My daughter sat on my bed the other day with a notebook in hand and about 60 markers scattered before her. She was fully prepared to draw the heartfelt pictures that she is so good at drawing while waiting for me to finish up some work on the computer.
As she began her project, she caught a glimpse of my secret stash of markers in the drawer that holds my own notebooks and journals. Just as I have a secret stash of chocolate, I’ve taken to hiding away a variety of my very own writing utensils. Stashing them in a place where I know I will be able to find them. Where they are not within easy reach of the children who will either destroy them or lose them.
I explained to my daughter that those were my special markers that I don’t share with anyone, just like she has special markers that she doesn’t share with her brother.
But, she couldn’t take her eyes off them. Or her mind for that matter.
The whining began. The tears started to blur the the lines of her notebook paper. She threw her markers on the floor and refused to color. I gently explained that she had dozens of beautiful markers to color with, far more than the handful of markers I had. I encouraged her to enjoy the gifts she had been given (she had received the markers for Christmas) instead of comparing them to what I had.
Well, that didn’t go over very well and she curled up into a ball and sobbed.
I had something that she didn’t which caused her to miss the beauty of what was right in front of her.
The jealousy that consumed her had caused her to miss the joy in her own blessings. She had gotten caught in the trap of believing that life would be better if she just had that one thing.
And don’t I fall into that same trap as an adult?
I foolishly believe that I would truly be happy if only I had…
A prettier house.
A “real” job.
A more romantic spouse.
The ability to fit into smaller jeans.
An extra digit on my bank account balance.
And the list goes on.
I notice those things that others have and suddenly what I’ve been given isn’t enough. And when I am trapped in the lies that only envy can tell, I miss out on the freedom of gratitude and joy.
The joy that is found in:
Children who look me in the eyes each day and want nothing more than me.
A house filled with laughter as we play Twister and tag. A house where I tuck my babies safely into bed each night.
The job of motherhood in which I have been chosen to wipe the tears, bandage the knees, cook the meals, and clean up after the children who love me dearly, even when I don’t deserve it.
The spouse who asks for so little, but gives so much. Time. Effort. Commitment. Affection.
The body that doesn’t fit into those jeans, but that has birthed two children that I never want to live without.
The balance in the bank account that is enough for groceries, gas, and maybe even a stop at Chick-Fil-A.
When I keep my eyes on my own blessings instead of glancing at the blessings of others, I see that I’ve been given more than enough. And there is plenty of joy in that realization.