The crocus sprung up this past weekend while I was away. When I’d packed up the car Thursday morning I’d seen their tips peeking up, all green with promise. Sunday morning when I returned, in my rush out the door to go to church I saw them–blooming buttery soft against the dry, gray mulch. They are the one redeeming quality of our otherwise neglected front beds.
Our flower beds are not what I’d call beautiful. I’ve moaned for years about the various plants set deep in the soil there, right in front of the house. And Every spring as I clip and bag and mulch these overgrown shrubs, I wrestle envy over those perfectly groomed beds I see in the glossy gardening magazines.
But the truth is, when I could be working in the yard, I choose to write. When the house is quiet in the middle of the day for 2 short hours, I don’t run for my rake and trowel. I clamor instead, to my desk, to this space–to write. And so the front beds have looked that way for the 7 years we’ve lived here. I grumble about them, but all the while resist the work of making a change.
Today, I read of another writer wrestling envy over the gifts of others and I immediately thought about my own green seasons, and how in the world I have been able to lay that down enough to be truly content.
There are a thousand other writers out there whose ability to weave words can easily be declared superior to my own wordsmithing. Sometimes, this fact has been paralyzing. I have nearly drowned in the waves of discontent and jealousy. When this happened recently, I prayed for deliverance from this unhealthy pattern–and God did bring me through it.
What He told me was simply, do the work–get about the tasks I’ve called you to.
It’s so obvious and yet I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see it, because envy is a malignant tumor over the eyes of the heart.
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30 NIV)
Beat it back, friends. Get about your business and do the hard work. Admire those who are gifted, encourage them in their own art, and get on with yours. You’ve no doubt been called to a specific task in this season. Serve the Lord faithfully. Your unique gift is needed–your qualifier is Christ.
Set your eyes steadily upon the Lord.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV)
*edited from the archives