Why I Love

I will fully admit. –Since I love, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Some may say it is foolish to love so hard, and I understand where they are coming from, but , from my understanding, that is the power of true love.  Love goes all out for someone.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (KJV): [Love] beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (bold italics emphasis mine). Here is why I strive to love so hard:

1.Because of God’s love for me—God has been actively orchestrating my life since the beginning of time! Even when I wanted to give up on myself and my life because of the difficulties I have I had to endure in my life, I firmly believe God has never given up on me. He loved me even when I didn’t feel good enough for anyone and had a self-pity party.  He has showered me blessings way beyond my comprehension and my merit!  He has shown me care and compassion, even when I have forgotten His goodness and God Himself.  That is true love!  That is why I strive every day to love God, through loving others. Yes, I may fail at loving others at times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get up and try again.  With God’s love, there is always hope for anyone, even me.

2. Because of my life’s purpose—One of my life’s purposes is to love others as God has loved me. I want to share this great love with others because I can believe true love can change the world for the better.  I found that when I want to give up on loving someone, I feel depressed and even suicidal at times! That is because if I refuse to love others, all other things that I do are fruitless and meaningless.  It even says that in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-4 (KJV), where charity equals love:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

3.Because it gives joy—I strive to love others because it not only gives me great joy, but because the joy in love and being loved is contagious! I find when I strive to love others the way God has loved me, it brings great joy to everyone involved. For instance, during the Christmas season/holidays at work, I made it a point to give every salaried member of management a Christmas card to let them know, in essence, that their hard work and dedication to our company does not go unnoticed.  All the managers seemed appreciative and joyful upon receiving the cards.  It also gave me joy to be able to make the managers feel loved and appreciated.  When I have the difficult task of loving someone that I’m either upset with or that I don’t particularly like, and I do, it’s like a burden is lifted off me.  However, when I do love these people, I don’t only feel better about myself, but I often feel like there is hope for restoration and healing in our relationships.

4. Because it is better than the alternative.—Today, as I write this, I am deeply troubled and saddened by the hatred and anger in this world, as I hear of another mass shooting in my country. However, today is also Valentine’s Day, a day that we are all supposed to love and care for each other.  Over and over again, hatred always creates destruction and dissension.  As hard as it is to love certain people, we must be diligent in at least attempting to be kind and love others.  Don’t rely on feelings alone to love someone; otherwise, we may fall woefully short.  However, love because your very life and your very legacy depend on it!

This is why I strive to love others every day. Yes, there are times when I fall woefully short of where I should be in loving others, but even in times when we fall short; we must not give up on love.  When we give up on love, we lose our lives, both spiritually and emotionally.  However, when we do love, we can turn the world upside down for its good and preservation.

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I’m thankful for (a list)

The following list is inspired by the List that Ann Voskamp started, and also the list that my former pastor started. You can view my former pastor’s blog at: http://chosenrebel.me.

I’m thankful for… (started 12/13/2011)

