Thursday, May 14, 2015
Thoughtful About . . . Jealousy, Authority, and School
I'll start with a confession: I hate award season. Not Hollywood award season (which I kinda like seeing all the gowns from...), but book award season. It starts now and goes into the fall, and every other week it seems like finalists and winners to some award or another are being announced. And I'm a meanie head. Because I get so tired of seeing those lists, and not for a pretty reason. It's jealousy, pure and simple. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a competitive person? I'm SUCH a competitive person! And I know this about myself. I try to guard myself against it. For that reason, I don't even enter awards.
And yet even so, when those lists come out, in come those thought: I want to win something too! Why do I never win anything? Are those books better than mine?
Seriously, this isn't a pretty confession. See? Yucky, and I hate having those thoughts. I certainly try not to entertain them, to let them linger. Because I don't want to be that person. I don't want to walk in bitterness. I don't want to fall into the Pit of Perpetual Comparison--it ain't a nice place to be. But it's one I tend toward.
It's one a lot of us tend toward, I think. If not in accomplishments, then in looks. In possessions. In whose kids are smarter/more advanced/more polite/taller/you name it. In whose house is cutest/biggest/neatest. In whose car is newest. In who volunteers more. Who makes the healthiest meals. Who... You get the picture.
There was a time I when I thought my competitiveness was a good thing, so I didn't bother to check it--hey, it made me valedictorian, right? There was a time when I realized it was a bad thing but didn't know how to check it--after all, I can't help it, right?
Now I know better. Now I know that like all other emotions, I may not be able to help that first feeling, but I can help what I do with it. I can help what I linger on. I can help where I dwell. Now I realize that anything that makes me bitter or depressed is something to get away from, fast...and something to rebuke.
How often do we really do that though? Which leads me (hey hey!) into authority.
Most of us are pretty content to have authority in some parts of our lives. We certainly want our kids to obey us. We want those people we supervise at work to follow our lead or listen to our instructions. We love being able to make sound decisions and follow them through.
So...why are so many of us so afraid to claim the authority in those matters we can't see? Why would we rather wallow in it when we're upset or down or in pain or angry, rather than stop, turn our hearts to God, and banish those thoughts by the power of Jesus, granted to us through the Holy Spirit?
Do we feel silly? Uncertain? I'm not sure of the answer to that. But I know that I always hesitate to let go of the negative. It's easier to wallow, and it makes us feel...right. Like we deserve to linger in that feeling. It makes us the center of attention--our own, if no one else's. It keeps our focus squarely on ourselves, and when no one else is paying attention...
But it's a trap. Seriously. You don't want that kind of attention, even from yourself. If you refuse to think it, refuse to feel sorry yourself, ask the Lord to take those thoughts away and even--gasp--banish them in the name of Jesus...it's pretty amazing how quickly our hearts and minds forgive. Or heal. Or feel like maybe we can do that thing that had seemed impossible five short minutes before.
We have that authority, folks. When Jesus was instructing us in it, he didn't say, "And if you say in regards to that mountain, 'Lord, will you please move it out of my way? If it's your will, I mean,' it will be cast into the sea."
What he say to do? To "say to that mountain, 'Be removed,' and it will be cast into the sea."
We have that authority. Through Him, through the Holy Spirit, we can move mountains--and that goes for the mountains within us and within our family, in our everyday lives. We have that authority, through Him, to live victorious lives completely independently of anything we win, of any acclaim. We have the authority to find joy in every circumstance.
I don't know about you, but there are still times when I issue an order to my kiddos and am kinda surprised when they listen. I mean, why should they? Who am I? Sometimes I still feel like a kid myself, though I've been at this parenting gig for a shocking 9.5 years. But they do listen. Because I'm their mother. Because I have that authority over them--it's a natural authority, and it's one I've been careful to cultivate correctly over the years.
Though it doesn't keep Rowyn from saying every...single...day "I don't want to read! I don't want to do my spelling! I don't want to do my math right now!" he's saying it as he puts his butt into his chair and gets his work out. As he's getting out his pencil. He's saying it knowing full well that I'm going to reply with, "You're going to do it anyway."
But if one day I said, "Yeah, okay. Whatever. Do what you want"? What do you think that kid's going to do?
Go play. That's what.
And that's the same thing our emotions do. If we give them permission, they run rampant. If we school them, they get in line.
And now that I've successfully tied my 3 topics together, I'm going to wind this up. ;-) See, we only have 2 days left in our school year (woo hoo!), and we're all looking forward to a break from the structure. But we also all know that it does nothing to the authority. I may not be doing as much teaching over the next 3 months (still some, because that's just part of our lives--they ask questions, and we find the answers), but I'm still Mommy. I still get to say, "Time to read. Time to clean up. Time for bed."
Just like to those negative thoughts inside my own head, I get to say, "Time to go away. Time to focus on blessings. Time to praise the Lord." And you know what? Jealousy and bitterness and depression have a might hard time coexisting with praise. They're gonna flee. They might try to come back, but I can send them away again.
And keep on doing it until the good feelings catch up.