A sister in Christ shared something on a forum that spoke to me. She was suffering a physical ailment and battling finances on a ship that is sinking. When she sees a family in her church seemingly wealthy and perfect she is pained and finding herself battling jealousy. Aware of it and knowing it is wrong she was seeking prayer. She certainly has my prayers.
I wanted to share my own journey in this. Because I share things on a blog titled A Housewife Extraordinaire. People often get their knickers in a twist and well, they hate on me. Photos of projects, pretty things, happy kids, a great husband makes some people's blood boil.
What a difficult area to navigate. I have been where you are, in poverty, in suffering. I learned more about Christ in those times than in any other of my life. I am blessed by suffering, truly. Pride and jealousy is a cancer.
For me, in those times, I had to question my own thoughts. Why do we need to believe these things when we see happiness, joy, or abundance in the lives of others?
"They must be in debt up to their eyeballs."
"They must have a terrible marriage."
"They aren't really happy."
There is no grace in these thoughts. No mercy. No Jesus.
We met a couple 15 yrs ago. Financially secure. Beautiful home, happy, great family. Vacations. Good Stewards. Faithful. Loving. Admired. Respected. God had worked on me to that point in my life by then and for the first time I wasn't jealous. I wasn't threatened. I wasn't embarrassed, or anything negative. I was drawn to them. I wanted to know them.
They became our dearest friends. They become our mentors in faith, our role models. They modeled how to get where we wanted to be in life - marriage, faith, family and prosperity. They are treasures. They're story is not one without sorrow, and pain. But it's a story of triumph.
The truth was, we had made some decisions that made every minor crisis a major one AND we also had some difficult cards dealt to us in health problems but everybody does really. It's rarely all or none.
Now we are financially in a better place and we are still growing and recovering from setbacks, but we are on a good path. Our family is healthy, strong. My home is beautiful and life is very good. Overwhelmingly good. Not perfect, by many standards, but I've learned to view everything through a very different lens and so it feels pretty perfect to me.
The truth is, it was always good, even in the hard times, I was so blessed, and despite those moments of jealousy that pricked my peace I knew it then too. Now, I walk in that truth daily. Life altering slaying that green eyed beast.
People sometimes look at the things I share and think similar unkind things about me I'm sure. I do interior design, and custom furniture and decor and I am pretty good at lots of things.
If they didn't assume, but instead took the time to get to know me, they would learn my story. I was raised in poverty, abuse and addiction. My family is broken and irreparable. I married at 17 was divorced twice by the age of 24 with two children, a working single mom. I was raised in no faith at all. I have been born with a heart condition and had by age 24 $100,000 in medical debt from heart surgery and treatment. I filed bankruptcy then.
Enter grace and mercy and a fervent desire to change my life and my family tree.
An old friend from high school entered into my life and this time I was open to God's plans and not my own. A deep and powerful, lifelong conversion began in y soul. A marriage I had never even witnessed in my life began 17 yrs ago and thrives to this very day. A close, amazing family grew in us. Faith, homeschooling, and building a financial plan for our provision. Education. Hard work. Perseverance.
Cake walk? no. My husband was deployed into War. We lost babies in miscarriage. We lost everything we owned in Hurricane Katrina and relocated with almost nothing. I was diagnosed with MS. My son has epilepsy, my daughter shares my congenital heart condition.
Jealousy and those thoughts which flow from it are not bringing peace. They are robbing you and they are lying to you.
"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt.
It is terribly unhealthy to comfort ourselves by assuming those we see in a good place must secretly be miserable, in debt, bad people, instead of considering God has in fact blessed them because of their faithfulness in storms or the measure of their own commitment.
Perhaps we could look upon the grace in the lives of others and in place of jealousy, find hope. Hope that God is faithful. Hope that God will provide and that we can improve our behaviors and choices to lend a hand in our own prosperity too.
I would not trade my Cross for anyone's. It is mine to carry, and I count it all joy.