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. What Jesus did for me on the cross
  5. The resurrection of Jesus
  6. Mild winter (Note on 2/9/2018—NOT mild today! LOL, but this was on 12/13/2011!)
  7. The Word of God
  8. A nurse in the clinic I volunteer at ( items 1-8, written on 12/13/2011).
  9. 90% Christmas sale at Target (because I got a lot of good deals!) (written on 1/6/2012)
  10. A sunny, warm January day (1/6/2012)
  11. Good reads (1/6/2012)
  12. God’s mercy ( written on 2/6/2012)
  13. Good songs (1/20/2012)
  14. Knitting teachers (1/20/2012)
  15. Someone at my church teaching me how to do a French knot in cross-stitching ( written on 2/6/2012)
  16. Hope (2/6/2012)
  17. That God gives new life ( written on 2/11/2012)
  18. All my needs are met (2/11/2012)
  19. People that inspire me to be more and more like Christ (True today –2/2018 as well!) (2/11/2012)
  20. That my appendicitis was found (5/5/2012) before my appendix ruptured! (written 5/31/2012)
  21. That I am almost completely healed from my appendix operation (5/31/2012)
  22. That I have a good support system as of now (5/31/2012) (true today—2/2018 as well!)
  23. A bible study/small group/ community group to be a part of (written 10/9/2012)
  24. My dad and his help today (10/9/2012)
  25. Energy to do things (10/9/2012)
  26. Writing skills ( written on 11/18/12)
  27. Help from a friend at church (11/18/12)
  28. Pastor Frank and his sermon on Ruth (11/18/12)
  29. Another warm January day ( written 1/11/13)
  30. Stephanie’s encouragement (1/11/12)
  31. Time with God (1/11/12)
  32. God’s grace in my life (1/11/12)
  33. Thoughtful and generous family and friends ( written on 2/27/2013)
  34. A good and enjoyable birthday party on 2/2013 (2/27/2013)
  35. That it wasn’t snowing on my birthday (2/27/2013)
  36. That my mom knows how to manage money well (2/27/2013)
  37. Going shopping with friends at Half Price Books (written on 3/17/2013)
  38. My brother making tacos for me (3/17/2013)
  39. My brother in general (3/17/2013)
  40. Pastor Frank’s patience with me (3/17/2013)
  41. Laughter (3/17/2013)
  42. Pastor Frank’s reading guide (6/2/2013)
  43. Humor (6/2/2013)
  44. That my friend was OK after being in an accident (6/2/2013)
  45. A new job (that hopefully will last!) ( written on 7/9/2013)
  46. A good vacation (7/9/2013)
  47. God’s faithfulness to me (7/9/2013)
  48. A dream as a teaching tool for me (written 8/17/2013)
  49. Strength (8/17/2013)
  50. A new day (8/17/2013)
  51. Good friends that care ( written on 2/9/2014) (Still true today—2/2018!)
  52. A convicting sermon (2/9/2014)
  53. A sunny day (2/9/2014)
  54. Great prayer warriors (written on 2/28/2014)
  55. Pay raise at my job (written 2/28/2014)
  56. That someone I know is out of the hospital (2/28/2014)
  57. Time with my friends at Olive Garden celebrating my birthday (written on 2/28/2014)
  58. The IF: Gathering last weekend (written on 2/13/2015)
  59. That my dad brought Chinese food (2/13/2015)
  60. That God is with us now even at our darkest (2/13/2015)
  61. That there is an alternative romantic movie for those that don’t like Fifty Shades series, called “Old Fashioned” (written 3/1/2016)
  62. Good friends who love me to celebrate my birthday with (3/1/2016)
  63. The love jar from my friend E. (3/1/2016)
  64. Good food from one of my favorite restaurants (3/1/2016)
  65. That God healed me out of my stomach issues that was bad last week (3/1/2016)
  66. Good times with family (written on 7/12/2016)
  67. A day of rest from work (7/12/2016)
  68. A job (my current job—note made 2/2018) (7/12/2016)
  69. God’s hand working through my work relationships (7/12/2016)
  70. A bright, sunny day (7/12/2016)
  71. My friend K and her friendship (written 7/22/2016)
  72. Pens that work (7/22/2016)
  73. A full time job (at my current job—as of 9/2016) written on 3/29/2017
  74. My co-worker’s jokes (3/29/2017)
  75. Sunshine (3/29/2017)
  76. Joy and laughter (3/29/2017)
  77. A God who cares and is always there for me (3/29/2017)
  78. Good temperatures (written on 4/18/2017)
  79. A chance to relax (day off work) (4/18/2017)
  80. Good memories (4/18/2017)
  81. Being alive! (written on 6/14/2017)
  82. A good church (6/14/2017)
  83. Fruit cocktail on a hot day (6/14/2017)
  84. My brother’s cat (written on 11/19/2017)
  85. Getting to talk to my brother on Skype (11/19/2017)
  86. A good sermon by my current pastor (11/19/2017)
  87. Staying in my department (11/19/2017)
  88. My current manager I (11/19/2017)
  89. A great sermon today by my current pastor (written on 1/14/2018)
  90. Bright sunshine on a cold day (1/14/2018)
  91. Heat in our house on a cold day (1/14/2018)
  92. Warmer temperatures (written on 1/24/2018)
  93. Time for reconciliation (1/24/2018)
  94. Help from co-workers yesterday (1/24/2018)
  95. My manager Chris * (Not his real name) talking me out of staying at work longer last night because he cared about my safety in the snowstorm (written 2/9/2018)
  96. That I’m not out on the road driving with this monster snowstorm (2/9/2018)
  97. Answered prayers for a friend who is very sick. (2/9/2018)
  98. More time to get things done around the house (2/9/2018)

