One of the things that I think God is dealing with right now is jealousy. Obviously it’s always been there, but from the normal day to day struggles that anyone would have, I have been thrown into a situation where I can ‘legitimately’ be envious of pretty much everyone and everything. If you can do anything other than sit in bed and be useless, there’s potential for me to seethe over it. But before I was brought fact to face with all this, I never even realised it was there. The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? (Jer 17:9)
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been aware of it and trying to pray against it, but some days are good and some days are bad. Checking my facebook feed could be rewarding, but equally well I would just find myself weighed down by the many things that people I know are having fun doing. Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the LORD. (Prov 23:17) It’s easy to say, but hard to do. Especially bad is all of the fun times people have with their friends. It’s been difficult for me to make any close friends at all – always I’ve been too tired to invest much in anything outside of necessary work – and now I’m not in a position where I can spend much time with anybody. This isn’t what I want to be like though! I want to look at the good things that others experience and cheer them on, I want to rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15) I want a heart that can love like that. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psa 51:10)
Last week, a friend of mine announced she was pregnant! It’s amazing news, since her husband has the man-cancer, and it was unlikely that they would manage to conceive in the short period they had to try – and possible that they would never be able to conceive afterwards. It’s one of the many ways I can see God moving at the moment in their lives.
My reaction was not fantastic though. What I wanted to feel and think was “Yes! Amazing! Thank you God for blessing them so much!” I wanted to immediately be super-excited in a very feminine way, and start daydreaming about names and baby clothes and teeny-tiny toes. What I actually felt was something along the lines of “Aw man… I’ve been spending so much of my time trying to cultivate a friendship here, and now she will have even less time for me” and then “well it’s not like we ever saw each other much anyway” /selfpity. Instead of me seeing how God has move miraculously in so many ways for them, and how He can do the same for me, I was seeing how I’m too ill to start a family myself, and I might never be well enough to have children ever. If we had a child now, I couldn’t begin to take care of them. I couldn’t even pick them up or support their head for long. I can’t give birth naturally because ME is blood-transmissive. Huge self-pity and jealousy overload, instead of me praising God for the good He is doing, and rejoicing with my friend.
I am super-ashamed.
Why am I even talking about this? Because I knew even as it was going on, that it was totally totally wrong. As Elisabeth Elliot said: “I want to be free of self-pity. It is a tool of Satan to rot away a life.” My heart could not be more out of line A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. (Luke 6:45) Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: …not in quarreling and jealousy. (Rom 13:13) Selfpity and jealousy and upset all wound up in one nasty bundle of I-can’t-deal-with-this. So, I prayed about it, and a good friend listened to my now-self-hate and prayed about it too. We prayed good! In the one day from my initial angst ridden pleadings for change and meeting up with mum-to-be, I went from the horrible mess that I was to almost crying in gratefulness for God’s mercy to them. I can’t express how much that change really was; I know I have little control over my emotions, it really does take an intervention from God to change a heart like that. What I knew in my head to be true was overwhelmingly true in my heart – praise for God and total and complete joy over what He is doing for them.
I know that in posting this I’m risking a lot – I’m revealing part of how messed up I really am (surprise, surprise). But I need to testify how God has managed to change me from who I was to who I am. As dad-to-be always says: to Him be the glory!