Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dark Clouds of Jealousy

For the last few months I've had a dark cloud hanging over me.
The cloud of wanting and not having.
The cloud of feeling like almost everyone else has something I want.

And, let me tell you, it's sometimes hard to see much else with that dark cloud overhead.

The cloud emerges as I scroll through the newsfeed on Facebook. It feels like everyone else has the seemingly wonderful boyfriend, fiance, husband... or the blonde-haired boy or the smiley, witty little girl. The cloud emerges as I walk through public areas. It feels like all other women are equipped with size 4 waists, bouncy hair, professionally done make-up, and a classy wardrobe. The cloud emerges as I drive on streets. Cars that look shinier, newer, better than mine.

The cloud emerges when I hear about people I know being super successful in something they're passionate about... or something I'm passionate about. When people get opportunities to write, or take pictures, or play sports, or sing, or travel, or go on incredible adventures. When people do what I've done, but are doing it better and different and bigger.

The cloud emerges when I realize I can't be in India, Africa, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, North Carolina, New England, Missouri, Texas and New Mexico all at the same time... because it means that other people are living life without me, that I can only be a part of one of those at a time and so the rest of the time, I feel like I'm watching others have what I no longer do...watching them engage in a life that I could, if I weren't somewhere else.

The cloud emerges when I interact with people who are great at maintaining eye contact while they're talking, when they are warm and inviting without having to think twice about it, when their ability to love others surpasses anything I could ever try to fake. It comes out when I see true selflessness, humility, joy... all accompanied by rawness and honesty and a desire to know truth and live by it. It comes out when someone else can cause everyone else to erupt with laughter, hold them captive as they tell a story, or entertain simply by being so contentious of everyone else's needs. It comes out when people are incredibly intellectual and know what they are talking about.

The cloud emerges when I hear about incredible communities, when I see relationships forming between others in ways that I never had, when I just feel like everyone my age is passing me by.

It happens when I'm so focused on what I do not have that it's all I can seem to see around me: how everyone else has something I lack, is getting to be a part of something that I am not, is something that I can only wish to be.

And the darkness sets in, the storm brews, and my heart still yearns for my very own rainbow as the dark interacts with the light all around me.

It's a pitiful place of comparison, a dark place of only acknowledging what isn't mine, a black hole of jealousy and destruction.

Maybe you've been here, too. Maybe you're here now.

It's a place of limited vision. A place where we forget that we don't see the whole picture. A place where the grass always looks greener on the other side. A place that quickly turns rational thought into irrational feelings.

I've been reminded lately that my jealousy is often unwarranted. In fact, it's more often sprung from a place of assumption. Assuming that the pictures and posts I see, the few moments of interactions that I have, the people I see from a distance, the polite conversations... that those are depictions of entire lives. Assumptions that relationships are perfect, that children are easy, that jobs are never stressful, that following dreams is easy, that people are always how they seem, that no one is ever fake...

When I'm so honed in on what everyone else has that I do not, I lose sight of what matters. I lose sight of what I already have been given... what I've been given in abundance.

But I think, more importantly, I lose sight of eternity. I lose sight of how all of my needs have already been met and everything else I think I want is often just broken shadows of what it was supposed to be. None of it is perfect. None of it truly satisfies.

I've been looking in the wrong place.
It's been a season of dark clouds because what I want to fulfill me doesn't sustain me. And even the cliche 'Jesus' answer doesn't always seem to do the trick, like most Christians might tell me. Because we still live in this weird tension of our brokenness and our wholeness, our old flesh and our new flesh, our hearts of stone and our hearts of flesh.

Sometimes I turn away, sometimes I seek other things, sometimes I build idols, sometimes I hope for more here on earth...
And then, I return.
I remember what matters.
I remember why Jesus is worth it.
I remember the price that has been paid.
I remember that I already have been given far more than I deserve.

It's a back and forth existence.
I don't know how I can make it look any different. Then again, I wonder if that's where the problem lies... in my own striving to change myself.

But, sometimes.... sometimes I just think that's the way it is here and it's okay. That even in my battles, in my doubt, in my jealousy and wishing for all the things I don't have because I get lost in the dark clouds...that God is faithful in my cyclical return to Him. He rescues. He redeems. He forgives. He loves. He sustains. He provides. He fulfills... perhaps even all the things I think are lacking sometimes. He takes me back again, and again, and again, and again.

May we find our wholeness in Him... if not fully on this side of eternity, may we trust in the promises that await us and live accordingly. Imperfect, unfaithful, sinners saved by grace. Not by anything we have done...

I think the rainbow comes. I think we get hints of it all the time, actually.
I just think it looks a little different than how I sometimes envision... and I think the different is much better.

I can't wait until it's all I see.

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