This post is the first of three link up posts with Chelsea for our devotional series on the book "Your Beautiful Purpose" by Susie Larson. You can read more about why Chelsea and I chose this book and why we are so excited about this series here. It's not too late to get your own copy and join us in this journey!
We are about to get real honest here, folks. Jealousy. It creeps in and takes us captive. It ruins friendships, relationships and sometimes marriages. It's all-around a plague that can destroy your heart if you let it.
I have never been one who has struggled much with jealousy.. until the past couple of years. And as I have been reading through the first two chapters of this book I have been able to see more and more the hold it's had on my heart.
As we are walking this journey and discovering more about our purpose, I realize I can't discover my own while I am jealous of someone else's. Let me set the stage for you..
When I started college I was pretty sure I knew what my purpose was. I was going into Elementary Education and had a passion for children.. for loving them, for helping them learn and for being truth in their lives. I studied hard, and was on track to become an educator. Then, my body stopped cooperating with me. It first started with my jaw.. being unable to talk for long periods of time limited my teaching abilities. The pain often kept me from being able to teach even a single lesson. Then my thyroid went crazy… and my immune system started picking up every little germ those kiddos had. It was a perfect storm.
Slowly I had to loosen my grip on what I thought my purpose was. I had to let go of the dream I had to teach, and discover a new path for myself. And here I am now, on a very different path.. still trying to cling on to what I thought my purpose was. Still unsure of what God is doing in all this chaos.
And that's where jealousy has creeped into my heart. I am jealous of my friends.
I get jealous every time I get a phone call from one of them telling me they are pregnant. I get jealous when their lives go according to their plan. I get jealous when they buy houses and when they can afford to go on trips.. I get jealous of their careers and of the way things seemingly go right in their lives. I question my faith.. "what have I done wrong that I have had to give up my dreams.. that I am stuck in this body that doesn't always work.. and what have they done right to where they are able to live out the life that I wanted?!"
It's awful. And I'm ashamed that I am even admitting to this jealousy in my heart. Wishing that my life wasn't how it's turned out to be, wishing that things came easy for me.. wishing I was in their shoes. Jealous of their triumphs and envious of their children.
I was talking with my husband about this yesterday. And, like always, he spoke truth into my heart that stopped me dead in my tracks. He reminded me that their story is not my story. That God is working differently in their lives than He is my own. And, if I didn't have all of the set-backs that I have had to go through that I wouldn't be where I am today. Do I really want to give up this turmoil for an easy life? Do I really want to put myself in their shoes and give up all of the lessons I have learned? Their path isn't my path and it's so silly to be jealous of what God is doing in their lives. They have a purpose, and their purpose is different than my own.
And even though I know this truth, it is still hard. It's a constant battle for me.. rejoicing in their triumphs and overcoming the jealousy in my heart for their successes. Overcoming the constant nag in my spirit that tells me I have done something wrong, or that I am undeserving of the good things they have.
I think this battle of jealousy is going to be something I struggle with daily.. just like my fibromyalgia pain. But unlike my pain, I can let it go. I can learn to rejoice in the triumphs of their lives, and pray that God takes away every ounce of jealousy I feel when they do triumph. I can be thankful for my path.. even though it is hard.. it is mine. And it's being perfectly crafted by my Creator.
And once I can overcome that awful thing in my heart then maybe I can discover more of the purpose in all of this. A new purpose, and a beautiful one.
If you are reading along, we'd love to be able to find what God is doing in your heart through this book. Use the in-linkz tool below to link up your post.. and if you don't have a blog please share your thoughts in the comments!! I am working through this book with two of my best friends who don't blog, we've been using google hang outs to connect with each other. I encourage you to find people in your daily life to walk through this book with as well!!