Envy

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Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. NKJ

Envy  is, “I must be like you to be happy.”

People pleasing is, “I must be liked by you to be happy.”

Neither of these scenarios is appealing and yet we all look like both of these statements at one time or another. This week’s news was all about Kim Kardashian’s nude photos and whether they were photoshopped or real? Whether it was the right move for her career or not, but as my Daughter-In-Love Frances said, “I refuse to read anything about it, we landed on a comet this week! That’s news.”

I get to the office at 10 am the two days a week I spend there. One day this week I didn’t come in until 11 am. I was driving in when I received a phone call, hands free I answered the phone, my mom reads my blog so I thought I’d clarify the hands free part. The caller asked if I was at the office. I said I was just driving in. “Boy! It must be nice to be a Pastor and make your own hours. I wish I could just waltz in whenever I wanted. Some of us have to work.” I didn’t say anything. I’ve taken the Taylor Swift approach to my life, “Shake it off, shake it off”.

Here is what they don’t know. The night before I counseled a person until after midnight who was in a crisis. It may not be my life, but it certainly feels personal when you’re agonizing over someone’s pain, praying for God to give you words that help and heal and that you don’t just stammer along. After I got to bed, I tossed and turned for quite some time, shaking it off, before I was able to fall asleep.

And that’s kind of the point. We often envy what we don’t know anything about.

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On the flip-side I watched a funny video recently about a woman who could not say no. She was bleary-eyed from exhaustion and still saying yes to everyone. Everyone that is except herself. When did we begin to measure ourselves by the opinion of others? When did it get so important to be liked not for our imperfect selves but what we bring to the table?

I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Just because I like Wonder Woman and wanted to grow to be her, doesn’t make it so, but sometimes I get mixed up. Sometimes I become a people pleaser. Something in me is causing me to reflect on envy and people pleasing and their correlation. They aren’t the same that’s true, but they are similar in nature because both have replaced my purpose with whomever is the focus in the scenario. I may not have what you have but if I can please you I can get close to what you have. I may not have what you have but if I can be better at tasks than you then I’ve one-upped you. Do you see the similarities? Both emotions want to take me off course from my business and make my life about you.

Just thinking aloud today.

The Pastor’s Wife

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When you hear the words, The Pastor’s Wife, what does she conjure up for you mentally? For so many she is the object of perfection in the church. She has it all together, her children are perfect, her responses are wonderful, and her life is one to be admired and emulated. For others of you, she is a working woman, playing the piano, leading the women’s group, feeding the homeless, and running the children’s ministry seamlessly. Yet for others, she is the epitome of judgment. She glances at you head to toe and makes a sad determination. Sadly, you’d be right with all three versions because she exists in all of these forms.

Back in the day there was the thought process that the Pastor’s Wife was to be set apart. She was not to mingle with the commoners of the church and she was to be held in high regard. Only that doesn’t really fly in the face of scripture does it? Jesus says he is gentle and lowly in heart. Jesus says he is set apart by believing and obeying his Father. It wasn’t about being set apart from the people, it was about being among the people and being set apart in action.

The question that has been stirring in my heart as I see this attitude is what false hope it gives to women in the body. To think that any life is really that perfect and the average woman cannot attain it because it’s for an elite group is just not realistic. There are no scriptures to back this thought process up. There is no elite group of  Navy Seal Christian Woman. There are women who achieve great things and who have applied godly principles of life to their everyday walk but no one’s life is pure perfection. There are Pastors Wives who silently suffer, and because they are supposed to have this perfect image, they can speak to absolutely no one about it. So they put their makeup on and hide behind a smile and because no one really looks at each other anymore they are able to pose.

The problem with that is that we are called to mentor and to love and to help. We can’t ever say we have a problem because then we have this perception that no one will think we are as perfect as we pretend to be and therefore leave the church. So we lift up this unattainable goal to woman in the church that they too can be a perfect woman in Christ and she flounders because she never can quite get there. She feels inadequate and that’s good for us because it makes us feel more powerful.

I will never forget a story I heard Ruth Graham tell. She was Billy Graham’s wife who has now gone on to be with Jesus. Because her husband was often traveling she raised her children primarily alone. She said her son Franklin Graham, who is now an evangelist himself, gave her fits on a regular basis. One day while out and about he was acting out so much that she threatened to put him in the trunk of the car if he continued his behavior. Of course Franklin continued and she pulled the car over and stuck him in the trunk and drove on. Yes, she admits not a crowning moment for her but instead a desperate mom moment. While none of us would advocate putting your kid in a trunk, we relate to the feeling.

I have learned a few things in my life as a Pastor’s wife over the years. I know that life happens to the Pastor’s Wife. She gets flat tires on the way to a meeting. She has bad hair days. She has arguments with her husband sometimes. She yells at her kids. She sometimes skips her devotional time in the morning. She blows it at work. She gets mad at people who cut her off in traffic. She has issues. Her life is just as full and as busy as the next woman. She has flaws and temptations and everything else going on in her life. She isn’t married to a calling or a church. She is married to a man and she has been called, just as any wife, to minister to her family and then the church. So pray for your Pastor’s Wife because she’s as human as every other woman but sometimes she can’t say it.

 

Judging What You Deserve

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Hater defined by Urban Dictionary: 

A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.

They say things like:

Where did they get the money for THAT? 

She doesn’t deserve him. 

I would never spend money on that. 

I work so hard and I never get anything like that. Where is my promotion? 

He only got the job because he knew someone.

They never have to work for anything because their parents give them everything.  

With Social Media as prominent as it is in our culture it’s easy to see the blessings that others are given and begin to get jealous instead of being happy for our friends and acquaintances. I have been examining my aversion to “haters” as they are called. Those people in our lives who can’t be happy for others, who always have a negative, gossipy thing to say about someone else. Why does it bother me so much?

As I began to examine my feelings for shielding myself from their mindset, there are two things that stick out to me like big red flags.

1. There is this big looming unspoken question that arises in me.

Do they really think God has a shortage of blessings?

God is God and he has this overwhelming abundance of blessings at his disposal and the great part is that he will never run out of them. There is proof of great blessing for everyone reading this today. If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, are in decent health, and have a few really good friends you are blessed beyond measure.  How much more does one need?  To be jealous of someone who got a new home, or another dog, or a new friend, or a job promotion means we think our Father in heaven is short or at least is shorting us. Our Father lacks nothing and never will. Understanding his true sincere love for us will begin to free us from the chains of jealousy. Not being able to be happy for someone’s success really stems from a place where we don’t believe God for his provision. It’s that orphan spirit rising up that tells us our Father will do it for others but not for us. It’s simply not true. Being truly happy for someone’s success is easy when we take ourself out of the picture and see things for what they truly are. And there it is in a nutshell, we have yet to discover the Father’s love and we are still not living in the spirit. Which leads me to my second point.

2. I am afraid of having those comments get into my thought process and I don’t want to be the person who begins see people in a negative light or suspiciously. Do I get everything I think I deserve? Uh, no, truthfully. I often deserve some pretty hefty traffic fines but my Father in his infinite mercy gives me a fix-it ticket. I don’t want to begin to question blessings and get into a place where I think if someone gets something that I am the judge of whether they deserve it or not. That’s the elder brother syndrome (Luke 15:25-32) and I want to avoid it. I don’t want to spend time pouring over someone’s finances or resume to see how they are cheating me out of something I deserve. I just want to be happy for others when they succeed. I want to celebrate them and I want to celebrate my Father from whom that blessing flowed to them. Go Lord!

And that’s it! When I’m spending time hating I’m really saying is God is holding out on me. He’s selective. That is not a thought I want to entertain.