They thought I was more successful than I was. But they were wrong in their assumptions. And I’m left wondering what to do about it. Not to chastise those who thought more highly of me than they ought (or that I deserve), but to think deeper about how I approach others. I hope this makes sense.
Let me clarify: A writer who writes books, who is seemingly everywhere on the internet, is not necessarily successful. I may appear to have it all together. I may appear to have financial success. I may appear to have a glamorous life (ha ha…sometimes I write in my jammies!) But the truth is, I’m an artist who struggles. Who trusts God for provision. Who feels small and insignificant. Who battles my own fears, worries, and dreams. I worry about paying for college. I worry about the future. I worry far too much.
Since I’d been misunderstood to be more than I am, it made me take a better look at the way I can be jealous of others’ seeming success. Or to take a deeper stab at my own icky jealousy or envy. I remember a time when I drove by a friends’ house. It loomed large on the block, breathtaking, beautiful. I said a snide, jealous comment about it. Unfortunately, my window was down, and I noticed the owner in the garden. I don’t know if she heard me or not, as she was always gracious to me, but I have worried about that moment ever since.
I had judged her for what she had. Yet, when I pulled back the curtain on her life, I saw much more complication there. The house really meant nothing in light of everything else. And I felt awful jumping to such a snippy conclusion. I am embarrassed to even type this. But it is instructive. How?
If you’re thinking jealous, judgmental thoughts toward someone who has more stuff/intelligence/wit/looks/money/fame/power than you, what would it sound like if you verbalized them in front of that person? If you’d be embarrassed (and they’d be shocked), then you probably have a problem. You’re probably being unfair or unkind. Or jealous. Or envious.
Oh that we’d all just love each other. Oh that I would love you, as you are, no matter what you do or don’t have. Oh to see instead the light of Jesus in others, their uniqueness and beauty as He created each of us. Oh to let go of wanting more than our God-given lot. Oh to foster contentment. That’s my prayer.
I have a hunch it’s yours too.
When have you judged a friend and it turned out to be completely wrong? When has a friend judged you wrongly?