Word of the Week

When is the last time you heard something from a friend that sounded like this . . .

"I have a new job that pays me double what I used to make!"

"My grandchildren just won an all-state competition!"

"My love just sent me a bouquet of roses at work and it wasn't even our anniversary!"

Maybe what is spoken is not meant to bother us, but it does. Enter this week's word: jealous.

Jealous: the feeling of resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages.

These days it's hard to scroll through Brag Book, I mean Facebook without feeling jealous. Everyone else's life feels better than yours, right?

But so rarely do we talk about it. Nice people don't utter their jealousy, right?

"Me, jealous? No way!"

But your true feelings come out in subtle ways, I think. Sarcasm. Gossip. Not returning a friend's texts or phone calls.

Jealousy, you see, robs us of of those we just might most need to be in relationship with because they have something to teach us.

So what do you do when a slump of jealousy hits you? Begin by being honest. Name what is going on. Pout, cry if you must. But simply tell it like it is. It's not that so and so is a bad person or less than or whatever. It's not about the other person. It's about you. This fact changes things, doesn't it?

And then, go back to a motto that I love, "Stay in your own lane."

By this, I mean realize that you're on the highway with lots of different kind of people.

Some will happily marry for their lifetime. You might not.

Some will have children exactly when they want them. You may not.

Some will have children who thrive in school. You may not.

Some will hear the words, "You have cancer." You may not.

Some will find fulfillment in their careers of choice. You may not. Some will face easy choices in retirement. You may not.

Sure, the world is full of injustice. It is all of our callings as people of faith to work toward equality for all-- but in the meantime --in the day to day journey of life, you can stay focused on YOUR LANE.

You can do the next right thing for YOU.

You can lean into joy. You can take care of your body the best you can. You can keep dreaming in the present tense.

This week, I'm cheering you on -- in your lane. May it be filled with beautiful new surprises.



Enjoying the sun
Enjoying the sun

There are moments in life when we're content. We're happy as we can be.

We've got hearts full of gratitude for something or someone really important to us.

When someone asks how we are, we can truly say life is grand! And mean it!

But as much as this is true, sometimes all our positive vibes come to a crashing end fast!

We fall flat into anger and tears. We're ready to throw a "woe is me" pity party.

Why? Someone tells us about something amazing in their lives. We read a glowing post on Facebook or on Twitter. We hear their sharing as bragging (even if they didn't mean it as such)

"I have a new job that pays me double what I used to make!"

"My children are A-roll honor students! My grandchildren just won an all-state competition!"

"My husband just sent me a bouquet of roses at work and it wasn't even our anniversary!"

And in moments, insecurity comes racing in, doesn't it?

What we have doesn't seem good enough.

We are jealous.

And oh how jealousy ruins things! It ruins our day. It ruins our planned evenings out. It ruins what we most celebrate about ourselves.

And, in the church, where our mission asks us to ban together as the Body of Christ, we don't really like to talk about jealousy, do we?

It's like one of those words like gossip or gluttony that we assume none of us has a problem with . . . you know right after we tell a story about our least favorite church lady again with another piece of pie in our hand!

"Me, jealous? No, way!" we say.

But our feelings come out in subtle ways, I think.

Sarcastic comments.

Eye rolling.

Or even disengaging from relationships all together. (Our friends and family are left wondering what in the world they did to deserve such coldness?)

I bring this up because know jealousy. I really know it.

I've been that stone wall one in the corner, sad, angry and discontent. I couldn't see past my pain.

I've also been the recipient of side of the mouth comments from folks who assume that because I have X then I think I'm better than. They can't see past their pain.

In in both cases, jealousy hurts!

So what do we do? How do we live in community with one another like this? How do we keep ourselves from being sidetracked into jealousy?

This might just be a start, but lately this is my go-to motto: "Stay in your own lane!"


It's as simple as imagining yourself in a car and staying in your lane without moving. No blinkers on!

It works for me because it's a metaphor that reminds me to keep my gaze focused my forward moving energy.

It's a metaphor that asks me to celebrate who is in my car-- not who I wish might be. 

It's a metaphor that reminds me that the only way to keep jealousy out is to simply be where I am, nowhere else.

Most of all these words help me to visualize God's redemptive story needs to be worked out in the details of my life not someone else's. I have to do my own work!

We surrender the details to God.

I realize such steadfastness can be painful.

But great things are happening in my lane (and they are happening in yours too!) Though we might feel like we're on a endlessly boring journey of desolate countryside for miles, stuff is happening in us and around us as we go.

Sometimes that "stuff" is showy and pretty. Other times it's not. Hear me say it doesn't mean your lane or mine is less than!

(And for those of us stuck in the badlands, beautiful possibilities are up ahead if we only keep driving. Our gospel story tells us this profound truth).

So, while you and your lane's accomplishments might tempt me to swerve from time to time, my lane is where I want to be.

It's the only place I can really BE.

I can be right here.