These are the things that I’ve compiled so far (there is so much more—I’m sure!) that I’m thankful for. You can start a list like mine today and put next to each item you are thankful for, the date when the good thing occurred (that you are thankful for) and look to this list when you feel discouraged or upset. See how much you have been brought out of and how many blessings have filled your life. If I made a more comprehensive thanksgiving list, there would be more things than papers and time to fill it! May you be encouraged today!

On Conquering Hate

All around me, I see and hear people arguing and fighting with each other. We even hear of it among our own government (if you live in the U.S, though it does happen in other countries too)! People’s souls, around us, are being wounded and degraded at an alarming rate.  It’s everywhere—the curse of hatred.

Some people have given up the fight against hatred. They aren’t used to anything different.  They have either succumbed to it themselves, or have given up trying to change the world for the better. I am telling you, though, that one day when everything is made right again with this world, hate will be defeated and conquered. Love will rise again!

In the meantime, we must not give up fighting against all forms of hatred, big and small. The change starts with us, in our own souls and our own lives. Here is what I learned about conquering hatred:

  1. Aim for kindness.—Someone once said, “Be kind. Everyone around you is fighting a harder battle.” How true that often is. We sometimes don’t even know what our own family members are thinking or feeling!  How much less do we know about the inner lives of our friends and acquaintances, and the people in our community that serve us?  This is why we should aim for kindness always.  Sometimes, a person may be in a bad mood and (wrongly) take it out on us because he or she may not know another, more appropriate way of expressing how they feel, but we still must not hurt them back, though, we often do. We can make a greater, more positive difference if we showed compassion to our fellow human beings even when they aren’t treating us as we think they should.

We can aim for kindness in these two ways:

  • We can be kind in our attitudes and words: In Proverbs 23: 7, of the Bible, it says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” which means that you are what you think.  So, when we strive to think kind thoughts about others, we will naturally want what is best for them and be encouraging to them by affirming their worth and their good qualities.  However, if we have negative, hateful thoughts about others, our words and actions will also indicate that.  We also can be kind in our attitudes when it is more difficult to do so.  For instance, if you have to do what you think is a “thankless” task at work, instead of grumbling and complaining to others about the job you have to do, you can strive to do it with heart and with joy, knowing that you are serving for a higher purpose.
  • We can be kind in our actions: In my job (retail), ways I aim for kindness are, for example, when a customer is carrying a lot of things in their hands, I always offer to get them a shopping cart. This way they don’t have to carry everything in their hands and have to put it somewhere, and have the hassle of then getting a cart for themselves. I also strive to go the extra mile to look for something for a customer, so they can find what they need for their lives.  Sometimes, I help the custodians clean a messy area in the break room, not so I get recognized, but so the custodians do not have to be overwhelmed and burdened by so much work. I also do it as a way to thank them for the job they do for us.  I also strive to smile and maintain a joyful attitude.  Outside work, one may be kind in our actions by visiting a sick friend or neighbor in the hospital, feeding the homeless, or even helping a family member with a tough task before they even ask us to do said thing.

2. Forgive others quickly.—When someone hurts you, I would recommend not harboring bitterness and/or anger towards that person for more than a week because after that this negative spirit starts poisoning your soul and those around you. When I didn’t follow this directive in the past, I found that a negative and jaded spirit did start to form inside me. Not only that, but this anger and bitterness stunted my spiritual growth and kept me from growing closer to God and becoming the person He (and I) wanted me to be.  See Cultivating Peace After Conflict post for more information on resolving conflicts quickly and peaceably.

