Published on Jul 5, 2018
| by LIZ CURTIS HIGGS
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
I was a member of a professional association for just two weeks when I attended their national convention. Since my name badge didn’t sport a single special ribbon, people barely glanced at me.
Alone in my hotel room, I ended each day in tears, feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. I told myself I wasn’t envious. Simply, uh … discouraged.
Years passed, and doors began to swing open. Ribbons dangled from my name badge, and people smiled in my direction.
Soon I found myself dealing with a new set of feelings. How come she’s moving ahead faster than I am, Lord? Why did they honor her instead of me? I wasn’t jealous, of course. Merely, uh … competitive.
The awful truth revealed itself one rainy morning when I received an announcement from a colleague who’d been blessed with an opportunity I was convinced should have been mine. I tossed her letter across the room in an angry huff. “It’s not fair, Lord!”
His response was swift. “Have I called you to succeed or to surrender, Liz?”
Clearly, jealousy and envy were alive and well in my jade-green heart. When I reached out to my writing and speaking sisters — women who love and serve the Lord — I discovered they, too, wrestled with this issue. One said, “I understand competition in the secular marketplace. But I grieve over it in the body of Christ. What are we doing, setting one person’s work above another, if not absorbing the world’s way of doing things?”
Her words echo the Apostle Paul’s: ” … For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Corinthians 3:3b, NIV). Sadly, we are.
Today’s verse reminds us that envy takes a toll: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). For all of us who struggle, here’s the way out:
Confess. Healing begins when we acknowledge that envy is a sin: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth” (James 3:14, NIV). Humble admission is the single best antidote for prideful ambition.
Avoid comparison. Consider the words of Jesus, when Peter fretted over John’s place in Jesus’ ministry, and asked, “‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘ … what is that to you? You must follow me’” (John 21:21b, 22b, NIV).
Rejoice. Feeling overlooked? Look up and celebrate with others. Send an email or text on the spot, and chase away those negative feelings. “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15a, NIV).
Be patient. Many a career or ministry has collapsed under too much, too soon. Embrace the tasks you’ve been given, rather than longing for something bigger, better or faster. Success isn’t money or fame — it’s love for one another. By definition, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV).
Befriend your rival. As one of our sisters explained, “A woman was brought in on a fast track executive management program at my corporation. At our first meeting, I thought, ‘Well, here’s my rival.’ Then I heard God say, ‘She is smart, energetic and sharp — just like you. You could become best buddies.’” And, they did.
Count the cost. Behind every successful woman is a host of sacrifices we never see. The truth? We’re seldom jealous of all the work a person does — just the outcome. Whether building a tower or building a career, the Bible cautions us, ” … Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money” — or time or energy — “to complete it” (Luke 14:28b, NIV).
Lean on the Lord. He stands ready, willing and able to overcome our weaknesses through the power of His Spirit. “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always” (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV).
Heavenly Father, we know envy and jealousy are no match for Your mercy and grace. Forgive us when we grumble over how You bless others, and help us be grateful for all the ways You have kindly blessed us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (NIV)
All this spring, Liz is exploring why “He Is Worthy of Our Praise” on her weekly blog.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Of the seven steps above, which one are you ready to take today?
|© 2015 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.|
According to Webster…
Success is defined as this:
: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame
: the correct or desired result of an attempt
I took this photo with my IPhone from the passenger’s seat as my husband and I took the back road home to our little town which is just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, the horse capital of the world. We had just spent the day in the city with family and shopping a few months back. Since I love the bumpy ride, and the fact that its the closest I get to a roller coaster, we took the scenic route! A beautiful sunset, farm lands, cattle, and horses were far more enjoyable for me than if we had taken the main road through the city and into our little town-that would have meant car dealerships, gas stations and businesses, city lights all around.
Despite the view from where we are, the destination of this road we’re on is unknown.
I do know one thing. We must remain focused, goals and values in check at all times. We must be sure that our daily routine, lifestyle and habits are aligned with our dreams or desired outcomes to the best of our abilities. That is the formula for happiness in my opinion. This is the best advice I could ever leave with my friends, family, and all of humanity. Well, second, following the sharing of The Gospel of Jesus.
I hope that you will give it a chance.
God bless you, and guide you all your days.
I think this poster pretty much speaks for itself.
Via Facebook News Feed.
There are no coincidences in this life. I just prayed about ‘getting up again’ after failing to complete the activities I have been doing daily to reach a particular goal. I’ve missed more than a few days… Its so important to keep our daily routines aligned with our goals for ultimate success. Upon waking up and logging to my Facebook account, there was this image at the top of my news feed. It said:
“The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell.”
Setbacks can really be blessings in disguise.
Our God is all about ‘second chances’. I know I have been given my fair share of them. Praises to Him this morning. I didn’t have to see this poster to believe, but it was most definitely a nice gift from God.
