Christen, thanks again for the chance to guest post here at The Uncontainable Truth!
My four year old daughter's shoulders are sagging as she tugs my shirt and stares at me with round, pleading eyes.
"It just makes me so sad," she moans.
I'm sad, too. Slightly amused at her, but sad for entirely different reasons.
"Did you see her toy kitchen? It was pink! She has an apron! I'm just so sad about my green toy kitchen. It's not so cute and pink like hers." She's been moping for a full ten minutes.
Caroline's toy kitchen is green, and so is she, with jealousy. My generous, joyful girl has, for the first time, been bitten hard by the monster of envy. I wrap my arms around her and tell how Mimi and Pal gave her the green toy kitchen for Christmas when she was tiny. I tell her how her beloved Pal pieced it together, while bald, tiny Caroline trailed behind him, scattering screws and making the task hard and sweet.
Within moments, Caroline is belly laughing and ready to pretend cook. While she stirs make-believe stew, my own thoughts brew about envy.
How skinny girls make me want to lose weight.
How spacious floor plans and tall ceilings make me miss our old house.
How fashion magazines make my own closet depressing.
We compare ourselves to others constantly. Where we win, pride festers in our soul.
... at least we're thinner/smarter/nicer/wealthier/more stylish/more holy than her.
Where we lose the comparison competition, jealousy breeds.
Our green toy kitchen is no longer nearly as fun, now that she has a pink one.
Our house/car/body/abilities are no longer worth gratitude, since hers are better.
And how do we pick whom we compare ourselves to?
When I chastise myself for gaining five pounds,
I'm neglecting to compare myself to the woman overtaken by cancer.
I bet she'd prefer my body.
When I call our home small and cramped,
I wonder what their homes are like.
When I groan at a closet overstuffed, partially with clothes I don't like,
I'm forgetting our church asked me to thin that closet by sending items to international refugees who move to our city with nearly nothing.
They're thankful for clean clothes to cover their backs, even if it's not the latest style in Vogue.
Who do we think we are, anyway, that we should always have more and better?
Didn't God Almighty call us "worms" in scripture? (here, here, and here)
Do worms dare
pout for better cars, careers, and figures?
Our merciful Father, even as He calls us worms... He promises to help us.
"'Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
He knows how weak we are.
How prone to sin.
How wrecked with jealousy.
He humbles Himself by living with us...
in the hearts and lives of mere worms...
healing us of our jealousy and sickness and sin.