Guys, you’re welcome to read today’s devotion, but since we’ve just passed Mother’s Day, I’d like to direct some thoughts toward my female readers.
Okay, ladies, by a show of hands, how many of you heard some reference to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 this weekend? Yes, I see those hands. And how many of you cringed a bit as the passage was read? Yeah, me too. Don’t get me wrong. I love God’s Word, and I know it is perfect, holy, and right in every way. It is full of encouragement and strength, but there’s just something about Proverbs 31 that tends to make me feel inferior and even downright lazy. Can I get an “Amen”?
Of course, it doesn’t help any that when I read it, I immediately think of a real-life example that seems to fit the virtuous woman in every way. I’m speaking of Joanna Gaines. For those who don’t recognize the name, she (along with her husband, Chip) is the star of the popular show, Fixer Upper. In addition to being a star, she is a mom of five who owns multiple businesses and seems to excel at anything she sets her hands to.
In her “spare time,” Joanna grows her own vegetables and herbs, helps out on the family farm, and bakes delicious treats for friends and family alike. Not only is she talented, but she’s beautiful too — the perfect hair, teeth, skin tone, and figure. To be honest, as much I as enjoy watching Fixer Upper, I tend to come away feeling a bit green. . .with envy.
Why do we ladies do that? Why do we insist on comparing ourselves to others? Don’t we realize that God made us who we are for a reason? Why is it so difficult for us to understand that we’re unique in our own way?
I wish I had answers to those questions, but I’m afraid I don’t. The truth is, I fall into the pit of envy more often than I can count, especially now that my health is holding me back in so many ways. I look at those around me who keep immaculate homes, cook gourmet meals, and raise their families, all while holding down a grueling job, and think What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be a better wife, housekeeper, cook, etc.? Then, I start to feel sorry for my dear husband, and before long, I conclude that if I feel like I’m letting him down as a helpmeet, he must believe the same about me (even though he has NEVER said or done anything to make me think that.)
It’s not Jason that causes the chaos in my thoughts and turns my self-pity into self-loathing. It’s envy. Envy is dangerous, and it is a powerful weapon in Satan’s arsenal. . .especially when dealing with us, ladies. Many, many verses in the Bible address envy, but this one grabs my attention every time:
Ouch! Envy doesn’t stop at making me feel like a loser. It progresses into bitterness, resentment, and so much more. It is the seed from which confusion and evil works grow. Envy leads people to do stupid things and to cause great havoc not just in their own lives, but in the lives of all those around them. It causes strife, heartache, and in the end, despite the progression, envy remains. Never satisfied. Never quenched. Instead, it grows bigger and bigger until we, too, are never satisfied. We want more. We want something different. We become so blinded to our strengths and blessings that all we can focus on is how we feel we’re lacking. And we carry that sense of “not enough” with us into all our relationships, creating a burden for those we love.
I’ll be the first to admit that stopping envy in its tracks is laborious. It’s so easy to allow those thoughts to creep in and take root, but we must be on guard and catch those nasty weeds before they take over the garden of our heart. One verse that helps me do that is found in my favorite book of the Bible.
Speaking this truth aloud sends the enemy and his weapon of envy fleeing in the opposite direction. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That is what God has to say about me, and God is never wrong. His works are marvelous, and I am one of His works; therefore, I must be marvelous.
Now, here comes the tricky part: my soul knows it. I struggle with that a bit, but repetition aids learning. So, I keep telling myself this truth as many times as it takes until it sinks in: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make junk. He doesn’t make worthless individuals. I am not lazy. I have a health condition, and that’s a different story entirely. I may not be able to do what others can do, but they have no idea how to be me either. Besides, I can only see what others want me to see. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Sure, their home may be immaculate, but is it full of joy? Which is more important? I have nothing to prove to anyone, even myself. God’s work is marvelous, and I am privileged to be His work. And He’s also promised He’s not done with me yet, so I can take comfort in knowing I’m a marvelous work in progress.
My dear lady friend, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful, marvelous, and unique. Don’t let envy steal your joy, strength, or peace. Don’t allow it to cause strife and division in your home and relationships. Stop it in its tracks by speaking God’s truth aloud. Use the Scripture above or find your own and take it to heart until your soul knows the truth—You are amazing!