 

Why do more people not resolve their bitterness more quickly? I think it has to do with our misconceptions about what forgiveness really means. Here is what I learned about what forgiveness is and isn’t:

  • Forgiveness is not excusing the offender’s actions.
  • Forgiveness does not require amnesia of what had happened to you.
  • Forgiveness does not require reunion.
  • Forgiveness is letting God deal with the justice, and trusting Him to deal with the offender, rather than you being the judge and jury.
  • Forgiveness is ridding yourself of your hate, bitterness, resentment and anger towards the offender for your sake, so you can be at peace.
  • Forgiveness should be done also for your sake, not just the offender’s.

3. Stay away from all forms of hate.—Another thing we can do to conquer hatred in our lives, is to make sure we are not influenced to hate from outside sources, whether it be media, other people, or in other ways.

 

First of all, I would recommend keeping positive company. This means limiting your time with people who are negative influences on you or who influence you to hate other people.  Also, limit contact with people who constantly cut you or others down.  Instead, spend time with people who love others and who are a joyful and positive influence on your life.

 

Second of all, I would not go to websites, or read literature, listen to music, or watch anything promoting the hatred or the devaluation of other people.  For instance, it is one thing to read hateful literature because you are required to for a research project, but do not willingly read hateful literature for your own entertainment or curiosity.  Even if you are required to read something controversial or hateful  for a school project, be careful you are not being influenced by any hateful ideas or beliefs that the author may have.

 

Lastly, when you see people hate each other or speak hateful or malicious words to another, lovingly, but firmly, call them out on it. Counter their hateful words, but do not get sucked into hating them yourself!

 

If we all (me included) followed these three main directives in conquering hate in our lives, I believe we would be much better as a society.  As Ghandi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Let’s be that change today, and love others lavishly and wholeheartedly!

 

Why I Believe in Miracles

Because miracles are rare and spectacular displays of divine affection and because life can be very difficult for many people, there are some that no longer believe in miracles. According to the Oxford-English dictionary, a miracle is, “a remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.” (source: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/miracle) However, I personally believe in miracles mainly for these three reasons:

  • Miracles cultivate hope in my life.
  • Because the demonstration of miracles by God in my life has saved me on more than one occasion.
  • Because God’s miracles have restored several of my relationships with others.

Often miracles, whether in literature or in people’s lives, happen when it seems like hope has run out. This has certainly been the case with me.  I believe the miracle of me becoming a Christian started when hope seemed to run out for me. I was sixteen years old and in high school. The teenage years are a turbulent time for many people, and I was no exception.  I just got out of coping with a couple of serious mental health issues, and I felt like I had no one I could really turn to or trust.  I had few, if any, friends and my course load at school was challenging. To top the stressors off, I encountered a teacher who had the reputation of being a bully and a verbal abuser.  I even flirted with the idea of suicide. However, after a friend of mine invited me to a bible study and I started to search for answers, God took a hold of my life, a few months later.

About fifteen years later, God saved my life again, but this time physically. (For more details on this miracle, see this post. ) It started when I was having pains in my side at work. My parents and I thought it was just a hernia or a muscle pull, so I tried all the over-the-counter medications we had.  However, when I started throwing up blood, we knew something was terribly wrong. Long story short, I went to the ER, and the doctors treating me discovered that my gall bladder was terribly inflamed and twice the size it should have been. I learned later that I could have very well died from this if I still had not listened to that voice inside after I had thrown up the blood! My gall bladder was then taken out just in time before it burst and caused any real damage.

About a week ago today, God saved my life yet again! I was driving to church, minding my own business. It was dark, but the street lights were on. I had the right-of-way, but a driver, not even seeing or caring about their surroundings, cuts in front of me to the point of almost colliding with me. Luckily, my instincts kick in, and I stop just in time to avoid colliding with the driver, as he or she just whizzes away.  I felt startled, but was very grateful that I was able to avoid a serious accident!

