Even here in Southern California, the tan world has turned green, thanks to the recent rainfall.  My roses have burst into colorful song.  Purple flowers blanket hillsides.  Plants everywhere seem in a hurry to green up while they can.

But that’s not the kind of green I mean.  The green inside of me is the poisonous algae of jealousy, the slippery stuff that is hard to scrub off, the slimy green you avoid touching.  My green is envy.

I am vaguely jealous and passionately jealous and jealous for every reason and for no reason at all.

For years now, I’ve pinpointed jealousy as my besetting sin.  While I unwrap the gift of my life each day, my eyes wander.  I don’t want this thing in my hands–I want what she has!  Discontent simmers while I look around and cradle bitterness in my hands.

I want what I don’t have.

When I want what I don’t have, I reject what I do have.  How dare I?

I’m a hypocrite, too.  My 9-year old complains about her beautiful blond ringlets.  She wants straight hair.  “But God gave you curly hair!  It’s so pretty!” I tell her while secretly hating the hair God gave me.  I also hate the body He gave me, from my sparse eyelashes to my stubby fingernails to my short-waisted torso.  How will I convince my daughter to be grateful for what she has when I am so ungrateful for what I have? I treat my own body with contempt.

I’m feeling jealous of the trips other people take, of the cars they drive, of the accomplishments their kids achieve, of the places they live, the people they see, the things they do, the places they’ve been.  I’m unhappy that other people fly to conferences and take vacations and have lunch with friends.  I want, I want, I want.

It’s my besetting sin and I must set it aside.  I want to savor what I have, to want what I hold in my hands, to recognize the priceless gift of here and now.  That’s hard to do if I insist on keeping envy green and growing in my heart.

5 thoughts on “Green

  1. That is so hard, I think we all struggle with this in some way.

    You know, I just read Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson and I have to say that it was incredibly inspiring. At first I wanted to edit it a bit in the beginning but then I couldn’t put it down. Even though I’m not LDS I found that her faith strengthened my faith, and also awakened many areas of motherhood I’ve kind of let go. And it also made me so glad for what I have right here right now. 🙂 I hope that sticks around for awhile.



  2. many of us struggle with this every day. some are unaware…but deep in their heart…and mine it is there. i havent’ written the words but i taste them everyday. it truly makes me sick. we all need a slap to wake up to God’s grace and mercy.


  3. I didn’t realize until recently how often I am consumed with jealousy (and the goofy things I unconsciously react to–it’s embarrassing). It’s something I really don’t like about myself and I wonder if I will ever be free of it.

    Is there a 12 step program?


  4. If you flew off to the conference, you might still be green: others have published their books; others are part of a supportive writing community, brought the whole thing along; another throws a slide of her writing cabin on the edge of a golden cornfield before a hungry crowd; another has a Pulitzer; many got a good night’s sleep; some go out to eat with editors and publishers at night; some have money to buy a suitcase of books to take home; some made wiser session choices than you did; some get to read from their books before a receptive audience.
    Having said that, remembered you and wish you could have made it.


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