Henri Nouwen reminds me we have the choice between living in the house of fear or the house of love (and 1 John says, “perfect love casts out all fear” – they don’t co-exist). I’ve been thinking lately about how confining and threatening it feels to live in fear when it comes to how we see others’ lives – particularly the good, the success, the growth they experience. I know personally that jealousy and envy have robbed me of so much joy. Comparison is a quiet, subtle thief, and it can be such a relentless companion. It slips in with opinions, especially when we feel weak and broken. We leave no space or room for this voice when we find deep security in who we are as God’s children. We are unique, and needed, and our lives are pieces of beautiful work. The world is not a zero-sum game.
You’ve created a universe of infinite blessing.
You never stop creating good.
The reserves are endless.
So why have I made such a small house for my heart?
With windows tinted by jealousy and envy?
I look out and see the gifts in other’s lives,
and I am angry.
But this is the view from my small house whose walls
are envy and whose foundation is fear – if they have this,
I won’t, or can’t, or will have less.
With your hands around mine, I hold the lie at a further distance and observe it for what it is, letting it teach me the road my heart has yet to travel,
the heart-house needing construction.
With patience, complete non-judgment, and relentlessly gentle love,
you never stop telling me, God,
of the freedom there is in celebration, rather than competition.
Of the ever-expanding joy!
With you, blessing has no limit.
My cup runneth over…
Outside the window, I see the jealousy, envy, insecurity, feeling threatened –
it turns to a dissipating mist,
and is swallowed by the rumbling storm of your voice.
You invite me outside into a strong, cleansing rain
that brings my soul to rebirth.
Today I will give thanks for the goodness I witness in others’ lives,
believing it all illumines a gracious God
and universe that still has goodness at its core.
I will mark with joy the flourishing I see.
With a huge exhale of relief and anticipation
I will step through the threshold of my
* Italicized reference to Psalm 23