Monday, June 11, 2007

Jealousy & Judgment

I know as Christians, we’re supposed to focus on Christ and not on the entire bag of chocolate-covered almonds I just ate – oh my gosh, I just realized I ate the WHOLE bag!

What I was saying was that I find myself feeling like a failure lately.

Oh, not a complete failure. Just a failure.

How do I know this?

Because I know myself and my malcontent often decides to manifest itself in two major emotions - jealousy and judgment.

I didn’t used to be a jealous person. It was a foreign emotion to me. I was happy being me. But as I age, I find myself falling prey to the green-eyed monster.

For instance, I become jealous over THE stupidest things. Last night after church, I noticed the new young couple that had sat next to us during the service was being befriended by the family that sat behind us, and I thought, “I can’t believe THEM. WE were sitting next to them. Let US reach out for once.” How STUPID is that?! I mean really – where’s the unity of the body of Christ in that emotion?

I also find myself becoming judgmental over things that ARE NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Example? I was reading the blog of yet another family that is hopping on the home school bandwagon, and I found myself rolling my eyes in judgment. Why do I even care? They’re not MY kids! I don’t even NEED to have an opinion on schooling yet, you know?

And there I was being judge and jury on a legitimate, Christian lifestyle choice.

Who do I think I am, you know?

So, how does this all tie in to feeling like a failure? I’m not sure. I never used to be a negative person, but sometimes I find myself trolling websites and blogs just spoiling for a fight. Something to disagree on. To put my two cents in. To matter.

I think it stems from my ambition as a writer. The more I read, the more I feel like everyone has said everything that needs to be said. My thoughts are nothing new, exciting, and might not even be (gasp!) right. I hate feeling like not one thought in my head is original.

In the age of information and technology, it’s hard to distinguish yourself from the talented hordes and hacks presenting their work to the world on a daily basis. Transparency seems trite, and there are too many people who won’t be impressed.

Oh, it’s not like I thought I would win the Pulitzer prize or that my books would outsell Harry Potter. It’s just that I thought I would stand apart somehow. If apart means out, then it applies, but if apart means special, then I’m out.

It boils down to what my Dad said. His favorite phrase was that “It’s not about us; it’s about Him.”

My focus shouldn’t be on me and my shortcomings – though they are like matter sucking black holes in their infiniteness. My focus – THE focus – should be on God and His Honor and His glory.

It’s so easy for me to forget and find myself focusing on me. Myself. And I.

But it’s moments like these, when the Holy Spirit nudges me, I realize the sin that can result from an inward glance instead of an upward glance. So please pray for me. That I would find my contentment in Christ.

Not in myself. And not in that bag of chocolate-covered almonds.

As good as they were.


Heidi said...

I hate to break this to you, but jealousy and judgement are all part of that horrible sin nature that we all deal with. bummer huh!! :-0
It is a good thing that people are practically fighting about meeting the new people. Shame on me, I look for ways to get out of it, so you are better than me there.
I enjoyed teh message on the Holy Spirit yesterday. I grew up in an extreme fundamentalist church where any emphasis on the Holy Spirit was taboo or someone might think we were neo or charismatic. I have friends who are charismatic, so they are the complete opposite. I like to hear the balance of the two sides.
I probably wrote enough for a post on my own blog.

joy said...

i really, really like what your dad said. if we would just really live that out, even if only imperfectly, it sure would change a lot internally and maybe externally too.

Anonymous said...

from the mouth of a teenageer who works at KFC "If my mom knew what really goes on at school she would never allow me to go there"...and this is a non-christian kid who we may say would have every reason to consider school filth as normal.
But, as far as jealousy and judgment go... well, neither one is a fruit of the Spirit. I recommend the study by Beth Moore "Living Beyond Yourself". It helped change my life in a very difficult time.

Ann-Marie said...

Tob -
I hate to be a harpy - and I'm really (really) trying not care about the public school vs. Christian school vs. home school thing.

BUT...the thing is WHY do you think public schools ARE so bad? It's because we Christians took the "light and salt" out of the public school - where it's needed most - and sequestered ourselves in private schools and the safety bubble of our own homes. See what I'm saying?

If more Christians infiltrated the public school systems, I think that might be a change for the positive. Just an idea.

Now, I'm going to go back to trying really (really) hard not to care.

Anonymous said...

I think the public schools are so bad because "Christians" don't care about American government unless it's pro-life vs. pro-choice...maybe. I don't see Christians in the public eye holding up standards for clean tv or radio and other entertainment. It's just "a movie", "a song", "a book", "a news report" and so forth. SO the kids start watching filth 24/7 and it's all "those foolish kids these days...what's gotten into them" without ever a, "I better get the vote out" or a "I think I'm going to write to this producer" or whatever. Have you seen the "Fairly Odd Parents" cartoon? Timmy Turner makes a comment about "oh you can't say that on the radio, only on TV". Huh.
And yet the schools are supposed to educate. In my Sunday school class, the one I would attend, not the one I teach, there were close to a dozen teachers including me...almost all of us who work in the PUBLIC school system grades K-12.
Sorry to distract you from your goal of not thinking about it. In a lot of ways the schools reflect the government I guess.

Ann-Marie said...

I think you are definitely right about that Tob.

I myself am rather apathetic toward the government, so I guess I can't expect changes unless I'm involved IN the changes, can I? Good point. I agree that more Christians should get involved in government and that would be a positive start!

Strangely enough, I've never see the Fairy Odd Parents...although, I did have fairly odd parents, myself! :-)