Taming the Green-Eyed Monster

By Heather Templeton

Maintaining a Heart of Gratitude All Throughout the Year

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a holiday nut.
Christmas is my favorite time of year, but really my holly jolly spirit starts around the beginning of October and runs well into the new year.

I play the Classic Christmas station on Pandora almost exclusively.
It’s basically perfection at this point, as I’ve spent years thumbs-up-ing and thumbs-down-ing songs to create the ideal blend of old-time classics and instrumental melodies.
I decorate.
I bake.
I shake up my monochromatic wardrobe with some red.
It’s truly a sight to behold.
My family gleefully joins right in.
Our oldest adores Christmas something fierce.
The lights coupled with giant blow-up Santas and snowmen.
The candy and the cocoa.
The leaving of cookies and getting up early and all of the anticipation that comes with Christmas morning.
Sometimes I long for that innocence again.
Where Christmas was just that:
And for the most part, I truly feel that it is.

But I am not immune to envy.
None of us are.
And during the “most wonderful time of the year,” it can rear its ugly head so fast that ours can start to spin at record speed.
Enter the comparison minefield that is social media, and you’ve got a spiritually lethal battle brewing.
Envy rots the bones.
It is a cancer to our bodies.
These are not light words, friends.
The Lord did not merely suggest that we steer clear of envy if we see fit.
It is no small matter.
It is life and death.

Oh, it can start out small enough.
An “I wish I had that” here, or a “wow she’s so lucky she’s got that” there.
It stirs.
It looms.
And then it weaves its way into our very hearts and spreads like a disease.
Nothing we have is good enough.
We need more. Better. ALL.
And it overshadows and stifles the extravagant blessings in our own lives.
Oh how this must grieve the heart of our Lord.
But envy can be undone, and it is the simplest cure:

I encourage you to give it a try.
Stop and mentally tally up each and every person, place, and thing you are thankful for.
I promise you that your list is longer than you think.
I have done this recently, and felt an immediate change in my demeanor.
I had been lamenting something rather small, and decided to derail that thought process in favor of thankfulness. I started praising the Lord for the things he had given me, and the people I treasured most.
My heart softened.
My body felt joy.
The genuine smile on my face was outside evidence of that inward shift.
Nothing has changed except my perspective. Thankfulness overshadowed my want, and what I did not have paled in comparison to what I realized I’d been gifted.
I pray that you all have a blessed and peace-filled holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
The gift of salvation through grace alone.
Our precious Jesus.
Born of a virgin.
Laying in a manger.
He came humbly into this world to give us His all.
And His all is everything we will ever need.
Merry Christmas.

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