Monday, March 30, 2015

3 Seconds of Envy

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw SEVERAL classmates and teachers post selfies of themselves in front of the beautiful masterpiece: "The School of Athens" by Raphael. 

This is one of my favorite paintings ever and right there, all over Facebook, were friends, classmates, and teachers alike taking in that masterpiece in person. And I wasn't there with them.

I was jealous. Not really jealous, but just enough to feel sad about my life for three seconds.

And friends, three seconds of envy can be DANGEROUS--to you, to your heart, to your thoughts, to your soul, to your relationship with God--ALL of it can be poisoned with just three seconds of envy.

That's when I decided to take about 60 seconds to reflect. 
While it is awesome that my friends saw a beautiful painting in person, does that make any part of my life worse? 

No, it doesn't. 

That's when I decided that even though my life often feels pretty mundane, it's actually really beautiful.

Even on my worst days, I go outside and see purple mountains and really green grass--painted and sculpted by the Lord of All Creation Himself! I think that tops Raphael any day of the week.

Be Grateful
If you ever find yourself in those poisonous 3 seconds of envy, STOP and take 60 seconds to be grateful for all of the days that God has made your life amazing in ways both big and small. (Here's a hint: there are billions of ways, whether you see them or not.)

After those 60 seconds of gratitude are up, remember that person you envied before. Remember that no life dedicated to God is better or worse than another life that is also dedicated to God. You are no better than anyone else, and no one else is better than you. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we all blend into one perfect, holy person--that's Jesus.

Challenge Yourself
The next time that you find yourself in those 3 seconds of envy, challenge yourself! Turn it into 3 seconds of rejoicing in that person's happiness. This is very hard to do, but don't forget that with God, all things are possible. You'll find that you will become just as happy as the other person and then all of a sudden, no one is happier than the other. 

At that point, when everyone is grateful and rejoicing in others' happiness, what do we have left to envy?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Small Thought

Note: There are times when I think that my blog posts aren't worth publishing unless they are a certain length. Then I thought, "What if I just post small thoughts every once in a while?" So I'm giving it a try. I hope you enjoy it.

I've been writing some short stories this school year, and I'm finding a slight pattern in the endings: someone gets sick or hurt, and someone unexpected comes around and helps them.

At first that was somewhat discouraging: "Aren't I a better storyteller than that?"

No, for crying out loud, that's the story we're living in!

No one comes out of this life unscathed, and we are all tempted to buy into the lie that we have to figure it out alone.

But we don't have to.

That's why it was such an amazing thing that Jesus died for us on the cross. He didn't have to help us. He could have left us alone.

But he didn't.

He was the unexpected hero to come and help us in our misery and hurt.

So I keep telling stories every now and then, enjoying the search for the patterns that represent real life that I didn't know were there at first.

Friday, March 6, 2015

How My Week Went & How Life Pretty Much Goes in General

In answer to the question, "How was your week?"

This week was really good and really hard.

It was emotionally, physically, academically, and spiritually challenging and draining. I gave my ALL in all of those areas this week (except maybe in spiritual, that was more of God working in me than me doing the work). I came through in many ways, but I also failed in many ways this week.

One minute I was running through a meadow because I was so happy, the next minute I was gritting my teeth trying not to say something I would regret.

One minute I was praying "You're amazing, God!" and the next minute I was praying, "God, what--why--how, URGG!"

One day I wanted to journal about how perfect life is and the next day I wanted to angrily scribble about how stupid and unfair life is. Both times, I ended up not writing anything at all, believe it or not.

This week I felt like a child and I also felt like an adult. One night I would be venting about how I have no idea what I'm doing and how much help I need, and (literally) the next day I was thinking "This isn't too bad, being an adult. I can handle this."

One day I was praising God for how many wonderful people He has placed into my life and then the next day I was asking God why in the world he put "this one annoying person" into my life.

One day I accused someone for not "being there" enough, and the next day I felt like an idiot because she has actually given up a lot of her time just to make sure I'm doing okay.

One day I was daydreaming about graduating high school, and the next day...well, I was still daydreaming about graduating high school. (Some things don't change.)

One minute I remembered how God has come through for me so many times that I've been hurt in my life, and the next minute I remembered how God came through (and forgave me) for so many other people I've hurt in my life.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Glennon Melton-Doyle has a great word for life and how much it see-saws: "Brutiful."

Life is brutiful...Brutal AND Beautiful!

Both/And. Mixed. Joined. Together. Tough & Lovely. Brutal & Beautiful. BRUTIFUL.

So, yeah...that was my week!


How was yours?