Thursday, February 18, 2010

Preppy Envy and Preparing for Lent

As cute and catchy as the title "Preppy Envy" sounds, I'm about to let you all in on my own "little bit of crazy" and an area of my life that I really struggle with. Phew... here goes... I don't want to talk about this, but occasionally on this very blog there a moments where I must simply pour out my true heart. Not the fun lighthearted easy going preppyness that this blog normally tries to grasp, but the honest to goodness heart felt challenges that I struggle with because I am an imperfect person living in a broken world, and if there is any good in me, any beauty, any intelligence, any value it is by the very Grace of God. 

I struggle with envy. I don't envy everyone and everything. I envy one specific person, and that to a great extent. When I first started writing this post I began to list all of the things I envy about her, and lets just say the list was too long to read. Suffice it to say that when it comes to looks, family, financial stability, relationship, and home... she's got it all, like a martha stewart who looks like Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Yesterday after reading a brief article about it, I really became convicted of the envy in my life. Not just that I envy others, but that I want others to envy me. Which is very twisted when you think of it. I mean if I know how heart breaking, and empty, and hollow it feels to envy someone, why on earth would I want anyone else to feel that way because of me? I think I need to take this more seriously in my life, I mean it was envy that led to the crucifixion of Christ "For Pilate knew it was out of envy that they handed Jesus over to him." Matthew 27:18", so what a better time to focus on letting God grow me past this?  I read some interesting resources yesterday that were talking about how when we envy, we do so because we long for the blessing that God has given to someone else. I think for women in our culture it's hard, we're almost groomed to envy, to want someone else's figure, or hair, or clothes, or home life, or work life. It's almost like envy is part of our currency with one another. I also read a resource that was talking about how when we envy we compare each other to one another, instead of comparing ourselves to Christ. When I compare myself to Christ I realize that I will always fall sort, and I rely on Grace to cover my shame. But when I compare myself to someone else, I can create a false sense of hierarchy or security (I'm smarter than she is so I'll be more successful. Or I'm prettier than she is so I'll be happier in my relationships.) When I analyze these statements for what they are I realize how shallow and empty they are, but when I just let them linger in the dark of my sinful nature, I quickly believe that they are true and then I question my own worth, because there is always someone smarter or someone prettier or someone more successful. 

So for Lent, I'm hoping to get over envy. I'm not sure exactly what that will look like in my life, but I do know that it starts with being aware of when I am envying someone. I know that an important part of giving something up for Lent, is giving up something that isn't sinful, so I know envy in itself doesn't quite qualify. However, there are actions that I take that are on the outside harmless (shopping for clothes for an upcoming trip) but on the inside are wicked because they are aimed at inducing envy... so it will be those envy inducers that I will give up, and hopefully I will be able to name them as I find them. 

 I know what envy is keeping me from. It's keeping me from genuinely rejoicing when people close to me have wonderful things happen for them. For example take the US snow cross team, and reigning gold medalist Seth Wescott takes the gold again this year. His team mate Graham Watanabe, wasn't even in consideration for a medal. Seth comes across the finish line after winning, and he's all smiles and celebration, and then here comes Grant leaping over the barricade, jumping on Seth's back, grinning bigger and more excited than Seth, just bubbling over saying "You did it man, you did it." In all honesty were that me, I don't know that I could have even watched the finals. I would be green and sick to my stomach with envy. In that situation I want to be Graham, I want to be the person who is more excited than you are to see you succeed in life. I don't want to be me, someone who would probably have booked the earliest flight home, or at very least played sick so I could watch the finals all alone in my room. I've looked all over for a picture of Graham hugging on Seth, and can't find it anywhere, apparently I'm the only one who found that a poignant moment in sports... if anyone knows what I'm talking about and where to find a photo of it please let me know!


SouthernBelleJM said...

Oh, I didn't try to return it because of size. But I know what you mean by that. That's why I ordered the dress in both sizes from Dillard's to see my size. It's not available in my local store. I returned those dresses after figuring out which size I was so I could buy it on Ebay instead for cheaper. I am good buyer and fair. The line is about 3-4 inches about the hem and would be noticeable if I was sitting with my legs crossed. You'd be able to see it in the light. It was not mentioned in the listing at all.

thepreppyprincess said...

This is such a remarkable post, what an amazing undertaking for Lent. Good for you Miss Completely.

Sending you a smile,

AEOT said...

Elle, one of the BEST posts I have ever read. My favorite part is where you talked about how envy is us wishing that God would bestow that blessing upon us. I definitely have friends and situations I am envious of and I know it is exactly b/c I feel that I am missing out on that particular blessing from God. My envy has much less to do with weight, prettiness, cute clothes (though, seriously blogging does NOT help this- so many people seem to have SUCH unlimited budgets in the blogosphere) and more to do with being jealous of stay at home moms, vacations, and being part of certain "groups" (country clubs, a great couples bible study, etc). All this information is something I need to ponder for awhile and work through- I really, really appreciate you posting this. I do know that while I may be envious of others, there are things in my life that are enviable as well, and that I am blessed and do love my life. Good convo for me to have with the man upstairs tonight :)

Scientific Housewife said...

I struggle with envy as well. I have a best friend who makes more money than I do and buys every expensive thing she wants. I know she's in credit card debt but I still sometimes want those things. I just have to remind myself I am extremely lucky and you should too.

Whitney and the Preppy Puppy said...

What a heartfelt post. I applaud you for sharing this with all of us. xoxo

Bella Michelle said...

This is a great post! So glad I stumbled upon it.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! And what a good thing to give up for Lent. I've heard of a technique that might help. Every time you talk to someone, you wish them well with all your heart and mind. It helps me from not being judgmental... I bet it would help with envy, too.