I’ve been struggling with keeping up my daily exercise because of the situation with my obesity, odd periods, and moods affected by the two. There are factors that we can control, and those we cannot. All I know is…for us to stay sane, and to make the most of this day and our short lives, we must keep getting back up, every day. In the last few years I have truly learned that dwelling on things we missed out on, things that didn’t work out or things we ‘messed up’, and any of the bad and sad in life, we are wasting time. All of these moments we spend dwelling on the negativity of such disappointments are robbing us of the joy and possibilities of the present, and the hope of the future!
So, dear friends, I am asking you to please join me today, as I am getting back up. No matter where you are in your journey, whatever you are dealing with, its okay to begin again. You’re okay. Setbacks do not define us. We really shine when we rise above and beyond the challenges of life. Its our frame of mind that makes or breaks us. So keep telling yourself that you CAN do this! -And you will!
Wishing everyone a wonderful day!
Okay, folks. Its 6:15 a.m. in Central Kentucky. The grass and most of the road are covered with a bright, couple inches of snow. I’ve been awake since 4:30 a.m. What am I doing up so early, you might ask? Well, I think I can attribute it all to drinking too much water last night as my treadmill experience was delayed until late evening. I am so much more of a morning person, so my goal for today is to get my walk on here shortly. I’ve taken it up a notch to 30 minutes a day! its hard to believe that at the beginning of January all I could handle was 10 minutes! I have come so far. In fact, I’m going even further today. This evening I am adding on a second 30 minute walking session, only around 4 p.m. before dinner, and not as late as last night. I am not over doing it. I am very much in tune with my body and just what I can handle. I am so excited about my weight-loss transformation as this is MY year! This is OUR year, guys! Lets do this!
This morning I began my day with a very small bowl of Special K Vanilla Almond with Skim milk. I had very little because it was like 5 a.m. and I know I will be very hungry come 9 a.m. I then, folded the towels that were left in the dryer from yesterday and am about to throw a ton of socks in the dryer in a few moments. By the way, have you ever heard of the sock monster? That little guy has eaten half of my socks as they just magically disappear over time! Never to be seen again!!! What is up with that??? I just can’t figure that one out! I also sneaked into the bedroom while my husband was sleeping and grabbed 2 tall laundry baskets, both overloaded. I am more than behind as I have put a very lethargic and lazy week behind me. The house is all messed up again! Wouldn’t it be great if we could clean the house once a month and have it just stay that way!?! Ahhh…
Needless to say, I awoke with my newly acquired zest for life, all driven, and quite goal oriented! I’ve made a small list of goals that I would like to accomplish for the day. So far, I am on fire! Yesterday’s created goal sheet had 6 goals written on it. I completed 4/6. Not too bad, eh? So, today I am going a little easier on myself as I am just now getting back into listing goals after a very long hiatus! Today there are 5 goals on my goal sheet! What are they?
- Treadmill time, a 30 minute walk (2x today)
- Devotional time for God in Bible study and a continual prayer throughout the day.
- Laundry! Get a lot of it done!
- Complete the dishes that I have put off doing for so long as I’ve had a couple hand issues lately.
- Finally, this goal I am completing right now! Writing 1 blog post for the day.
I consider all of these to be quite realistic, and doable. I am also aware that making smaller goals and reaching them paves the way to complete bigger tasks and matters at hand! For example, my goal of losing 20 lbs. in the next certain period of time (its realistic) leads me to the ultimate goal of losing 100lbs! Instead of focusing on that big one hundred, I stay in the present moment, working toward that 20, with a positive frame of mind. Smaller goals indeed are the way to go in my opinion! In not pushing myself too hard or having a negative attitude as a result, I am feeling better about myself as I complete these little milestones along my journey! I’m also making memories and living life best I can because the power is always in the present moment, friends! I know this. It has taken me a decade, but I finally got it!
Setting goals really helps me stay focused on what I want. These little achievements along my journey keep me motivated and strong. Even the smallest accomplishment does something for your ego. I know its very difficult at first, but once you get a couple days of practicing or working at what it is your are trying to reach, you start feeling better about yourself and not only boosting your self esteem, but mood as well! Its a wonderful thing, and I know, especially Polar-bears like myself really benefit from this!
Multitasking is a gift! If you are able to get multiple things started, keep them going, and complete everything successfully, this is definitely a helpful tool in time management! My memory may have gotten a little rusty along the way, but man oh man, I can multitask with the best of ’em! I think the rest of it’s pretty self-explanatory, so…moving on!
Being Aware: Its important to always embrace the present moment. I know we live in a very busy, and sometimes complicated world, but it can be done! In doing so, you are able to also embrace your day as a whole, and its parts. For the longest time I was totally out of balance, spending way too much time on one thing, and neglecting several of the others, and so on. In being aware/taking the time to realize how much time I am allowing for the different areas and activities in my life, I am basically living in a successful mode, and experiencing a far richer, and a truly, full life.
All of this just dawned on me this morning, and I had to share!
The key to all 3 of these things is in our attitudes. Attitudes are formed by our thoughts. So, that being said, once you get in a routine of positive thinking, your attitude will be on point so that everything is aligned. You are making goals and reaching them because you started at the root of it all.
I hope that you may have found this post to be helpful in some way, and can take something from it with you today!
Have a great day!
*Image source: Google images