My hope for you, my fellow spiritual warriors, is that there are divisions among you. Yes, you heard me right. I hope that there are certain things that divide you from each other, that you are separated. Excuse me now, as I elaborate in a semi-geeky fashion.
Tag Archives: Jealousy
This guy, he had no idea how close he was to getting the front of a Pontiac up under the bumper of his Jeep and run off the road. He had no idea how close he was to seeing a spectacle of maroon fury as this travel weary chica was about to pass someone by use of the ditch. He had no idea how lucky he was that our pastor had used the example of road rage in a sermon a couple of weeks ago and so I was trying to tame the beast. One of my biggest displays of the anger problem that lurks beneath my friendly surface, road rage.
It is the worst in the summer as that is when the “c” word starts coming out. You know what I mean. The shudder you feel when you see that orange sign with those black letters, “Construction Ahead”. I try to be a pretty courteous and smart driver, unfortunately that makes me very upset at those that I do not believe are behaving likewise.
I always thought that that was the worst feeling in the world was being the car stuck in the right lane as those in the left lane fly by, only to merge over a foot before their lane closed. I was wrong, there is a worse feeling. I was on my way home from my road trip, having already driven somewhere around 24 hours, and I had about 20 more to go. Grand Rapids, MI my point A and Pella, IA my point B, for this eight hour leg of the journey at least. I was only a half hour out of the city when I hit dreaded stop and go traffic. There was not even a construction sign in sight, I knew this was going to take a while.
I was in the left lane, and both of the lanes were going slow, the right lane only slightly more so. A half hour passed, I was only inching forward. Then, I finally saw it “Left Lane Closed 2 Miles Ahead”. I hate being the jerk that waits in the left lane until the end, but I had two miles to go and I was barely passing anyone in the right lane anyway. I told myself that I would wait a mile and then try to merge over.
Plus, I like to do this rolling thing. Whenever I get the chance, and the other drivers cooperate, I break free of the “stop and go” headache and I just roll at about 10 mph. I would catch up to the car ahead of me while they were stopped and then they would rush forward at 30 mph or more leaving a nice gap for me to keep rolling in. I hadn’t touched a pedal in about 10 minutes. The right lane, knowing that the left was going to close, wasn’t pulling in to take advantage of the space like they do when I try this around larger cities.
I was a little way past the 2 mile ’til sign when a right lane car finally took advantage of the space left in front of me. I waited for him to dash forward and be the driver who is just trying to gain as much distance as possible, but he didn’t. I soon realized that he was sick of the left lane slowly passing the cars in the right, stopping the left lane from passing anymore. He matched the right lane gas for gas and break for break. I watched as the space between him and the other cars in the left lane increased, 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards, and finally the road became too curvy and I could no longer see the other cars in the left lane.
I was furious. I possibly started foaming at the mouth. How dare he! Doesn’t he know that I have eight more hours to go before I can stop for the day? Who does he think he is? The savior of the right lane? I contemplated the shoulder, but my hubby’s Pontiac was too wide, I would have to put the left side in the ditch and his low clearance scared me. If I was only in my Jeep, I muttered to myself, I would pass him in the ditch. Instead I settled for almost kissing his back bumper with my front every time he stopped alongside the right lane. I made sure he could see me in his side mirror, and I glared.
When we finally got through the construction and where set free on both lanes I caught up to this self-righteous Jeep driver and contemplated boxing him in for the next hundred or so miles. Playing some cat and mouse, or whatever else it took to ruin his day as well. Unfortunately, he was driving too slow and I had many miles to make up.
I have this road rage feeling during everyday life as well. If someone’s life seems to be going better, the journey smoother, the destination reached faster, then I feel that it somehow belittle’s my life and my journey. I am just stuck in the right lane. I am worth less.
Sometimes I am the jerk who pulls over only to slow every one else down. Instead of being happy at a friend’s wedding, I refuse to give any compliments as my wedding was better and everyone should be aware of that. For some reason I believe that the beauty of this wedding somehow diminishes mine.
When someone finds their dream job, I only talk about the negative aspects it brings. For some reason I fear that their joy and success will crowd out mine and somehow make it less.
If they are beautiful, it means that I am not. If they have an amazing vacation, it means that mine was less special. If they completed a marathon it means that my 10k is pathetic. If someone mentions that so-and-so is such an expiring Christian, I soon believe that I am only at pathetic pagan level.
Somehow, I started believing this idea that there can only be one winner, in everything. I started to believe that someone else’s successes can only mean that I can not succeed.
I need to start seeing as God sees. Their beauty does not mean that I am flawed. Their inspiring Christian life does not mean that I am living a lesser journey. Joy is not a contest. I can have joy in my experiences while others have joy in theirs, and we should have joy in each other.
The race of life. I have to stop trying to beat others, and just focus on my own personal best.