Some of the miracles, that I believe God has worked in my life, have also caused my once-broken relationships with certain others to be restored.  I can think of some people in particular where I did not think the relationships could be restored. I thought the best it would be is that we would quietly  tolerate each other and/or avoid each other as much as possible. I really thought (wrongly) that these people would ruin my life. However, because of the support of God, my family, pastors, and many of my friends at church and many prayers, the people who I have had problems with, have not only failed to ruin my life, but they have turned out to be one of my greatest blessings in my life thus far!  God also worked in my heart and life to let go of (i.e  forgive) the hurts that I held against them and really love them even more than myself.

If I had to list every little miracle God displayed in my life, I would be writing forever. However, these are some of the major ones in my life. This is why I believe in miracles.  Yes, life has been difficult, at times, for me, but then there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. That is when miracles can happen. What miracles happened in your life? Why do you or do you not believe in miracles? Please discuss in the comments.

What’s In a Name?

About 99.9% of the people that I have met have this in common, that identifies them as a human being, full of soul and value.  It is more precious than gold, silver, or platinum, or any other inanimate object. Whereas most inanimate objects remain nameless and soulless, each human being that I have ever met, that has walked on the face of this earth, has . . . a name!

Behind each name, there is a meaning, whether good, bad, or even humorous.  Names were important in ancient cultures, because they reflected the society and the environment that person was born into at the time, or their unique personality trait or traits.

Now, I see that people are often named after family members or relatives, or they are named after something or someone that the parent or parents like or admire.  Some, wanting their new child’s name to be unique, opt for a name that is over-the –top or even silly.

Though I don’t have children, I do know how it feels to be both valued and devalued. If I were to have children, and wanted to pick the best name for him or her, I would follow these three criteria so he or she would know that they are loved and valued, at least in terms of naming them:

  1. Make sure the name has meaning to you.—Take the naming process seriously. For instance, do not name your new daughter “Apple” if you don’t like apples or are not interested in the fruit at all. Make sure the name has meaning to you, as a reminder to always value your child, so that he or she will know your deep love for him or her.
  2. Make sure the name is true to the values that you would like your child to espouse.—For instance, if you place a high value on honesty, it would not be advisable to name your new son “Jacob,” which means “supplanter” or “deceiver” in the Biblical Hebrew. If you would like your child to feel loved by you always, a good name for your son may be, for example, David, which means “beloved,” or if it is a daughter, Maria, which can mean “beloved” too.
  3. Make sure the name is something that you (and/or your significant other) will both like.—For instance, do not name your child “Broccoli” if you or your significant other hates broccoli.  (I personally would NEVER name my child Broccoli, under any circumstance, even though I do like broccoli,” but that was just a theoretical example.) I would also not name your child after your  (or your significant other’s) childhood bully, or a person in you(or your significant other’s) life that you don’t like or harbor angry or resentful feelings towards.

Your name

So many people in this world feel like they are just a number or a face in the crowd. One of my friends feels that he is being treated as if he were “expendable.”  Even though many people in society may treat you as if you were replaceable, please hear me out right now:  There is only one of you with your unique strands of DNA, with your unique first, middle, and last names, and with your set of experiences and life story.  No one can be exactly who you are, and contribute your specific blessing or blessings to this hurting world. No one!

Moreover, many of you have names with deep, spiritual meanings. Some of you may not even have thought to research the meaning of your name.  However, you may be surprised, or at least, blessed to know the meaning and the story of your name.

My name, Patricia, means “noble.”  Though I often fall short, I try to live up to my name every day!

A few other name meanings:

Boys:

David= “beloved”

Matthew=”gift of God”

Gregory=”watchman”

Girls:

Sarah=”princess”

Emily=”industrious”

Sophia=”holy wisdom” (Source: https://www.behindthename.com/name/sophia)

 

If your name is meaningful to you, I would try to live up to your name value. For instance, if you are an Emily, work hard in everything you do, and if you are a David, live like you are loved, because you most likely are. Know, also, that you have intrinsic infinite value, even if you don’t know the meaning of your name.

Everyone has a story and a name. Let’s treat everyone with dignity and value because everyone is unique, and everyone has a right to be named and counted as a full, loved human being.

