Fingernails and Other Envies

I used to be envious of other people. Actually, I find myself still envious of people often. I just like to think I’ve improved.

I used to hate my fingernails. (Yeah, you read that right) The shape. The cuticles. Gosh, I would pick at my cuticles. It was such a self-conscious thing for me in school. I was always nervous someone was staring at my hands. I pined after the beautiful hands of my friends. (Yes, you really are reading this correctly.)

Sometimes I get those weird, aggravating thoughts in my head: Your _____ isn’t good enough. Look at what she has! Look at what they have! Look! Look! You just aren’t good enough!

These days my envy tends to fall around other people’s homes and just plain old stuff. And shoes. And occasionally my little fingernails.

Here’s my point: if I can get thrown off my path by my concern with my fingernails, why do I expect others to ever be perfect, if I am this imperfect? I can be sidetracked by the envy of everyone else and their stuff and fingernails, and it leaves me to know that I am not any better than anyone else. I am easily tripped up. I am not perfect. I do not have it all together.

And it should remind me:  it is okay. That all of the stuff and things and fingernail polish in the world will not make me happy. My joy does not come from accumulating stuff just because everyone else has it too. My joy comes from God, His sweet love, His devoted grace. My joy comes from knowing that I can come to Him just as I am. Imperfections and all. And He says, “My daughter. I love you. And those fingernails! I made those myself!”

He’s a God who never made a mistake. I don’t have to envy His love that He has for others. He’s got that same love for me.

3 thoughts on “Fingernails and Other Envies

  1. Janelle,
    I love reading your blog and hearing all the things God has been teaching you! He is preparing you to be a strong warrior, help (ezer in Hebrew) to all those around you!

    I’ve struggled with envy too. I tend to be envious of women who are better homemakers than I, who are better wives, than I, and who stay home with their families full-time.
    It’s funny, about two years ago I got to hear Beth Moore Live when she was in Fort Wayne and she stated there are two qualities that women tend to universally struggle with. I said them out loud before she did: “comparison and competition.”

    As much as I hate to stereotype people, this one was true. However, we can balance this truth with something I learned a long time ago: A weakness is just a strength in reverse. For example: If I really like to talk to people I might often be late to meetings or events because my talking prevented me from arriving on time. Or…if I often find myself in deep thought about the things of God, or the things that affect my family or friends, someone may cross my path unacknowledged and think me unfriendly.

    This knowledge has helped me to look at competition and comparison as the reverse of something. God has used my time in the working world to teach me about leadership, while my domestic skills remain average at best. Similarly, I think the opposite of the feminine trait of envy is the trait of making things beautiful, right, & harmonious. Those are traits that honor God’s image in us.

    It’s cool when we recognize how our strengths manifest into weaknesses if we are not prayerfully watchful. We can then let God take those things and redeem them for His glory.

    I see so much of that glory in you Janelle, and I’m so glad you are sharing it with the world. Well done Janelle. Carry on!

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