I read this blog post while reading through the World Race website and pondering about what it would be like to go on such a journey. Kacie Lester blogs at Color Me Captivated and she shared this story about learning to live in community. It is a lesson I desperately need to learn. We should all strive to say, “color me captivated”, but most days as envy sneaks in, I just find myself thinking, color me green.
instant coffee & not-so-instant-friendship
– posted on 10/10/2012 by Kacie Lester
I learned a lot about comparison last year while I was on the World Race.
Mainly that I needed to wage war against it. And, that my short-ish, rounder-than-Victoria’s-Secret-model-shaped figure, turn-a-shade-of-fire-engine-red-when-I’m-embarrassed face, and alarmingly loud laugh aren’t just beautiful in theory. They’re actually stunning.
And I had to learn this all while living with a beautiful woman who is in every way my physical opposite.
I was particularly upset one day early in the Race as I watched my beautiful teammate go about her day flawlessly – even her messy crying fits and bouts of insecurity were beautiful – and I often wondered how it could be possible at all that I could also be beautiful with my pale skin and boring hair and short (and admittedly thicker) frame.
I’m so different – I speak and think and act and look so vastly differently than this girl who is, in every sense of the word, beautiful.
I would ask myself constantly, “How can I also be beautiful when I’m nothing like this girl who embodies the word?”
I actually sat Stephanie down the week we met and I told her to her face that I probably wasn’t going to like her. She was too perfect and I was sure she knew it, and I cannot get along with conceited girls (which I figured she was, without a doubt).
Then I learned that she wanted to write, I wanted to write – she wanted to sing, I do sing – she used to dance, I used to dance – I paint, she likes to paint – I play guitar, she wanted to learn. Initially, I just saw my obvious inferiority to her, so I saw everything we had in common as threatened. She obviously looked better doing it, so I had to prove that I actually did it better. Competition stacked on top of comparison, and everything got bitter.
That battle with comparison wasn’t just a battle over me. The spirit that was bringing up fear and judgment towards her wasn’t just attacking me. It was attacking unity – the body, the bride of Christ.
It didn’t want me to feel equal to her, and it certainly didn’t want me to love her.
Envy, absolutely. But not love.
And I did not love her.
In fact, there was a night in Romania that I and my blonde, beautiful teammate walked up to our leaders separately, without having discussed it, and calmly informed them that our team simply would not work because we could not live together, and they need to change it. Please and thank you.
We left Romania on the very same team we’d been on when we had arrived. Our eloquent leader had a brilliant (miserable sounding) idea: “Seeing as how you certainly aren’t being separated, you need to decide to love each other. Really love each other. Like, put effort into loving each other.”
I won’t pretend I didn’t begin that endeavor with a “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” justification, but motivation being right or wrong, every other morning for a month I gave her a Nescafe 3-in-1 instant coffee packet.
The mornings I didn’t give her one, she gave one to me. There wasn’t coffee where we were living, so these coveted gifts were delicacies. We could have each just kept our own coffee, but giving and receiving it every morning meant sacrificing our treasures and our pride. And, slowly but surely, we learned to love each other over these tiny gifts.
Gift giving turned into praying for each other. As a wise woman (Stephanie) once said to me: “It’s impossible to not be on the same team as someone else when you’re praying for them.”
Praying for each other turned into delivering one another’s notes after we’d prayed, including a word of encouragement. Then we were loving each other – and loving each other well – as sisters and as friends.
Two months later, we were granted our long-gone wish and were put on separate teams to travel and serve with, and we didn’t have a chance to live together again for the remaining eight of our 11 months abroad. We arrived back in America at the end of the Race, and two months later, we became roommates.
Now that I know her heart, I see how often the enemy tries to tell her she’s ugly and awkward looking. The fact that she can look in the mirror as often as she does and see imperfection and ugliness in herself proves to me more than anything that the enemy exists. I ended up teaching her to play guitar and now we worship together in our adorable little Georgia apartment when the enemy tries to get in our business.
Comparison almost robbed me of one of my very dearest friends, simply because I didn’t know she was my very dear friend, yet. All I saw was all the ways we were starkly different, the ways I wanted to be like her, and wasn’t. And the very few ways she wanted to be like me and didn’t yet know how to be.
But the Lord calls us sisters. He calls us united by one body, one spirit, one hope. (Eph. 4:4)
He sees her as flawless – and he sees me as flawless.
My flawlessness doesn’t give her flaws, nor does her flawlessness negate mine. They don’t look the same – but that isn’t a truth that limits the definition of “flawless.” Rather, it infinitely expands the capacity and depth of the perfection of God.
Redemption is perfect in Christ. I am perfect in Christ. She is perfect in Christ.
Who are you competing with? Who do you feel is beneath you? Who are you trying to out-rank?
He or she could be your best friend, your next roommate, the loudest voice of truth in your life, or your very biggest fan. You just might not know it yet because an enemy who hates you is actively trying to change that reality.
Love intentionally. Pray. Encourage one another. And if you aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to start buying some instant coffee packets!