Cultivating Peace After Conflict

We all want it in life. Some people may even crave it so much they just want to rest and get some zzzs.  Besides joy and love, it is a given that most, if not, all people want peace in their lives.  However, there are obstacles and conflicts that we often face in life, many of them with other people. Some of us may have even had long-standing conflicts with a person or persons that have caused us considerable stress in our lives. These conflicts may have led to a lack of peace in our lives.  This has certainly been the case in my past.  However, I have learned these following things about how to cultivate peace after having a conflict with someone:

Things One Should Never Do in Cultivating Peace After a Conflict:

  1. Make excuses and/or fake apologies.—A fake apology is a half-hearted attempt to deny or ignore your part in the conflict by “apologizing” using the words BUT and/or IF in it. Examples of this would be: a.) I know I upset you, but you are too sensitive. b) I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.  The first fake “apology” negates the apology by blaming the conflict on the other party.  The second fake “apology” does not acknowledge your part in the conflict at all.  Any so-called apology that blames the other person and, thus, does not own our part in the conflict, is made half-heartedly, or is done solely because someone told us we had to apologize (i.e  when parents force their children to apologize to each other when they have no desire), is a fake apology.
  2. Pretend everything is OK when it is NOT. –Another thing we should not do when desiring peace after a conflict is to go on pretending nothing happened. This often occurs when a party or parties do not want to properly deal with the conflict. For example, if you offended me and I am hurt, but the next day you act nice and loving to me again, as if the disagreement never happened. Moreover, you don’t apologize or even offer to make amends with me first. This never works, especially in major conflicts, because it invalidates the hurt feelings of the injured party or parties. It also stalls necessary changes and amends that will need to be made for true peace because the issues are never properly addressed.  This tactic is often used by abusers to maintain a sense of bait and control towards their victims, though certainly not all people who use this technique are abusers.
  3. Still have anger and bitterness in your heart.—When you want to cultivate peace after being in a conflict with someone, you should make sure you don’t have any bitterness or anger still in your heart. I believe forgiveness or at least a sense of “letting it go” is vital to cultivate true peace with someone you had a conflict with in the past. If you still have anger and bitterness in your heart, I would advise that you deal with those heart issues first, before trying to reconcile and/or forgive the person or persons involved in your conflict. When I had tried to “make up” with someone when I still held anger and resentment towards them in my heart, things would often get worse because these people would see through my façade and just dismiss me, making me even angrier than I was to begin with.  Make sure you are completely at peace with the conflict and the person that caused it before trying to make peace.

Things One Should Do To Cultivate Peace After a Conflict:

  1. Confess your part of the problem.—We should humbly confess our part of the problem even if we are not totally at fault. This does not mean “confessing” things that are not your fault, as in the case of abuse. However, this does mean confessing any negative attitudes, words, or behaviors, which you did out of your own will that contributed to the problem. This even means confessing our past anger and bitterness towards someone, if it had gotten to the point where we couldn’t even think of said person in any sort of positive way!
  2. Find ways to repair the damage you caused and/or solve the problem.—After a conflict with someone, we should strive to find ways to repair the damage we caused by making any necessary restitution to him or her. If they caused the conflict or you and they both caused the conflict equally, you should work with the other person to find a solution to the conflict that will benefit both people. One or both parties may need to compromise, meaning to give up some of their desires to reach a desired peaceful conclusion to the conflict.  Do what is right not only for your sake, but for the others involved in the conflict as well.
  3. Make right with the other party or parties in the conflict before the sun goes down, if at all possible. –This principle is derived from Ephesians 4:26, which basically says to “not let the sun go down upon your wrath.” (KJV) This means you don’t want to wait more than one day to resolve a conflict.—You should try to resolve conflict as soon as possible. This way, seeds of anger and bitterness cannot form.  When we wait more than several days to deal with conflict, the tension lingers and often intensifies into deep-seated anger and bitterness, which I have found to be harmful to, not only our spiritual and emotional health, but often to our physical health as well. Prolonged anger and bitterness poison both body and soul.  Don’t risk it. Strive to resolve issues with others today.
  4. Forgive the other party for their part in the conflict.—In order to forgive, we need to know what forgiveness is. For more detailed information on forgiveness, please read this post. Forgiveness is letting go of anger and bitterness in one’s soul and trusting the ultimate Judge for justice.  We should forgive the other party for both past and present hurts in order to be at peace with them and ourselves.  Forgiveness requires humility and selflessness, but will release a weight of bitterness and anger that was on you and will ultimately allow healing for all parties involved.

