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Posts Tagged ‘jealousy’

Awareness is a bittersweet thing.

Sometimes, I would love to just be blissfully unaware of the “good” things around me, as well as what other people have.

As kids, we learn so quickly what want feels like. This only happens when we experience someone else having, or doing something, we want to do. There is an unfairness that rises up in our hearts. With eyes wide open awareness sets in and the fruit of want takes root.

I am one who struggles with jealousy. It is the thorn in my side. I actually find this struggle to be real with leaders. I would consider myself a strong leader and one who leans into that role predominately.

Jealousy raises its ugly head in me when I start to compare myself to others. Jealousy is conceived in me when I start to compare myself to what others have. This could be monetary things or just influence.

Andy Stanley talks a lot about the losing battle of comparison in a great sermon series he does. In that series he talks about how the Pharisees are jealous of Jesus because He has the crowd. There jealousy eventually leads them to crucifying Jesus.

I get that. If jealousy is left unattended, pain and even death is inevitable.

Andy states that “there is no win, satisfaction, or finish line when it comes to comparison.”

We are not meant to compare ourselves with the successions, failures, gifts, talents, influences, and even life stories of others. When we place our eyes on the lives of others, we miss out on the life we are meant to live.

I suck at the comparison battle.

My eyes wander and my awareness of want grows. Jealousy is my weakness.

We live in a culture of comparison.

Honestly, there are times I just need to step back from platforms like Twitter that can be a breeding ground for comparison. Everyday I can see one who is five steps ahead of me in my dream life. It’s just plain hard.

This past week, I was blessed to attend Story Conference in Chicago. I loved it. However, I also learned that conferences are filled with temptations to compare. So many awesome people doing awesome things and it always makes me wonder if I’m good enough. This week as I head down to the ATL for Catalyst, my awareness for comparison is heightened.

Jealousy is a battle.

There is no freedom in comparison.

As far as I can remember our culture has lived by the mantra of “keep up with Jones.”

As long as we are running life’s race to keep up with our “Jones” there is no room for the life we are meant to live. It is impossible to celebrate anyone else in the state of comparison.

I feel like I have wasted too much time comparing myself to others. I want to be a person who celebrates the gifts and victories of others. I want to mourn with those who feel the pain of failure. More importantly, I just want to be ok with where I am and what I have.

Are you?

“What or who are you using as a reference point to determine whether or not you’re okay?”

“Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with ______?”

“Are you allowing what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?”

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When were small kids, even before we could use our words, we all grasped the concept of “mine.” Mine needed no complete sentence. It was a complete sentence, and sometimes all that needed to be said.

Somewhere in our little perception we learned to see, and grasp, that we were missing something. Either we saw another sibling, or kid, have something we did not. We learned at an early age to notice what we did not have, rather than what we did. We developed a sense of missing.

We learn at a very early age the art of comparison.

As kids, we learned to say,  “hey!” when it came to comparing our “halves” with our siblings, as well as different priviledges they may have received. There was a sense of a “not fair” response that surfaced.

We mature with the perspective that we are owed fair; we are owed equal to those around us.

Andy Stanley defines comparison as “the person we look to, to determine whether or not we are doing ok.

We all have a bar to determine where we are on the “doing ok” scale. We look to the left and right and measure how we are doing. That makes for a messy life. Honestly, I think it makes for a frustrating life.

There is no way to get a head in comparison. There is no satisfaction or contentment in only focusing on what you don’t have.

The truth is that God has made us all unique. You and I have are tailor made. God has designed us to do, think, and feel, in a way unique to just us. I am the only one who can offer what He has created in me to offer.

Our lives are tailor made.

As long as we spend time looking around and comparing ourselves to that of what other’s “have,” we prolong the things He has for us.

In some ways I feel like Monday’s are the New Year’s day of the week. We all start out on Monday with the hopes and mindsets of “this week I’m going to……” We start each week a new.

What if this week, you celebrated the ways God has designed other people, and spent more time offering what only you can offer?

What would our week look like if stopped comparing our lives with others?

You are tailor made. No one compares to you in HIS eyes.

How can you celebrate someone else this week?

In what ways can you offer what only you can?

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I can’t believe it has already been a year since the start of OneWord2011! Last year I was so ready to kick 2010 to the curb. This year is not much different. I am ready for all things different.

I can honestly say that I am a different person from the start of last year.

It is time to turn the page – start a new chapter – introduce new characters – and wrestle with all things new.

I am sitting here in Starbucks staring at a blinking cursor mustering the courage to tackle a new hard word. Typing it means saying out loud.

Celebrate

Celebrate is my OneWord for 2012. You are either singing “celebrate good times, Come on!” or wondering why this word would require courage. For this I need to set the stage of my heart.

Jealousy is a small word that affects every part of me.

Jealousy is my biggest weakness.

Jealousy is my human hearts greatest challenge to conquer.

As kids, we discover the word “mine.” Our young eyes build on the foundation of wanderlust. We figure out early on that we want what other people have. There seems to be a shift in childlike contentment when the heart of comparison starts to form.

As kids, we wrestled with the struggle of equality. Our siblings had more milk, a bigger half, different bed times, or even better things.

It didn’t ever seem fair.

Somewhere along the line we developed the mentality that we were owed equality, if not better, than someone else.

Jealousy is more readily seen by the fruit of comparison. Jealousy is the hardest thing to see in the mirror.

