Monday, December 07, 2009

jealousy

How can something so ugly be so natural to us humans? It's as if him saying, "Thou shalt not covet . . . " he was saying, "Thou shalt not feel hunger." Is jealousy an action? A choice? Or is it a feeling? A state of being that overcomes me and entangles me in ways that are often difficult to shake loose? I don't feel like I choose to be jealous like I might choose to tell a lie, but I certainly entertain jealous thoughts, I feed them when they come, giving them enough light and water to stay alive until I distract myself with something else.

So how do I kill it? How do I be not jealous? Ideally, I should rejoice for my friends when I feel jealous of them, celebrate the things and opportunities that they have, even when I selfishly desire them for myself. But sadly, it's easier to focus on the good that I have or bad that they have to get rid of the thought that I want what they have. "Well, I may not have that, but I do have this, and this is really great," of, "Well, they have that which I want for myself, but they also have that which I don't want, so I should be glad that I'm me and not them." It's great to focus on what I'm thankful for, to rejoice in my blessings, but that kind of comparison, of measuring myself up against you seems just like the thing that is at the root of this jealousy in the first place.

Am I even capable of killing it? Maybe I just need to confess and repent and ask for forgiveness and healing, and remember that I'm not the One who killed it, I'm not the One who nailed it to some wood where it died. But the very word "repent" implies action, it implies a turn, a new direction. So where do I turn when I feel jealous? Towards gratitude, contentment, trust, love for others, towards things that often seem so much less natural to me. Again, I must turn to the One who not only killed it, but who opened the path for those things that I truly desire, the things so much more foreign to me than jealousy and pride and selfishness. He must have experienced it too. He must have been tempted by it also.

I hope that one day, I can really truly learn to rejoice with you and to want the best for you more than I want it for me. Until then, I'll keep fighting this thing I hate, and rejoice on the days when rejoicing for you feels easier than worrying about what I don't have. Even reading this feels dirty and ugly, and I'm tempted to delete it, and forget that I ever confessed these things. But I need to see the dirt before it can be washed, and I know that you experience it too. And again, it's not as if I'm confessing a secret felony I commit, it's more like I'm saying, "I breathe."

2 comments:

Amy Simpson said...

Yes.

Thanks for not deleting this.

images of hope from a wandering artist said...

I'm with Amy- very good post. Everyone feels this way sometimes, and I think its awesome that you can be open about it. You rock! :)