Jealousy and Envy. How many of us are willing to admit these two things have any place in our head or our heart. Perhaps not many but instead of asking for a show of hands, today I will share my personal struggle with these thing feelings. It is a mighty struggle, and to be honest, one that I don’t always come out on the best side of.
Every morning I have the same routine - wake up, say a quick prayer, make coffee, jump on the internet. Once online, I research, read, and share Catholic content from Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and of course, Catholic blogs. I sometimes spend hours looking at all the great things other people are saying, doing and photographing.
It seems all well and fine while I'm online. I am excited by all the amazing things God is doing with so many amazing people who are willing to answer YES to God's call to serve and share the Good News. Yet, quietly, almost unnoticeable, something is happening that if left unchecked would become a great tool for the evil one. As I explore, read, and re-post comparisons cultivate. As I become aware of other people's opportunities or good fortune, a seed of sadness sometimes grows. As I look at the shiny, pretty offerings of the other Catholic bloggers, media savvy posters and New Evangelizers, my own work appears duller and duller. Insecurity creeps in as I look at the degrees people hold, ideas they had first, and books they've been blessed to publish - and discouragement overtakes me. It is subtle, it may even go undetected for a while - but it is there and I know it because my JOY wanes and anxiety abounds.
So there you have it - my weakest link - I am an incredibly jealous and envious person. It is a battle I have to consciously fight every day. The evil thing and disorder that St. James speaks of, for me, is how the enemy can use my own thoughts and feelings to either paralyze or blind me. It isn't all on the enemy either - he may get the ball rolling, but I do just fine and dandy keeping the momentum going all on my own! Recognizing these profound temptations and flaws of my nature are an important first step in overcoming them.
These are the tools I utilize (daily) to wage war against them - so that I can remain focused on doing the "Will of the One who sent me," (John 6:38), and not be frozen in my own insecurity.
SacramentsI am blessed to receive what I refer to as The Spiritual Trifecta every Friday. The Spiritual Trifecta consists of Reconciliation, Mass, and a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament. I rely very heavily on the grace of the Sacraments to keep me focused outwardly on God, embracing his love and that love for others, and not inward on myself!
Spiritual DirectionI am not in this alone. Thoughts kept inside my head, remain in the dark, where the prince of darkness reigns, but when I speak them into the light the Prince of Light casts His love over them. My Spiritual Director, a Deacon, provides solid but stern (when I need it) guidance.
ScriptureI turn to the Word of God to stay grounded in Truth and not the lies of the enemy or my own head. St. Paul's words (see below) from 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, have become my greatest weapon. This reminder that I not only have my own appointment from God but also possess all the gifts and talents I need to accomplish what He calls me to. The beauty of Church is we need each other, we are all in this together, and it is working in communion with each other that God is truly glorified, and when His work and will are done. Life is not a competition but a coming together.
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?
All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way. 1 Cor 12:27-31
That is my weakness as well! I love how you have a battle plan to stop it in its tracks. As I was reading, it occurred to me that this tendency toward comparison and all the rest can be a cross not unlike the tendency toward lust. It made me think I need to be more vigilant about stopping the cycle in the beginning. I heard Matt Fradd say that one of the things he does to keep from lust was to pray for the person that he was tempted to lust after. I think there may be something to say for praying for the person we are tempted to be jealous of and thanking God for the blessings in that person's life.ReplyDelete
Matt is 100% right, and you are so astute to make that connection to jealousy! It is the advice I give the most when discussing forgiveness issues too. Pray for the good of the other - is way harder than it seems, which makes me think even more it is the proper response. thanks for your very thoughtful comments, I am glad I am not alone in battling the green monsters :) God bless!!Delete
I am very aware of the same weakness in my self. At first it was related to home decor, so I stopped reading blogs like that and now I find it still creeping in! I'm going to use k your suggestions to combat it though. You are not alone though: this spoke volumes to me!ReplyDelete
You are so wise to be able to identify the trigger, and then take proper actions to not be "led into temptation". Praise God we have this shared sisterhood to know we are not alone, please know I will be praying for you.Delete
Thank you Bonnie for allowing me the honor of guest blogging on your fantastic Blog!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your honesty. I also struggle with jealousy and sadness at not being as good as others (that's a lie, mind you). What helps is often acknowledging the feeling of jealousy and expressing it to the person you envy/admire in a friendly way. "I'm so jealous of you! Great trip!" - it shows them what they do is valuable and makes them feel better. And along the way, it makes you feel good for sharing the joy. I know it doesn't always sound like the best solution, but it does work. Best of luck to us both ;)ReplyDelete
That is a very thoughtful solution. I do something very similar, and I wish I could stop the whole initial reaction - I guess that's a goal but for now I am glad that I can recognize it, pray for God's grace in the situation, and let it go (until the next thing pops up. ha ha). We are both on our way because realizing it is step #1!Delete
My biggest struggle is not exactly jealousy, but related: self-pity. I see other women getting to do exactly what I want to do and I feel very sorry for myself. I don't need a big house or a new car or a fancy career. All I want is to quit my full time job and stay home and raise my kids. That's it. I am not under the illusion that it will be easy or happy all the time, but it would be satisfying and fulfilling and I would get to have more impact on my kids beyond an hour or two before bed. But for whatever reason, it isn't happening right now. I know I should feel trusting and peaceful that all will work for our good, but mostly I feel angsty and very sorry for myself. I don't really know how to fix this response.ReplyDelete
Jenny, as I read your comment I was thinking, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, and then realized HEY THAT'S the image on Bonnie's blog!! Godcidence!! I think so. What came to mind was to suggest you pray a Novena to Our Lady, asking her to help undo all those obstacles that keep you from living this dream you have. IF that desire is on your heart, God certainly put it there. IF HE put it there, he will make a way for it. Nothing is Impossible for God. I pray you can turn this envy into the nudge you need to do whatever is necessary to be home... IF God calls you to it, HE will provide in it. Prayers!!Delete
Strangely enough, I felt called to pray this novena a little over a month ago and thought I would plan it so it would end on the Feast of the Visitation. But then stuff happened and I'm terrible at novenas and it just didn't happen and I haven't gotten back to trying again. I have taken the hint!Delete
Unfortunately there isn't a lot I can actively do to make the move home except encourage my husband, which isn't nothing but still is a helpless feeling.
I was surprised to read this from you Allison. Not for the reason you think! You have YouTube videos, a radio show, are a Pinterest uber star, are guest blogging here, there and every where. I keep a close eye on ya. You, as a New Evangelizer, social media queen and entrepreneur are a shining star in the Catholic media world. Just come back and read this comment (along with your spiritual trifecta - LOVE THAT, BTW) when you doubt.ReplyDelete
P.S. So proud that I spelled entrepreneur right on the first try - I usually have to check the spelling! I'm learning!!
First kudos on the spelling victory.. those rock don't they!!Delete
Your response is a good lesson to me, how even those people I am probably most envious have their own inward battles with insecurity or doubt. Never judge by the cover... always take time to read that book!!
And as an aside.. I am going to have to mention your very flattering comments in my confession on Friday -- ego stoked, pride puffed. You are not too shabby yourself my dear!!
Allison, this definitely resonated with me. I love the idea of keeping a weekly Spiritual Trifecta. That point struck me particularly. I'd have to jump through some hoops to do it here in Catholic no-man's land, but, hmm, I wonder...ReplyDelete
Shoot for a monthly or bimonthly to start ... just a thought. You will still feel blessed, I know this because my confessor has been traveling all late Spring and my routine is off, but the one I did get, absolutely strengthened and sustained me while I wait for the jet-setter to settle back in :)Delete