Am I prepared to follow my own advice?

This summer our fayellow carmily was introduced to the Skittle Game – think slug bug without the slugging and using yellow cars instead of VW Beetles. It has been a huge family win. In fact, if you asked me to make a list of five words that encapsulate the summer of 2015 in the Anderson family, ‘Skittle Game’ would be at the top. We have enjoyed this game so much that both my husband and I find ourselves playing it when we are alone in the car. (In case you are wanting to play in your family, taxis and school buses don’t count.)

The other day my two middle kids started arguing over who had called Skittle first. The disputing went on for a while and both, being strong-willed, weren’t close to giving in. I stayed out of the dispute for a while and then, starting to lose it, piped up and started parenting preaching to them. Before I knew it I heard myself say, “Come on, guys. Can’t we just be happy that the other one called Skittle? You should be happy when your sibling gets a point. We don’t want to be people who don’t want other people to succeed and get good things. We don’t want to be jealous or resentful people.”

There was no hallelujah moment, but they did get quiet. In the quietness, I became sobered and wondered to myself, do I follow my own advice? Am I happy when someone else gets good things? Am I happy when someone drives up in a new car? Am I excited when someone’s kid gets the lead in the school play? Am I happy when my co-worker gets selected to head up the biggest new account, the one I wanted?

I certainly hope so, but if I’m honest, at the deepest level, this is not always my immediate response. I don’t want to teach my kids things without applying them to my own life as well. Let me be clear, I think it is okay for my heart to be disappointed, but the question is – what do I do with it? My temptation to jealousy can come from a belief that I’m not getting what I deserve, that I’m missing out on something good that God should be giving me, or could be giving me. That’s not what I’m aware of in the moment but when I reflect on where my heart was, that’s often what’s down at the bottom.

When my heart feels the tug of resentment or jealousy, is precisely when I need to pray that my head will lead and my heart will catch up. I need my head to remind my heart the truth of the gospel – that I deserve nothing – that God has been generous to me in Christ with every spiritual blessing that I need – that everything I have is from God – that I am a whole lot better off than I ever deserved. I need to preach the gospel and apply it to the nitty-gritty of my life. That’s the day to day reality of believing the gospel and growing in my faith. That’s the gospel that matters for everything in life, including which one of us sees the yellow car first.

 

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