IS She Jealous of Me???

Isn’t that always the first thing that women say to themselves or in conversation? You fall out with the little girl on the playground, the other popular girl in high school, the young lady whose path you cross sometimes on the university campus, the lady at the office that is always staring at you- even your friend when the two of you have fallen out. What is it about women where the very first assumption we make after the onset of perceived conflict is that she has to be jealous? Could it be that you’re so familiar with jealousy that it seems only logical to paste the label on someone else? I can almost hear you retort, “I’m not jealous of anyone!!!”

The FACT of the matter is that jealousy rises up in each of us more often than we care to admit. Often times the sting is so subtle and natural that you haven’t really thought to label it. It’s a very common emotional reaction, actually. You know how it is when you’ve been working exhausting hours on a job that “pays the bills” only to get a phone call from your sister friend that she just got a raise? Jealousy disguises itself in the voice that says,  “girl, you don’t even work that hard and you’re getting even MORE money- good for youuuu……(knot in the throat, chest tightening). What about the, oh so common very over-worked phrase, “it must be nice….”? There ARE those times when you’re having the usual irritating day and your phone rings, and you don’t want to hear another WONDERFUL thing from your FOREVER CHIPPER friend, while you feel you are barely staying afloat or above a suicidal level. And we say prayers such as “Lord, it isn’t that I don’t want anyone else to have it, but why can’t I have it TOO?” JEALOUSY.

I’m going to venture into the secret place now where only your most embarrassing and unkind truths and God exist. When you’ve been under the assumption that someone’s life was pretty much PERFECT, and you receive and welcome (I might add) news of some flaw, hiccup or misfortune and you notice that slight tinge of relief that their life isn’t that perfect, after all. While you’re in the throws of supporting the sister, friend, associate, there is the hint of reality that you have been jealous of that person. And many of us will feel so guilty about the feeling- that sense of relief, that we tuck it away under mounds of disingenuous and “faithful” support for her during the ordeal. But in our quiet time, that gruesome revelation about ourselves (the fact we felt relief) needs to be confronted. We must hold ourselves accountable. We never address the sting in the stomach area, knot in the throat, chest gripping, sinking feeling  manifestations that we are JEALOUS and really feel like yelling, WHY NOT ME……….TOO?!?!?!?! Any time we have crossed over into a mode of comparing our ratio of effort and results to that of someone else’s, there is a deep seated envy biting at your soul; a voice crying out in the inner recesses of your being that life is not fair; that you have received less than you deserve. Even when you dare not say it, those thoughts can be likened to a jagged-toothed piranha nipping at your hope.

It is at this time that prayer and meditation are ESSENTIAL. In quiet reflection and awareness, we must leave the door open for the Holy Spirit of God to bring to our attention to the things about ourselves that the chaos of life push to our secret place (Psalm 139:23-24). We have to realize it isn’t that someone’s blessings are eroding our confidence and esteem; it is simply our reaction to their blessings that is the culprit. The same spirit of pride that has us convinced we have less than what we have earned is the same one that drives us to believe any conflict is birthed of jealousy. We ought not to think so highly of ourselves. Has it ever occurred to you that without intention, you caused someone to have a certain perception of you? Maybe that individual isn’t jealous, but you project attitudes or behavior that is less than desirable. It could be ANYTHING. We (women, sisters, girlfriends) need to pull from the very root, the weeds that have sprouted from the seed of competition that was planted in us as little girls. Let’s undo the “once over and compare” glare that comes so naturally when another woman walks into the room. Comparing is the offspring of competition. Let’s learn to celebrate one another’s success without trying to understand the method or circumstances by which someone was favored or blessed. Let’s work on being grateful and content with what we have and not insult God by being a bitter hostage to another person’s “green grass”. Finally, let’s trust in His sovereignty and ability. He knows us and how and when to bless each one of us.  She probably isn’t jealous of you and you need to stop forcing unhealthy competition with her. May this message be CLEAR: Seek first to understand what is really going on with you.

PAINFULLY CLEAR…

PAINFULLY CLEAR

 

Nothing hurts like a broken heart. Whether it stems from death, divorce, a break-up, or a severed friendship, the ACHE is consistent in all relationships. Betrayal is painful. Whether the onset of a terminal illness leaves you feeling betrayed by your own body, the infidelity of a lover leaves you feeling stripped of security, or a friend who betrays your confidence leaves you feeling that a safe place doesn’t exist, the sting of betrayal can become an ache that feels unbearable.

 

Have you ever noticed how in the days of roadmaps, there would be tiny towns that weren’t on the map? You’d stumble upon them with no intent to stay; you’re just passing through. How many lives and vacations would be ruined or destinations unfulfilled, if you got stuck in the tiny town you were only meant to drive through?

 

But for many, that is exactly what happens when an emotional injury takes place. Instead of moving through it, there’s a “putt-putt-stop” as if the incentive that once fueled you through life has been depleted. We stop, think, wallow, rehearse memories and in the worst-case scenario, completely forget about the fact that we were in motion before the incident. Some experiences hit so hard that the emotional swing leaves you disoriented. Not only do you forget that you were going somewhere, suddenly you’re trying to remember where you are.

 

If you know how it feels to lose time, it’s likely that you’ve decided it’s too expensive to misplace. Since we cannot control life and it’s betrayals, there must be a way to guard yourself and leave them void of the ability to derail you. Yes, we must stay focused on the One who won’t hurt or disappoint us. The One who walks through the valley of the shadow of death WITH us, comforts us and protects us from utter ruin! (Psalm 23:4) We should have confidence in and expectations of Him alone.  

 

The sting of a damaged heart changes you- it is the sharp-ended point that cuts a fork into your path. Will you dive or will you thrive?  Will you taint or will you faint? Have you ever heard that depression is rage turned inward? There are those who cry and those who bully. There are those who crumble and those who oppress. There are those who fold and those who burst. How has your pain challenged you?   More importantly, how has your pain changed you? Those who inflict pain are in much pain themselves. Those who don’t know how to love cannot recognize it [in their own lives] in order to give it.

 

We will experience different types of offenses. How do we love, YET steer clear of the madness? Being hurt or offended is a part of life. Not learning the lessons, not paying attention to familiar signs, repeatedly being vulnerable to the same type of offense is madness. Expecting better from someone who hasn’t increased his or her capacity to do better is suspect. Leaving yourself vulnerable to that type of person is insane. People come with different bodies and faces, but their ability to cause damage is built into the structure of their behavior. When we’ve paid attention to the modus operandi of the previous offender, and heeded the indicators, it becomes painfully clear when that behavior is in front of us again.

 

Hopefully, you’ll use this article as an opportunity to take inventory. Having been hurt before, knowing the sting of betrayal, ask yourself if anyone is currently derailed or stagnant because of a negative impact you’ve made. Have you honestly been a good steward of the relationships God has entrusted to your care? Are there any situations that need your attention? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the reason someone loses any time getting to his or her destination (Luke 17:1&2). It’s the adult child, oooops… I meant the immature Christian that points their finger and yells “it isn’t my fault!!!” but the fruit-bearing disciple cares nothing about fault in an effort to see another person restored. Agape reveals to us that it isn’t about being right, but being RIGHT. God’s love teaches us to esteem others higher than we do ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Check your map, where are you? The truth may be PAINFULLY CLEAR.