I have to tell you, right from the start;
I really don’t want to write this article.
I don’t want to have to admit that I struggle so much with this. It reminds me of a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I heard many years ago.
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
I’d pretty much rather just let you assume I’m imperfect than to give you the living proof. But, it’s not really up to me now is it? When I told God I would write what He taught me, He took me seriously.
We all struggle with something, and we know that if we confess ours sins to one another, and pray for one another we will be healed (James 5:16).
I want to be healed. So here goes, like it or not.
Certainly there are several phrases that can haunt our minds and poison our souls.
“I’m not enough,”
“I won’t forgive.”
Maybe something like
“I give up”
has run through your mind a time or two.
Yeah, those are all pretty toxic, but those aren’t the words that are threatening to steal my joy.
My three little words are:
“Must Be Nice.”
It’s a phrase that comes to my head all too often. When I see someone who has a blessing I wish I could have, my first thought is “Must be nice.” And when I let that thought live in my soul, it burrows its way into my heart like a tick burrows into your skin. Yes, I know that’s gross, and we’d rather think and talk about pretty things. But guess what? Jealousy and discontent are ugly and gross too. And much more destructive than a silly tick.
“Must be nice.”
If I know you personally (okay, even if I only know of you from reading your book or being in some sort of online community with you), I’ve probably said it about you. Oh, don’t get me wrong, its not at all that I don’t want you to have that blessing. I’m happy for you. I just wish I could have it too. But that doesn’t take the poison out. It’s still me being ungrateful, and I can’t be whole with an ungrateful heart. (<<–tweet that)
When I look at someone’s blessings and say (even if only to myself) “Must be nice,” what I’m really saying is that I’m not satisfied with my own blessings, I’d rather be jealous of hers.
One strategy I’ve heard of for fighting the ugly green monster (jealousy) is to think about other people less fortunate than you. And while that has some merit because it helps you put things in perspective, it’s just not enough for me. I’ve come to the point where I don’t want my thankfulness and my satisfaction with what I’ve been given to be contingent on someone else having less. (<–tweet that) If I were the least blessed person on earth, I want to be thankful for my blessing.
So what will I do?
Well, I’ve done the first step, I’ve confessed it to all who venture by my blog.
Next, I’ll pray for a pure and thankful heart. (Psalm 51:10)
And third, I’ll take every thought captive, and make it obedient to Christ. In this case that means I’ll keep my eyes focused on my own blessings, and the God who gives them.
A phrase in one of my favorite songs says “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” That’s the thing about focus. When you focus on something, everything else becomes dim in your sight. When I focus on what other people have, my own blessings lose their wonder, and become dim, maybe even forgotten. But when I choose to focus on the many blessings I’ve been given, those other things will lose their shine, and grow dim in my sight.
I will choose to sing another song that many of us have sang since birth. “Count your blessings – name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Image courtesy of Exsodus/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net