped you accomplish it makes a big difference in it getting accomplished.

Here's the thing. Like I mentioned above, in thinking

"that's not fair--I wish it were me who had insert item here" (this could be a book deal, a promotion, a new house, a new car, a child, and on and on and on)

we are inadvertently saying

if they have it, then there's no way that I can. They already got it. It is no longer available. 

And that is not true.

There are tons of positions, there are tons of agents, there are tons of publishers, there are tons of friends, there are tons of cars, and I am convinced you could apply any situation you are in to this sentence and the same would be true. Problem is, we see things a specific way. Here's an example of what I'm trying to say:

A guy and his son go out to a park near their home, and stand at the edge of a little, man-made lake.

The son says to his dad, "I like this place. It's beautiful and wild and calm and fun and blue."

The dad looks out over water, at the ducks paddling around in it, at the movement their webbed feet cause, the waves rolling over the dirt embankment, at the trash floating nearby. He sees where the grass has died due to dogs peeing, and notices a lone shoe sitting in a patch of mud that a child must have left accidentally.

Though the park looks dirty, he doesn't think it looks sad enough to be considered blue.

"What do you see that is blue?" he asks his little boy.

This is his son's answer:

"The sky, Dad. The sky above the water--it's blue, it's calm, it's beautiful. The sky beyond the lake, off near our house--see the clouds shaped like cotton candy? It's fun, 'specially that one right there that looks like a cowboy on a wild adventure."

The dad looks out across the lake and realizes he'd missed so much... he didn't see the airplane flying above their house, he didn't notice the pack of girls sitting on a blanket off to the west near the teeter-totters, laughing. He didn't see the couple on bench on at the other end of the lake, holding hands. And he didn't see that when you look at something, you can look right at it and expect what you see to be all there is available; or you can choose to look at the whole picture and beyond, knowing there are many things your eyes have yet to notice.

That's how He works. He sees the whole picture. We try out for jobs, for positions, for agents (or whatever), thinking this is the only way things can happen. The reality of it all though, is that His plan may have you submitting to so-and-so, yes, but then they may know someone who sees something and tells someone and six months down the road you get a call that you never expected from someone you'd never heard of. (No, this didn't happen to me.)

Bottom line to this entirely too-long post? He is able to do everything. And, He is willing. His plan may seem to take longer than you want, but, ultimately, it's constructed better than you ever could have attempted for it to be. So when you get down because someone else appears to be receiving blessings you've been wanting, and start to hear that voice in your head that makes you think it's not possible for you or you need to do this or that (thereby losing sight of the reason you had the desire for it in the first place), remind yourself who's really in charge. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and say,

 This can be mine, too.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Be blessed,



Andi said...

I'm so happy to see that you are back blogging, writing and tweeting! I have missed you. I can't wait to read your book! And I am very happy for you. All the best to you- always- you deserve it!

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Heyyyyy my friend! :D Thanks, and yes... it was about time! Miss you too, can't wait to release it. (Couple weeks, probably... yay!) Hugs to you!