Since becoming a parent, I have been learning some pretty awesome life lessons. This week, I learned about jealousy.
One of the things I love most about having kids is seeing them learn and watch them grow.
But, over the last seven years, my kids are not the only ones who have changed. I have too. Some change has come due to watching my children and seeing something in them that I am lacking.
Well, I learned something about myself watching my 4-year-old daughter.
My eldest daughter has gone back to school. She just started second grade, and my husband wanted to have some special one on one time with her before she started. One Sunday after church they had a quick bite to eat and went on their way.
They left the house without much fanfare around 1:30. Since it was her showtime, my younger daughter did not even notice that her sister was gone. At around 4 pm, I called my husband to ask him if he was coming home for dinner and that’s when he informed me of their dinner plans.
He was in speakerphone so my 4-year-old heard the whole thing.
She had been missing her sister so she asked: where are you? What are you doing?
That is when my youngest daughter got the full report. She heard that her sister had seen a movie and was going to go to Wendy’s for dinner.
During the conversation, I was getting emotionally ready for a full-blown tantrum.
But it didn’t come.
When my eldest told her sister what she was going to have for dinner: a hamburger and fries, my youngest daughter’s response was: yeah!!
She was truly happy and excited for her older sister. Then, when she heard about the movie, she was still happy!
Her response blew me away.
My 4-year-old was excited and happy about somebody else’s good fortune.
Watching this happen made me ask a hard question.
How often am I truly happy for people when good things happen to them?
After spending some time thinking this over, the ugly truth hit me pretty hard. I am hardly ever truly happy for someone else’s good fortune.
When good things happen to people, my gut response is usually envy and jealousy.
As I thought about my daughter and started composing this blog post, I wanted to know: what is the opposite of jealousy? I wasn’t sure and actually had to look it up.
So I went to my favourite word sight word hippo and looked it up.
According to them, the opposite of jealousy is to be content.
Content: in a state of peaceful happiness, Satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more
When I saw the definition, I understood why my gut reaction is usually jealousy and envy. It’s because I don’t feel satisfied and I don’t feel like I have good fortune.
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Since this all just happened, I still don’t have all the answers.
I truly feel like The Lord used my child to show me that I am not naturally content and that I obviously have some work to do.
God wants us to be content.
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Ask yourself these questions:
- When good things happen to people, am I truly happy for them? Why/Why not?
- What steps can I take to be more content with my life?
I hope this challenges you as it did me.
In the comments, let me know what life lessons you have learned from your kids.
Please share this post with friends and family. Thank you.