These are the things I learned about cultivating peace after a conflict.  If we consistently applied these principles, I believe that there would be more peace our world.  May we strive to be instruments of reconciliation and peace in an increasingly stressful and anxiety-laden world.

How To Combat Jealousy

Have you ever encountered that little green monster? I don’t mean the creatures that are supposedly lurking underneath children’s beds.—I am talking about the very real experience of jealousy. Jealousy, as defined by me, is wanting something that someone else has so badly you want the person who has said thing to lose what they have. It could be a job or promotion that you wanted, or a fancy car that someone you know has (but that you can’t afford), and anything and everything else that you could want, but don’t have.

I admit, I sometimes get jealous of certain people who got the job or promotion I wanted. A few of them, I feel, aren’t even qualified for the position! In the past, I have even gotten jealous of my brother because I had felt he had it “easier” in life than I did (Nothing could be further from the truth, by the way.), while I struggled through school and through life. However, God has shown me (and is continuing to show me) these things to help me combat jealousy and conquer the green-eyed monster once and for all!:

  1. God showed me what I call The-Grass-Is-Always-Greener-on-the-Other-Side principle: One of the things that I learned this past year is that everyone has a story! In the above examples (the job story and the story about my brother), I have learned that a.) the people getting the job that I wanted do not have a very easy task! If they do something major wrong or make too many mistakes, they may even get demoted! And I never knew the more personal issues that they may hide from the world. My brother has had to work hard too, to get where he is right now. He has had different struggles than me, but struggles all the same. What I am saying is, the people who you envy so much, may not even have the ideal lives that you had imagined! In fact, they probably have similar or even more difficult challenges to face than we ourselves do!
  2. You are placed where you need to be, with the abilities and gifts you were given: Another principle I learned is that maybe I didn’t get what the other person had because it wasn’t the right timing or right according to what “fit” me to get said thing at the time. For instance, I really wanted to work mornings as a department manager for about a year now.  However, I believe God revealed to me that He had better plans for me.  First of all, if I worked mornings even to train for said position now, I would probably be getting significantly less hours than I do now, even as a full time associate, because many of the hours are now being allotted mid-shift, when I work now.  Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to minister and help as many people as I do now.  Also, as a theoretical example, if you couldn’t afford to buy the nice car your neighbor had, and had to walk to school and/or work, it may seem like a hassle. You may really want to have your neighbor’s car and even have resentment against your neighbor because she won’t even let you near her car.  However, what if by walking to work and/or school with others in your neighborhood you are more able to develop friendships and a sense of community with your other neighbors? Nothing happens by accident. You are placed where and when you are for a reason. Strive not to waste it!
  3. Everyone is valuable, regardless of rank or position.: I believe that, in general, society is being plagued by what I call the rank-value principle. The rank-value principle, in my definition, is the belief that certain people who rank higher or who have more worldly power are more valuable than lower-ranking, or less-powerful people. However, without the “regular” or “lower-ranking” workers, the CEO at a company wouldn’t be able to run the company very effectively or , at the very least, wouldn’t be able to expand his or her business very much. Sure, CEOs of companies or even your boss or manager, may have more power than you, but that doesn’t make you of less intrinsic value than him or her. This is why, I believe, James of the Bible says in James 2, “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?,” in regards to this favoritism. What he is saying, is, in essence, that when you think that one person is more valuable than another based on a worldly-ranking system such as race, class, ranking in the company, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or other distinguishers, you are becoming judgmental and devaluing others. If we let each person know that they had infinite value because of how wonderfully they were created, he or she would not so passionately yearn or even desire what belongs to another.

These are some of the ways that God has shown me to combat jealousy. Sometimes I do struggle with jealousy, as much as anyone else. However, when I focus on these above things, any jealousy that I had, fades away. What are the things that you have learned that helped you combat jealousy personally? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.