In January of 2015, four brave souls set out on a journey toward deeper discipleship. We met with a mix of excitement and trepidation for the first time in a little livingroom as we took the plunge.
As part of this routine (www.mydgroup.org), we have weekly challenges. This is something, usually based on what we have been studying in the Word, that helps us think outside the box and align our desires with what the Lord is trying to change in us. In the last 3 years, we have begun our own groups and split the team, but we love to discuss weekly challenges. This is often a topic of conversation between the original four of us that began in a livingroom nearly 3 years ago.
During pedicures last month, I was chatting with one of the four musketeers in between the grimacing of pumice stones on our callouses (not because it hurt, mind you, but due to the fact that it tickled). I asked her how the weekly challenge had gone for her the week before. This challenge was two-fold: we were to prayerfully ask the Lord who in our life might be jealous of us, and reach out to them in some way with a gift: either materially, or verbally, or simply a gift of our time or prayer. Then we were to reach out to someone that we were jealous of, with a similar gift. She told me of a person that she had reached out to, and it made perfect sense to me that the person she mentioned might be a bit jealous of her. I wouldn’t have thought of that person, but then again, it’s a bit backward to think of someone who might be jealous of us. (Especially if that person has never said so.) But what she said next stunned me most of all.
“And here we are, doing this. So this is the fulfillment of my second part of the challenge.”
“Are you saying you’re jealous of me?!” I could not have been more shocked if she told me I was adopted.
“WHY?! Why on earth would you be jealous of me??”
The reasons she stated blurred together as I honestly reeled from the shock. I vaguely remember something about my ministry with others, my freedom and flexibility to serve in various ways, my writing, and I missed anything else she said.
I was thinking to myself how often I had been jealous of her… debt-free, with so much time and desire to help others, the way every single person on the planet loves her. The way that people can corner her for an hour and never know that she didn’t want to be in that conversation. The way her face doesn’t give away her feelings. The way she truly genuinely cares about every single person. The way she seeks out those who are hurting, or lonely, or forgotten. The way she takes charge of any situation, and how trustworthy she is in everything. The way she puts aside her own desires and preferences to cater to others.
I realized something that day. All of us have people we admire. All of us want to be someone else at some point in our lives. But it’s quite possible that others see the beauty in us that we cannot see in ourselves. I was jealous of her traits and all the while she was jealous of mine. Thankfully, our mutual jealousy hasn’t pushed us away from each other, but instead, together. In the church pew, in the Abuelo’s booth, in the nail salon. We sing well together, we laugh better together, and we allow our differences to compliment one another. Our different personalities, careers, and family tree all play a part in the communities we influence, the positions we sign up for, the areas we allow ourselves to spend time.
What if we spent less time coveting someone else’s body, skills, gifts, and personalities, and spent that time thanking God for the things He has equipped us with? Not because we are awesome sauce. But because He has given us these things to then give away to others. For His glory, His Kingdom, His agenda.