”I’m pretty sure God loves Ann Voskamp more than he loves me.”
I wrote this to a friend recently. I don’t even know Ann Voskamp, but I was still convinced that when it came to actual love, I was in the dog house and Ann was in the castle on the hill.
I mean, what’s not to love? She clearly loves Jesus. She gives money to the poor. She eats off the land (she’s a farmer’s wife for god’s sake). She adopts kids from places Far Away. She writes books that are poetic and lyrical and get onto the New York Times Bestseller’s list. Her inanimate books even love Jesus. She travels the world and writes about it. Plus, she’s thin. Everyone knows that God likes thin people best. She even has a quote on the walls of the American University in Suleimaniya, Iraq. I saw it with my own eyes. Actually, through my husband’s eyes because they wouldn’t let me past security, but whatever.
So, yeah – I’m pretty sure God and Jesus and the whole Trinity love her more, because when I compare my little life to that of Ann Voskamp? I can’t even.
I have weighed myself on the scale of God’s love, and I have been found wanting.
It’s kind of depressing. No – it’s not kind of depressing; it is deeply depressing. Not that they love her more, but that in my heart I really believe this. And if you’re honest, you probably believe that God loves some people more than he loves you.
Because let’s just get it out there in black ink: It’s so hard to believe that we are loved uniquely, deeply, completely, and unconditionally by a God who delights in us. It is so easy to see why he loves other people, but it is so difficult to get that he loves us. He saw what he made, and he called it “Good!”. Our thinking is distorted and we are tricked into believing lies abot God, lies about ourselves.
Here’s the rub: If I really believe that God loves Ann Voskamp more than me because of all the things that she does better than I do, then I probably believe that God loves me better than some other people. As much as I deny that, the reasoning is logical based on my distorted theology.
Comparison kills and we will always be found wanting. Whether we convince ourselves that we are better or worse than the person we are comparing ourselves to, we will always lose. Always.
Comparison and envy rot the soul.
A few years ago I wrote a piece about envy. I’ve included it today because this is what I need to come back to when I have thoughts like the one I confessed, thoughts that undoubtedly, God loves Ann Voskamp more than he loves me.
May all of us give our distorted theology to God and thank him that in his master design he made each of us and loves each of us – deeply, uniquely, and completely.
We sat in our postage stamp size garden, tea and home made cookies in front of us. The weather was beautiful — a cloudless seventy degrees, typical of a Cairo spring. It was early afternoon and the call to prayer had just echoed through the area from a nearby mosque.
We were talking about language learning, the time it takes, the struggle, how we vacillated between feeling like idiots to feeling like small children reduced to no verbs and minimal participles.
“I wish I had language ability like Claire. Her Arabic is so good!*”
The cloudless sky darkened and green entered my soul.
“Well – if you and I had been here as long as she has and if we didn’t have as many kids our Arabic would be good too!” I said it lightly with a laugh – eager to hide the ugly of my envy.
She laughed, whether in agreement or out of politeness, and the moment quickly passed.
But it didn’t. Not really.
Because this had happened more than once; this ugly envy that entered my soul around a myriad of things. Whether it was language learning or how many Egyptian friends I had, envy had this way of creeping in and affecting my friendships, destroying unity.
Read the rest here.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones~ Proverbs 14:30
Have you dealt with potential competition or envy with fellow workers who are overseas? It’s a hard but important question!
*name has been changed!