It seems, after all, that I'm rather an envious person.

No, not that people envy me. I envy them.

And suddenly I'm discovering what kind of fabulous excuse envy is.

Probably the easiest story to tell is of my wedding cake. Through no fault of anyone, I ended up with an Albertsons special. There was a lady who had done cakes in the past for cheap as long as she could put her card out and advertise. The person in charge of the cake had this all figured out and then at the last minute the lady pulled out. The person in charge had to scramble and find something that would work.

So my cake was a small, two tiered wonder. My aunt, who did my flowers, had made a couple of extra bouquets just in case and they went on the cake. They were bigger than the cake. I'm sure she fixed it and I'm sure it was fine, but my initial impression is the one that sticks with me.


I know, also, that it tasted bad--or at least very store-bought-from-Albertsons. My brothers kindly informed me that they threw the leftovers away while we were on our honeymoon.

Augh! It tasted bad and it didn't look good.

(So I just went and looked at some pictures to see if my initial impression was wrong. I can't find any good ones. The good ones are all scrapbooked and in my mil's attic. I need to get those down. But I could see the very top in one of the pictures I have here and the flowers stick out over the top of the cake. I didn't remember incorrectly.)

So I was rather disappointed in my cake.

A couple of years later my sister got married. She paid a friend who did wedding cakes for a living $500.00 to do a cake for her. When the friend showed up to put the cake together, she walked in with a 7 layer cake with hundreds of beautiful frosting flowers. It was huge and beautiful and worth well more than the $500.00 my sister paid for it (probably more along the lines of the 3-5 thousand variety). It turns out that this friend had broken her wrist recently and used my sister's cake as therapy.

And the seed of my discontent was planted.

I've spent the last almost 15 years wishing my wedding reception could have been different. A better cake, a dinner and dancing, more people, etc. . . .

That, my friends, is absurd.

Hello Eowyn!?! It's not like you can go back and change it.

As I wrote my morning pages this morning, this little flaw of mine sort-of slapped me in the face.

In a "You're using this as an excuse" sort of fashion.

If I'm envious of someone who has something that I want--say a beautiful house--then I don't have to do anything in it. Envy is rooted in the fear of "I never could have that even if I really wanted to so I won't even worry about it--I'll just hate her for having it."

I'm envious of that violinist. I know I will never be as good as they. So why bother?
I'm envious of that clean house. I know I will never be able to keep my house that clean. So why bother?
I'm envious of that writer. I will never be able to write something like that. So why bother?

Do you see? Do you see this convenient excuse that envy--rooted in fear--becomes? Envy is self-deprecating and self-limiting.

After having that conversation I had recently about how I tend to try and figure out how not to fail instead of how to succeed, I've been contemplating how to shift my mind in to the how-to-succeed direction.

I've just found one of the answers. Stop envying what other people have and get busy and make what you want to have happen happen. Believe that you can make it happen.

And try, dagnabbit!

Scripture of the week: Hebrews 11:6 But without afaith it is impossible to please him: for he that bcometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a crewarder of them that ddiligently eseek him.

I was stunned to see in this verse that God not only wants our faith in His Son, but that He also wants us to believe that He will reward us. Somehow I missed that somewhere. But I'm glad to know it now.
10 Responses
  1. Emily Says:

    Love this post, my mom used to always tell us, 'you sail your own ship, you control your destiny', the older I got/get, the more I am realizing there are only so many things that are in my control, the rest I have to let go. It's a hard lesson I am learning, but in so many ways, I am trying to sail that ship well, and hope I am doing it.
    Random thoughts, sorry...

  2. Melanie J Says:

    My envy is rooted in something different. It's more like inadequacy because I only feel envy when I'm comparing myself to someone else and think I'm coming up short, which is lame. It shifts the focus to my shortcomings and not my strengths to do that, so I really try not to get caught up in it. But it's hard sometimes. Because my inadequacies are many and big. :)

  3. Brilliant post, my lovely. You're one of the few people I know who does not confuse envy with jealousy.

  4. Kazzy Says:

    If I could redo my reception I would kick the string quartet to the curb and have a dance band. :)

    You are enviable yourself!

  5. charrette Says:

    I love your ability to single that out and turn it around. (Very Kim of you, actually.) :)

    And I love the scripture...with the hidden reward.

  6. L.T. Elliot Says:

    (Shhh. I'm not here.)

    You always manage to find the words buried inside of me and give them light without making it hurt. Thank you for being brave enough to say it so I can try and be brave enough to do it. *hugs*

  7. Kimberly Says:

    Pure. Genius. Truly.

    I do the same. I have this mental image of what I want and I convince myself I can't have it so I don't bother to try. Thank you SO much for putting this so beautifully into words. It helps.

  8. EEEEMommy Says:

    Figuring out the root sin issues is so key to overcoming! When we recognize sin for what it is, we can repent and face it head on rather than allow it to overcome us. This post is so insightful and will keep me pondering how I fall into this same trap.
    You quoted such a precious verse. Hebrews is such an encouraging book to me! May we keep diligently seeking HIM!! He is so faithful!

  9. EEEEMommy Says:

    Oh and my wedding reception was a flop, and my cake tasted horrible too. And I dealt with serious envy issues over it for a long time!! Truly!

  10. Thanks for the lesson. Envy, jealousy, coveting ... whatever you want to call it. Yeah, I need to work on it.