Remember the story of Hester Prynne and her Scarlett Letter? Because she had borne a child from someone other than her husband she was required by her Puritan community to wear the red A on the front of her dress as a constant reminder of her sin.
I would need a green J.
Pure, unadulterated jealousy (now there’s an oxymoron for ya!) is one of my constant foes. I have to fight it off most every day and I hate to confess how many times I’ve lost the battle to this green monster.
According to Genesis 37, part of my daily Bible reading for this Tuesday, that same green monster landed Joseph, the favored son of Israel, in the bottom of a pit before he was eventually sold into slavery. His brothers had had it up to here with his uppity dreams, his rainbow robe, and his incessant tattling. But undoubtedly the final green fur ball that made their own green monsters come alive was the favor he consistently received from his dad, their dad.
And that’s usually the final fur ball in my nasty, monstrous behavior as well. Someone else, well-deserving or not, gets something I long for desperately.
- a fellow forty-something mom finally loses her “baby weight” while I’m still
stuffing my facetrying to get rid of mine 17 years later.
- another mom/housewife/freelance writer gets her book published by a real publisher who gets on her band wagon and toots their horn for her while I’m still tooting my own for my self-published books.
- my friend’s husband takes her on a Caribbean cruise while mine takes me to Tucson.
- my long-distance friend downloads pictures of her grand house with acreage and a pond and I sweep my whole back yard with a broom in 10 minutes tops.
- my other Facebook friends post their splendid weekend plans – hike the Grand Canyon, run a marathon, shop til ya drop, mani-pedi, you name it – and I read all about it in between trips to the laundry room.
Oooh! Do you see the green goo oozing from these examples? And obviously it doesn’t take much to turn me from a pleasant beigey pink to a startling green. Deplorable, that’s what it is!
Please tell me you occasionally battle this ugly green monster, too. Maybe not over the same petty jealousies that lurk inside of me, but don’t you get a little green with envy every now and then?
Here’s what I think causes this pea green monster to lift its ugly head and breathe its foul green breath into my nostrils:
- My own insecurities. On the days when I know who I am and whose I am I tend to stay a lot pinker. Princesses aren’t intimidated by others’ crowning achievements, but princesses who have misplaced their own tiaras are!
- My ungrateful heart. When it’s been a while since I’ve counted my blessings I tend to operate like I have a negative balance. All it takes is a quick look in my own blessed account to see that “my cup overflows.”
- My unbridled ambition. The desire to be the best I can be is no problem. But when I start desiring to be the best anyone can be, the best there is, the best in the world, bwa ha ha! …now that’s a tiny little problem… you think I’m exaggerating… sadly, you don’t know me very well… it’s really sad…
- My desire to please. Others, that is, not God. When I turn my allegiance from pleasing God to pleasing others I turn into a very bad-behaving Miss Congeniality who’s happy as long as everyone is fawning over me but miserable when someone else is getting even an ounce of the attention.
Oh my word, I can’t believe I just told you all of that, all four of you! But they say confession is good for the soul, so…
But I didn’t just confess all to get a little relief from my green hue. I don’t want to settle for a pale green instead of a gory, dark olive. I want to rip that green J off my chest once and for all. So here’s what I plan to do:
- Rejoice daily in who I am in Christ Jesus. He made me just so for His purposes. He has great plans for me too. They may not include trips to the Caribbean or a pond in my backyard, but He’s been taking me on a wild and thrilling ride for over 40 years now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is my Beloved and I am His.
- Count my many blessings, name them one by one. A grateful heart is sweet and pink. That’s the goal.
- Aim for one thing only, to please my Lord. No selfish ambition or vain glories. Instead I’ll strive for the applause from an audience of One.
- Celebrate others. Sometimes it may take a little effort on my part, but when I jump in other peoples’ parades and toot my horn for them instead of for myself, it gets easier with every beat of the drum. I’m going to be glad for the friend that loses weight, enjoy those photos on Facebook, and send my friend off on her cruise with a cheerful “bon voyage!”
If you have a little green monster that comes out (or rises up within!) occasionally, maybe these little tips will work for you too.
Before I leave, here’s what I thought was humorous about my reading today:
Some wild beast indeed!