Rings, Babies and a Steadfast Spirit

Ever have one of those times where you know you are being utterly ridiculous and yet you find that you just dive head first into it? Just me? Oh good.

9fdc122dc2de2dd09e55c2c0b7f97beb--funny-engagement-quotes-engagement-announcement-funnyI have a multitude of friends who are currently pregnant right now, like it’s crazy how many women I know expecting in the next three months. It’s that stage of my life where the weddings have subsided and the pregnancies have come flooding in. And I am so overjoyed for each one, to see God use my friends to raise up the next generation. Unfortunately I found that feelings and emotions of being left out, a reminder of the lie that I am alone kept bubbling up at times.

When I saw a woman I was distant friends with post that she was now engaged it caused all the emotions of being left out and doubting God to just flood out of nowhere. I am truly happy for her, but in that moment, I made it about me. I made it about the lies that are fed to us over and over again, to doubt God and to step outside of His promise for our lives. I was shocked at how suddenly it felt like a tide of just utter bitterness, jealousy and outright frustration with God Himself came pouring out of me. Y’all, it wasn’t pretty and it definitely wasn’t the marker of a  friend or a guarded heart.

It was a flashing warning light that an area of my heart had been breached and was undergoing attack. That I had allowed it to go unmaintained and unchecked because so easily I slip into this comfort zone of life and put myself on autopilot. For a bit I sat in that mood, in that temperament of just irritation and doubt. As I turned to the consoling nature that social media likes to tell us it is, a verse was at the very top of a post and it dug right into the real issue-a clean heart and a steadfast spirit.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 

Jealousy and doubt had wormed in and shaken my spirit. I had allowed them in because I wasn’t resting in the steadfast spirit God establishes. Nope, I was resting in the comfort of my own strength (which is just weakness with an ego in the flesh) and my own way. I was deliberately choosing to doubt instead of trust in what I know to be true. To trust in WHO I know to be true.

And it’s hard y’all. It’s hard not to live in that jealousy and doubt, to not just walk away and do it in my own way, but He’s shown again and again He is faithful to what He has promised-which is my good. Not what I define as my good, but the very best that He knows there is for me. But I have to make the choice, over and over again, to seek Him to create that clean heart in me and to renew that spirit of steadfastness. I have to be dutifully firm in the spirit He has created in me. Unwavering when so many things seek to buffet me about.

It doesn’t mean I don’t get excited when friends share their news of an engagement or an expected arrival of a baby, or the purchase of a new car or a thousand other things. Because that is God’s goodness for them in their lives, and He’s got some pretty amazing things planned for me as well if I but remain steadfast in spirit. It means I deliberately choose to not doubt in those moments, but take them to Him with an honest heart.

A Joyous Engagement

Three. That is the number of friends I have that are recently engaged. And by recently I mean within the last four weeks. I am so excited for all three of them. The happiness I see each of them have in their relationship is just beyond words. You see it, and you get it.

As someone who up until October was in a relationship headed towards an engagement (and it was the worst idea for that relationship to head towards in hindsight), there’s a part of me that gets jealous of seeing it. Seeing the photo or the status update…Then comes the mountain of guilt because these are my friends and I want the absolute best for them. This is their “best for them” moment and time. This is their story God is writing, as He writes a different one for me. I happened to read this quote late last week and I was reminded of it again this morning.

And so, every time a jealous thought enters your mind, flip the thought and give thanks. Gratitude heals and prevents jealousy.“- Jessica Turner

Instead of allowing jealousy over a friend’s happiness to enter my heart and mind, I can give thanks. Thanks for the image of love to be born out through their relationship. Thanks for God using their relationship to provide an example for me. Thanks that a friend is in a joyous time of celebration and newness in their life. Thanks that it’s not about me, and I would do good to remember that more often than not.

A thankful heart focuses on others, while a jealous heart focuses only on the self. Congratulations to all of those who are recently engaged and planning for a new adventure in life! I am excited to sit back and watch God do amazing things in your lives as marrieds!