Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jealousy (Legacy pt.2)

What a sweet morning it has been. I'm not a morning person, so rarely do I really appreciate this period of the day. But today, the Lord has opened my eyes to some of the sweet, sweet blessings in front of me.

So here is one of those moments.

My daughter was watching Sesame Street, and the theme today was jealousy. I was reading a book, but noticed after a while that her shoulders were drooping a little, as she sat in the middle of the room in front of the TV. So I put my book down and slowly walked up behind her, sat down, and wrapped my arms around her. I whispered into her ear, "What's wrong, sweetie?"

She sighed, and then mumbled something. I asked her to repeat.

"I am jealous of your phone. I want a phone like that."


"Oh, okay, sweetie. Well, let me try to find your little yellow phone. You don't need to be jealous of my phone. You have your own phone to play with."

Disclaimer: We have not purchased a phone for our 3 yr old. When I upgraded my phone about a year ago, we passed along my old phone for her to play apps on, with no service. Just want to clarify!

As I got up and started searching for her phone, it got me thinking about a few things.

1) What an astute grasp of this new concept for her. It's pretty neat to see how much she is learning every single day, and learning how to express those new ideas and feelings to me. I love being a part of that process.

2) Here we go. The beginning stages of understanding this awful struggle called jealousy. The struggle between recognizing that someone else has something we want, and having to choose if we are going to long after and envy that thing, allowing discord and division to crop up in relationships, and a seed of discontentment to be planted in our life
OR will we recognize our own desire for ______, bring that request to the Lord, and then leave it there, trusting Him to "order and provide." (Be Still My Soul, lyrics below)

How do you teach a child to battle and victoriously overcome something that you don't have victory over yourself?

That used to be the type of questions that would paralyze me in the past. Like before I had kids, wondering how in the world do you raise a child to grasp freedoms in their own lives that you haven't experienced for yourself?

But since then, the Lord has faithfully helped me to approach this from a different perspective. (He's good about flipping things on their end and showing you a different viewpoint).

I don't think it's a matter of me 'arriving.' Truthfully, I will never be completely resilient to the talons of jealousy and envy, comparison or insecurity, (or fill in whatever your struggle of choice may be), as much as it saddens my heart to face this truth.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." - Psalm 73:26

But I also don't think that is necessary anymore.

I can only teach Natalie what I know. I can only pass along to her things that I have experienced and believe, and try my best to get her connected to other resources and relationships that can offer her more as well.

And so what I teach her to do is fight. To identify the thorny snares like jealousy and anger, and give her tools to fight these things from becoming a part of who she is and her way of living. To show her that there are better ways, better things to choose in those moments when faced with the temptation to focus on what she doesn't have and forget all that she has been graciously given.

One of those tools being gratitude. Counting her blessings. Naming them throughout the day, and at night before she goes to bed. Each declaration a jab at discontent. Each thankful prayer giving greed a run for its money. This we can do.

So we finished our conversation and I had the privilege of being able to plant some seeds of truth into her heart, which I pray that they will take root. We talked about how we don't need to be jealous when others have something we want, in light of ALL that God has given us, and that we can be happy for them in all that God has done for them as well.

It was a good reminder for my heart, too, to be completely transparent.

As I parent, God parents my heart, too. Am I the only one?

What an amazing responsibility. Not only to pursue freedom in Christ for myself, knowing that God loves me and wants that freedom and abundant life for me ("the furious love of God" -G.K. Chesterton), but them to pursue that freedom for my babies as well . To live a life of freedom in front of them, to show them a real example of something different than what they may see displayed in the world.

To teach them to abide. Because this freedom and so many other treasures are found in Him, in His Presence, living connected to the Vine.

(Oh, what a rich storehouse of information in that one five-letter word. I'm excited to be unpacking it more this year. I am sure there will be many more posts to come about this, but it's just too soon for me to try to write about it yet.)

Lord, may You always be my pursuit, and may I be available for you to do in me what is needed, for me and for my family, and for those around me. Help me to not become short-sided and lose sight of the amazing ramifications of Your handiwork, that it would never stop and end in my life, but that it would and will overflow to others around me. What an amazing opportunity to get to be a part of Your work by allowing You to change me, first. Please do what is needed in me to be the wife that my husband needs, to support and encourage Your calling on his life. Please do in me what is needed for the calling on my kids' lives. To be the mom that that they need. In Jesus' Powerful Name, Amen.  
That is my prayer, almost each and every day.

That's a legacy worth pursuing.

Be Still My Soul (referenced above)
Be still, my soul,
The Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God, to order and provide.
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul,
Your best your heavenly friend,
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul,
Your God will undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul,
The waves and winds still KNOW
His voice who ruled them while he lived below.

Be still, my soul,
Be still, my soul,
Be still.

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