I promised in last week’s post to talk with you about jealousy today. But first, would you mind a quick update? Both twigs of the baby elm tree have already sprouted new leaves, and I’m hopeful the wire cage and the Irish Spring soap, along with the beginnings of some lovely fall weather, will all keep that little tree thriving.
Let’s take a look at where that little tree is growing:
|^ The little tree is growing right there …
in the shadow of its much larger parent tree.
You really can’t even see the little tree, can you? It’s so small and easy to miss. If you get down to the tree’s level, here’s what you’ll see:
|The view looking up from the little tree|
If trees had thoughts and hopes and dreams, can you imagine that little tree looking up at its parent tree all day, wishing to grow up to be just as strong and beautiful? Do you think it’s a little jealous of what the larger tree has already accomplished? Sun shines down on its leaves most of the day. Birds sit on its branches and sing. Snow insulates it in winter. And seeds too numerous to count fall from it to create more trees. All things that the little tree has yet to experience but aspires to someday.
I can definitely relate to that little tree. But I also know that jealousy is a useless, dangerous emotion. May I take a few minutes to share my own recent struggle against the green-eyed monster with you?
A tale of two authors
I have two friends who published their first books this year. One friend, Jennifer Durbin, published the first in a series for the Clueless Chick, a fabulous brand she created for women’s books. The first publisher she approached jumped on the idea of her Pregnancy Tips for the Clueless Chick book, and she’s now finalizing books two and three in the series. I’m thrilled for her success, and she’s so excited about the book, the brand and the future plans for them, that it’s hard to be anything other than proud of her accomplishments. Did I mention she has two children under the age of 3 and works a full-time job to boot? Between you and me, I’m not convinced she sleeps.
Jerel Law’s book just hit Wal-mart shelves. I’m excited to read it, because … well, it sounds awesome. Check out the trailer and judge for yourself. This book answers the Christian parents’ wish for something for their kids to read besides that wildly popular but secular series about wizards, and I’m pretty sure that it won’t just be the Christian kids who gravitate to this book. My friend’s publisher and Walmart must be pretty sure, too: Walmart’s got the exclusive rights to carry his book for its first 90 days.
Not only that, his publisher was so convinced about the success of this idea that they signed him to a two-book contract. (I bet they’ll be signing him for more down the road.)
While I celebrate with my friends, I’m also struggling with emotions around *not* getting published this year. If I’m honest, I have to admit to being a little green around the edges. I don’t want to be. I want simply to celebrate and cheer them on. And I definitely would not want to take on the unique challenges they have dealt with to get to this point in their lives.
So no, I won’t ask to trade places with either of them. Their trees may be looming over me, but at least mine is still there, still growing and sprouting new leaves. And I’ll strive to grab hold of the promise of God’s unique gift in store for me.
The promise of a future
Clinging to God’s promises and His Word may be the best – and possibly only – way to overcome the jealousies we encounter through life.
I don’t know if you can relate to my story, but here are some words of comfort:
If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But
those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many
foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and
destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and
some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and
pierced themselves with many griefs. … Instruct those who are
rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on
the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with
all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good
works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves
the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so they may take
hold of that which is life indeed.
– 1 Timothy 6:8-10, 17-19
Friends, instead of letting many griefs pierce us as we look at the “more” others seem to have, let’s focus on the promise of a treasure, of a solid foundation, of a future that God has already planned and prepared uniquely for each of us so that we, too, can “take hold of that which is life.”
What would you do?
Before you go out into the world to grab hold of life, may I ask for your advice? Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know how much I love to support independent bookstores. But I also want to support my friend Jerel and really want to read his book, only available at Walmart for the next 90 days. I haven’t shopped at Walmart since 1997 – long story involving a migraine, exceptionally poor customer service, and an even worse form letter in response to my complaint. So here’s my question for you: Do I buy the book at Walmart now or wait 90 days to buy it at my local bookstore? Thoughts? Opinions? Advice? The best response wins a copy of my friend’s book (but don’t be surprised if it takes 90+ days to arrive on your doorstep.)