*Quick Reminder that I’ll be participating in a Night of Prayer at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, tomorrow, Tuesday Feb 21 at 7 p.m. I would love to see you there for this special time of reflection on prayer as we head into the Lent season.
As we continue our series of Pray A to Z Stories (catch up on all the stories here) focusing on topics in the newly released Pray A to Z book, artist and writer Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins shares about jealousy. It’s an all-too familiar scenario that I know I can relate to.
And after you read her story, be sure to visit Elizabeth on her site to enter a giveaway for a copy of Pray A to Z.
I sat at my kitchen table, typing on my computer, steadily moving my fingers over the keys. This particular day my work was not going smoothly. My ideas were unfocused and ineffective. I looked at the cup of coffee sitting next to me. Its smell was warm and inviting, but I was restless. In my frustration I took a break from writing and opened up my browser.
I knew better. But as I jumped off task and looked to see what was going on in the world, a surge of excitement flooded through me. I was curious to see what I was missing out on. I was frustrated, and unconsciously, I was looking for answers to my frustration in the lives of others.
[tweetherder]Jealousy is a silent thief, stealing happiness and joy. #PrayAtoZ[/tweetherder]
I didn’t have to search for long. There it was, the glorious life of a friend, in all the wonder of her vacation. She sat on her perch, a blanket of sand, the ocean stretching out in front of her. I imagined the cold glass she was holding. Condensation dripping slowly down the side. I could smell the sunscreen, taste the salty air, and feel the warmth of the sun soaking into her body.
As I imagined the scene, something inside my heart ached. I wanted so badly to be sitting on a beach somewhere without a care in the world. I wanted an escape from being me.
“It must be nice.”
I mumbled to myself, and then immediately felt ashamed for my words. This was not what a good person feels. This is not what a good person does. I felt envious. I felt jealous. On top of that, I felt shame for feeling the way I felt.
[tweetherder]I felt envious and jealous. And I felt shame for how I felt. @elizabethivy #PrayAtoZ[/tweetherder]
I closed my computer and sat quiet for a moment. To my right was the refrigerator. On it, held with tiny magnetic plastic alphabet letters, was the rotating art gallery of my children. I looked at the colors. Yellow, pink, green, and blue. I pondered the mark-making. The tangled lines were slow, sensitive, and expressive. Their drawings were telling me a story. They whispered to me the wonder of being a five and seven-year-old.
Before my children were born, I traveled extensively for work. I was gone, sometimes for weeks at a time, and I loved experiencing new and exciting places. If I am honest, I used my job to fund my self-esteem. It made me feel important. After my children came I found that my job, and the commitment of travel it demanded, would be impossible if I wanted full engagement in my young children’s lives. My husband and I decided to move from a two paycheck household, to a one-and-a-half. Because of this decision, we had not been able to afford a vacation in some time. Almost eight years into this lifestyle, I was starting to have second thoughts. If I was honest, I was feeling bitter about what I had sacrificed. But somehow, sitting in my kitchen, closely observing my children’s drawings, I was able to connect to my love for them. This love was so great, it pulled me into the present moment.
In that moment I was able to put my feelings into words. Those words started to form questions. Deep down, what I wanted to know was this,
“Is this world a place of scarcity?”
“Is warmth and rest only for an elite few?”
“Or is there abundance?”
“Is there shalom for us all?”
Then I dug deeper, into the most subterranean places of my being, and found the question that resided there was this,
“God, am I enough?”
Right there, in my kitchen, I turned that question around in my head like it was a diamond in my hand. I wondered if it had a lesson for me.
Sitting there, I started to get chills. Right next to the dated faux granite countertop and now cold cup of coffee. Despite my resistance, and a heart steeped in jealousy and bitterness, a rush of love spilled into my heart.
I can’t tell you that my emotions have gotten easier, or that I am a Jedi master of feeling one with my Creator. I can’t say that my feelings of jealousy and bitterness have been resolved overnight. I am learning that when I am vulnerable, I am matched with a realization of how much I am loved by God. This opens me up to being more empathetic and caring towards others. As it turns out, the spiritual commitment of being a Christ follower is teaching me to be more authentic and real. The lesson of being here, now, and present is making me more resilient. Not perfect, but on my path to being who I was made to be, and not someone else.
[tweetherder]When I realize how much I am loved by God, I can be more empathetic and caring with others. @elizabethivy[/tweetherder]
*Remember to go visit Elizabeth’s site to enter a giveaway for Pray A to Z!
Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins is a speaker, writer, and artist. She speaks on the importance of the artist’s voice, and provides workshops and lectures on how to cultivate individual expression as a way of being fully present in daily life. She holds an MFA in Painting, and currently is an Adjunct Professor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI. Elizabeth’s artwork has been exhibited regionally and nationally, including exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. She writes about creativity, cultivating authenticity, relationships, and spirituality. Her story, “Where I Fell in Love,” was recently featured on the Story Gathering Podcast, and she is a contributor to the on-line publication Off The Page. She is a wife to the dashing and strong Bradford, and stepmother of one, and mother of two naughty and smart children.
You can find her at www.elizabethivy.com and @elizabethivy (twitter) @elizabethivyhawkins (instagram)