Jealousy is that small piece of yeast that works its way through the entire dough.

Jealousy reveals the posture we have toward God.

Jealousy is rooted in the message that God owes me something. (I hate that my selfish heart struggles with saying that to God at all. He owes me nothing, yet has already given me everything.)

I struggle greatly with jealousy. The fruit of my jealousy is comparison.

I have entered a very new season of relocating, job searching, and just the unknown of everything. Sitting in a place of feeling far from myself and a bit lost is hard on the heart. This is a place jealousy feeds from.

This is where my word “celebrate” comes in.

Celebration is the active opposite of jealousy. I want to create a new pattern of celebrating the gifts, dreams, and favor of others first. I want to get to a place where my first response is joy and the genuine excitement of another’s good fortune.

Celebration is the discipline I desire to conquer in 2012!

Cups up to a new year of wrestling hard!

What is your OneWord365?

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Sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics.

Sometimes you gotta take time to remember where you started.

I, for one, can get caught up in the fast pace race of this thing called life. So many things are going on. So many messages are bombarding our hearts and minds. There are so many great things people are doing if you take the time to look, or listen, around.

Trying to keep up can also foster the game of comparison in me as well. There’s a subtle shift in perspective that can happen once comparison creeps in.

Everyone starts out with an idea- a dream. We can get excited and fired up to start something. Then the exchange of ideas and formulating of the dream begins. This stage is awesome in that our dream is still bigger than we are, and it requires one who is also bigger as well.

We start out excited about our dreams because we feel like it is a gift, a purpose, just for us. For me, this dream is given by God.

Sometimes something can happen in the process of our dreams taking on form.

When the dream becomes more of our own or something in our daily lives, comfortable, we can lose the basics of them. There can be a subtle shift that happens when we forget about where our dreams and passions started.

The shift goes from glorifying and serving God, to glorifying and serving ourselves. We can start to take the credit. We can start to think about our influence and our impact rather than people seeing the God we wanted them to see in the beginning.

For me, a good indication that this shift is happening in me is when I start to compare myself to others. Jealousy begins to take form in my responses and thoughts. I compare what other people are doing, as well as how “successful” they are to where I am. It is in that place where I lose sight of where I started, and the dream He placed in me.

It is through comparison where I take possession of my dream, and take God out of everything.

One of the basics I love about my dreams is their hugeness. I love how exciting a dream feels just because it is so much bigger than me or my imagination. I am going back to that. When the shift in perspective happens, I diminish what God has gifted in me to something tangible and watered down. I lose my passion.

I am going back to the basics. I am once again seeking the passion I started out with and the gratefulness for the one bigger than me.

My desire is to make God seen and known. I am starting here.

Have you forgotten where you started?

What are your basics?

 

 

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Relationship is the place where we can most learn about ourselves. Relationships are the biggest tool for those wanted, and definitely not wanted, insights into your own issues. Relationships are the things that can bring out the best and worst side of who you are, as well as the the other person. They are definitely the most daring and risky thing you can be a part of.

I talked yesterday about how the trouble areas we have in our relationships mirror the same trouble areas we have in our relationship with the Lord. I am going to label these trouble areas as “relational weeds.” Relational weeds serve as red flags that warn you that something is stirring inside.

So what are these “relational weeds?”

Weeds are those things that hinder your relationship from looking healthy. Weeds can also suffocate the growth of your relationship. Weeds can be blatant as well as subtle things. Weeds can look like distrust of the other person or the expectation that they will fail you. Weeds can be expecting, as well as demanding, someone else to meet all of your needs. When they fall short of meeting your needs, there is some sort of punishment involved. The reality is that no one will ever meet all our needs.

Weeds can also look like jealousy and envy over some aspect about the other person. This can look like success, favor, other friendships, something you want that they have, opportunities, etc.

(Allow me to sidebar for a second and say that jealousy and envy are not all together bad. They are great emotions that let you know something is stirring in you. The line, for these emotions, are crossed when we choose to respond and act out of our jealousy and envy.)

My weeds are hard on my heart when I realize them. I know I bring baggage into my relationships, but who doesn’t. I struggle in the area of trust. That stems from a mixture of past wounds and pain, but is definitely present in my current relationships. I also struggle with the fear of being replaced in my closer relationships. That fear takes on the life of a weed more than I would like to admit. Out of that fear I have treated some of my relationships like possessions that need to be protected at all costs. When my fear is threatened, I have a tendency to shut down or manipulate out of self-protection. I really don’t like manipulation. Ironic?

In other relationships that have looked more co-dependent, I have stepped up too much and played the role as the “fixer” in the relationships. As the dependent person, I have placed unnecessary demands on the other person to be my all in all. That is a recipe for disaster. No one can fulfill that role. That is a guaranteed fail.

Relationships that operate on weeds will inevitably die. These relationships are almost always conflict oriented. Conflict oriented relationships are constantly working out a problem or operate out of fight mode.

The most important part for me to realize, is that my recognized weeds are also present in my relationship with the Lord. Again, if I have distrust in my relationships, it’s because I have trouble areas of not trusting the Lord. If I place the demand on other people to meet my needs, it’s because I do not believe, or understand, that God is enough to meet my needs.

Weeds are hard and can be discouraging. Working on your weeds is so worth it. This post may feel like a downer, but stay tuned because tomorrow I’m going to talk about the flip side of what healthy, fruit producing relationships look like.

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