Dear Fasters & Prayers,
As I write to remind you about our fasting and praying this week, I’m so encouraged. In the last 3 weeks, we’ve had over 35 new subscribers–literally from around the world. It is encouraging to see so many women taking the energy of their (our) longings and putting it into what we by faith choose to believe truly matters: fasting and praying for the courage and capacity to become the men and women that God has designed us to be, and for new marriages to emerge. This conviction is why we keep fasting and praying, particularly during what would be Monday lunch.
This week, Amy–who is now writing with us regularly–sent me the draft of her future post. The title read: “The Green Eyed Monster, a.k.a. Amy.” My mouth dropped open when I read it. Just two days before, I had confessed in a conversation with my parents, that I had been feeling envy deepening in my bones. It had been creeping up slowly–a strange, icky, hollow, furrowed-brow, tight-necked feeling as I anticipated time with certain friends–mentorees and their babies, old friends from middle school and their children or tales of their children: people who seem to be getting what I have not in certain areas (yet). When one long-time, beloved girlfriend told me about this awesomely-fun thing that had happened with her daughter, something in me clutched. Instead of rejoicing with her, I had to swallow an internal cringe (which does NOT taste good) and will myself into kindness. I didn’t have the word for it at the moment, but I was tasting ENVY, envy which when ingested, rots the bones and turns one into the Green Eyed Monster (Proverbs 14:30).
It was crazy, then, when I read Amy’s post–realizing that she too, in a different way (and she’ll tell her own story next week), had been struggling with envy. Later, as we drank coffee together on my front porch, we talked “envy”–a.k.a. the Green Eyed Monster and what a creepy beast it is. I told of how confessing it aloud had brought so much freedom. How I’d felt so ashamed of its presence that I almost couldn’t see it, not wanting to admit to myself—let alone to God or another person—how I was feeling increasingly resentful of my friends’ joys. I shared with Amy how owning it, bringing my envy into the light and saying “no, I don’t want you to rot my bones!”—my “no” buttressed by the prayers of my mother and my father—had like a dose of potent chemo shrunk the cancer growing inside of me. I could almost feel the Monster wither.
A few days later, I walked into an unplanned litmus test: Rachel, who has written on and off for fast. pray. and I ran into each other at a church cookout. She is engaged and getting married in August to a man who is a good, good fit. As Rachel talked, she spoke of the relationship being a miracle. Miracles are very good things. But I know that sometimes others’ talk of “miracles” can unintentionally leave me focusing on my feelings of being un-miraclized in certain areas of my life. So, standing there, I ran a “monster detection check” inside of myself. Shockingly, the Green Eyed Monster wasn’t there. As I listened to her speak, I felt a strange peace—a sort of joy and hope cocktail warming my blood. There was a genuine joy for her—listening to her and looking in her eyes, I knew she was being given a good gift. Likewise, I felt hope swell—hope that in confession and repentance, the icky things in us (in me) really can, slowly but surely, be transformed, and hope that God is still showing up and giving good gifts. Walking back to take part in a water balloon fight, I felt something else that Proverbs 14:30 talks about: a heart at peace giving life to my body.
If any of this resonates, this week you might consider asking God to show you if any envy is in your bones. If the answer is yes, risk naming it—to him and even to another person. And then ask God for its opposite, a heart at rest and full of life. The truth is, married or single, with or without children, everyone can get their bones rotted by the Green Eyed Monster. But the truth is, as well—there really can be freedom to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those with those, and hope with a hope that is authentic, for ourselves and for those around us. Just something to think about!
Have a Good Week…