Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Beat Jealousy and Self-Pity

Recently I recognized self-pity and jealousy messing with me and I kicked 'em to the curb.

It all started when my sister had her baby girl. At least ten of my friends had babies this past year, and someone asked if that was hard for me since they know we would love to have more children. The question took me by surprise because I have never struggled with jealousy too much. I think I said, "What do you mean?" Hard for me? Why would other people's pregnancies be hard for me? (Clueless...)

Jealousy isn't usually a big issue for me because I'm usually too interested in whatever it is I'm doing to notice what anyone else is doing (maybe that's another issue?). I have never really been into competitive sports, fashion, movies, pop music, or wanted any of the mainstream culture kind of things. I have gravitated toward and become a fan of horses, skiing, praying for ethnos, drum corps, dog training, language tutoring... tiny Bible training schools... gluten-etc-free cooking... homeschooling... learning how to play strange instruments... I don't know why it always happens that way but it does. I am not trying to be "different" -- I really am not that different -- I just seem to get interested/involved in things that are not popular to the majority.

But having babies is popular and I do like being a mom.

Anyway, no, it was not hard for me at all to hear of my friends' pregnancies. I was so excited each time! Really, I get so busy raising my boy, scheduling doctor appointments, health research, cooking, and writing that I don't spend much time thinking about what other people "get to have." Even when my sister got pregnant I felt nothing but joy. A new niece! I loved hearing pregnancy updates, too.

But after she had the baby, it became more real to me. We have done so many things at the same time in life, and not this time. After the initial excitement for them, this feeling of incredible disappointment came over me and I just cried.

And then it was like someone flipped a switch. Suddenly a whole bunch of things began to eat at me, things to which I had not given a second thought before. Our good friends who have been furthering their educations and careers announced they had an amazing new career opportunity and would be moving. Our other good friends announced they were pursuing adoption. My faraway friend who has a son the same age as Z is now pregnant. Someone else's husband was more sensitive. Another friend was materially blessed. And pretty much everyone (mostly) enjoys life free of chronic pain.

All these are things that I would very much enjoy at this point in life.

And there it was... "Poor me." 

Jealousy. It crept up on me, then pounced. I did not realize what was happening to me, why I was so frustrated, until my wonderful baby niece was about a month old.

As a follower of Christ, my battle is never with people. My battle is always with Christ's enemy, Satan, who would very much like to bring me down.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

So I did what all good little Christian girls do.

I got out my sword.

I told that beast that he cannot have control of me any more because Jesus supplies ALL my needs.

I renounced his power, and with the authority of Jesus I took those thoughts captive.

Oh, and jealousy's little comrade -- self-pity -- that one got the worst of it. Because then I got out my thankful list and thankfulness entered the picture, and of course joy had to tag along, so they pretty much ganged up on the bad guys and ate them alive.

BAM. Freedom from jealousy and self-pity!

We really can be content in all stations of life, but only through the one who has defeated enemies like jealousy and self-pity. Left to ourselves, we will cave. I know that this may not be the last time I face them, but he who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. Jesus has the victory!

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