From time to time I become aware of great things going on in the lives of those around me. Sometimes they have a wonderful marriage and when I see them together it is obvious how much in love they are. Perhaps their children are bright and accomplished and a joy to be around. Maybe a new job that is everything they have been working towards in their career has finally come into their lives.
Generally, my heart is filled with gratitude for these blessings in their lives and I am happy for them. Occasionally, when their blessing is one that I have wished for, or even prayed for, there is also a tiny little spark of jealousy. I have come to understand that these feelings are natural, and I don’t want to beat myself up or feel shame for having them. The important thing for my ongoing recovery and healing is what I do with them when they come.
If I always have a little pile of dry tinder and an abundant supply of kindling and firewood, those sparks may start a fire in my life. I can blow on the little embers that I ignite with those feelings and feed the flames of jealousy with ever-larger pieces of wood until I have a bonfire which consumes me, and keeps me from enjoying the many blessings of my own life. Or, like the Forest Service cleaning out unnecessary brush and dead wood to be able to better control forest fires, I can make sure I don’t keep a supply of fuel on hand for the jealousy fire by letting go of resentments and hurts as soon as possible, and avoiding comparisons of my life to others. I can keep a handy supply of living water, accumulated through gospel study and service, and use it to stamp out and douse those little sparks when they come flying through my life.
- What feelings are sparks in your life?
- Do you have a supply of kindling and firewood?
- What steps are you willing to take to eliminate that fuel from your life?
- What are you willing to do to increase your supply of living water?