I hate it when I have to learn my own lessons.
This has been one of those weeks...usually I'm quite content and able to look on the bright side of things. I know people probably get annoyed at my "Annie" outlook...that whole, "sun 'ill come out tomorrow" kind of mentality that pretty much permeates everything I do. But today, that sunny disposition definitely suffered...and it was my own fault.
I hate to admit it, but I let in a really ugly emotion...envy. Envy has the power to suck the sunshine right out of a person!
It all started when I looked at the problems around me...that was definitely a mistake. I forgot to look to the promises of God and looked at just how bleak things are looking in the world today. Now, I've never been one to IGNORE what was going on in the news..but usually I'm able to remember those two important words - "but God". This time, I allowed myself to stew over the problems and start to worry. Like I said, mistake number one.
Then, I found out someone was getting an opportunity that I was hoping to get...and they were being successful! How dare they? How did they get this chance so quickly? I wanted the chance to be recognized for what I was doing too....see, right there was mistake number two. It wasn't just the envy part, it was in wanting recognition for myself. Why couldn't I just be happy for them?
Then, another friend, (yes, I did say friend), was recognized for achievements that I prided myself in being able to do. Oh no, now there's that word - Pride. That was mistake number three...I started comparing my talents to hers, all the while nursing the same kind of envy toward the first friend. I found myself dwelling on thoughts like, "Why can't I get that chance? I'm as talented as her." Of course, during these silent tirades known only to me, myself and I, I conveniently ignored the fact that both friends had worked hard for these chances. Both spent time with developing their gifts while I keep putting off doing the same.
Finally came the final flower in my pity party bouquet. Someone who I felt did NOT do as good a job as me actually was blessed to have better results than me. The nerve! Why was it working out for them when I was trying so hard?
You know, when it's down on paper, it's much easier to see the problems with all my self satisfying thought patterns. Even when I complained to God, I could hear that verse from the Bible when Jesus told Peter "what is it to you if I decide to allow him to live until my return?" (paraphrased) In other words, this isn't about them or me...it's about what God has for us to do. I have not been called to live their life...and they haven't been called to live mine.
When I run (even as slow as I move) I know I can quickly lose my joy of running if I start to compare myself with runners who have run longer than I have. I can even lose what ground I have gained if I look over my shoulder to "check out" the competition. Before long, I'm losing ground, and losing any chance I had of doing my best. I'm not running MY race, I'm trying to run THEIRS!
The worst part of it all, I have lost my joy. I was doing fine, till I started looking around. My focus should be on my Father and what He has planned for me. As the song says, "My story is a part of Your plan, here I am." Envy causes you to forget that God has a perfect plan for YOUR life. Yep, I was doing pretty good till I started looking AROUND.
Next time I'm feeling down, I'm going to stop all that looking AROUND...and I will lift up my eyes to the hills from where I find my strength. Isn't that where we should be looking anyway?