Listen, I will tell you a secret... I am jealous of any female under 5'9". Her feet are small enough to shop in the clearance section of DSW and purchase something other than hideous clod hoppers. Her legs assume their positions in jeans as the designer intended, not like high waters that she attempts to pass off as "ankle pants". She can hide in a crowd when she chooses to and her hair always looks longer than it really is (do you know how long I have to grow my hair to get it below my bra strap?!) In sixth grade cotillion, the boys were probably not learning the waltz while staring at her boobs.
Its my dirty little secret.
Jealousy is a human problem. Our culture's no help, encouraging competition, reveling in comparison. The commercial trailers of our life, AKA Facebook and Twitter, leave out all the hard work and heart ache. Everywhere we turn, someone is more muscular, brilliant, witty, more spiritual, more prone to opportunity, more rich, with more friends.
"What about me?"
Ever asked that question? No? Maybe it looked a little more like this: When's my promotion coming? When's my opportunity coming? Why can't I respond like that in a meeting? When's someone going to listen to me? How come her life's so great? Why do they have so much money and I don't have any?
Jealousy grows like cancer in the root of insecurity. Our soul is sick, our perspective foggy, as we attempt to prove we are good enough or better than everybody else. We are nervous for others to flourish and win and succeed because it would mean there's no room for us to do the same. This life we live is not a pie heaven slices, divvying out pieces to millions of people hoping to get a taste. This life is rich and full, with plenty of room for us all.
Are you a slave to jealousy?
The book of Daniel is a biblical picture of friendship and the strength of community. Daniel and his friends - Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego are young men leaving their city for Babylon (Eden, NC for LA). They are the best of the best in their hometown, chosen by the King of Babylon to train for potential positions in the government.
Of the four, Daniel appears to have the most favor, the most talent, interpreting dreams and the most leadership. More than once, he is able to rescue them from the King's death threats and every time he did, he was promoted into a new level of leadership... and so were his friends.
I wonder as I read the story, were the friends ever wondering, "How come Daniel gets to do all the talking?" "How come God gave him the gift of dream interpretation and not me?" "How come Daniel's making all the decisions about fasting and praying and fasting and praying?" "WHAT ABOUT ME?"
The bond between these men inspires me - Even if they had these thoughts, their choices do not reflect them because submission and celebration were critical to their journey. Submission to God, to each other. Celebration of God's glory, of the success of others.
When Daniel had a win, Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego had a win. In true friendship and authentic community, there's no room for jealousy. We're on the same team.
Everybody gets a whole pie.
There's no need to fight for a slice. We each have a purpose. We are not accidents or mistakes. We are all given unique strengths, talents, personalities to make a difference in the world. No one else can do what we were born to do.
I am God's masterpiece, born for such a time as this. You know what that means? I don't need your purpose... I have my own.