Jealous of Joy

It maybe got a little tense in the car after the party. Some less than pleasant things needed to be addressed having to do with my sister, Mikayla, and she didn’t take it well.

It’s hard for us to take rebuke. Even the best of us cringe at the thought of it sometimes.

None of us want to admit imperfection. And yet none of us can claim the opposite. 

Nobody’s perfect. We are all just lousy wanna-bes. 

1 Peter 3:4 instructs women to put on “the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. This is something Mikayla has always struggled with.

Mikayla is loud and boisterous, and at the party she was a little too much. We told her in the car that such people drain other people’s energy and become a burden to everyone around them. We told her that if she is not careful she could become an “emotional girl”, using a term Reliant K sings in one of our favorite family songs.

We were not trying to be demeaning to Mikayla, we were just trying to take it like a joke and make it a little easier for her to take… it had the opposite effect.

She got upset and the car got tense.

“I can’t change who I am,” she said.

I took her hand and squeezed it gentle. “No, you can’t. But you can control yourself.

“God gave you a wonderful gift Mikayla. You have a beautiful joyful spirit and it is contagious. If you use it properly you can spread love and joy like wildfire, uplifting people’s spirits and building them up. But sometimes we become selfish and use our gifts in the wrong way. We aren’t careful to use them in context because it takes too much effort. We don’t want to practice self-control so we let loose and it ends up hurting people. 

With every gift you have the choice to use it for good or for evil. You need to practice your gift properly so that you can give energy and joy to people instead of sucking it out of them.”

Mikayla had some heavy stuff to take in. The rest of the ride home was quiet.

When we got home I pulled Mikayla aside. We sat on her bed as I addressed something I thought she would like to hear.

As I started out I realized this is something she would have never expected to hear…

“Did you know I’m jealous of you sometimes?”

She looked at me wide eyed and awed. “Why?”

“Well,” I thought a little bit, framing my thoughts so they could fit words. “You know how mom always tells people that you are full of life? She’s right. You are bursting at the brim with your love of living. You always jump into things with joy and fearlessness, and I’ve always been a bit jealous of that. I’m too self-conscience sometimes and I let my worry of other people’s opinions pollute my want to be adventurous.

“What I said in the car is true, Mikayla. Your spirit really is a gift from God. Your joy is contagious – like your laugh. You love to laugh and it makes people around you crack up a bit at the sound of the wonder in it. You have a gift for lifting people’s spirits and making them smile. And when you want to you can really be a wonderful blessing when you contain your energy with a sweet and loving attitude.

“It takes work, I get it. But you can do it if you want to. And I want you to try.”

She nodded. “I’m a bit jealous of you too, sometimes.

“You’re so nice and so good at art. I always want to copy you because you’re so creative and everybody loves you.”

I smiled. Crazy isn’t it? We both have crazy gifts of God’s grace, and yet are unsatisfied because we wish to have it all.

I chuckled at the circumstance. How both sister’s are a little jealous of the other one.

I think admitting that brought us a little closer that night. Admitting that we see so much good in the other person and that we aren’t perfect ourselves.

We can be thankful for the gifts we have and be supportive of those who have the gifts we wish we had.

The fact is, when we recognize something good in somebody else we really learn to love them more. We see their good and rejoice in it. Our jealousy helps us do that sometimes.

Jealousy being the good kind of course, not the soul spoiling, love quenching kind. But the kind that helps us admit in humility that we really are lousy wanna-bes, and sometimes the best thing to do is build up each other instead of just ourselves.

That’s really what the body of Christ needs to look like. 

And that’s really what family needs to look like, too. 

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

 

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