As small as a mustard seed

Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It wraps around the heart like a poisonous vine and squeezes until all that is left is hurt. Fear stems from jealousy. The fear that you are not as pretty as her. The fear that you are not as smart as him. The fear that you are not as funny, or as charming, or as gifted. Then there is the fear that you will never have your dreams while your cousin, sister, best friend, general Facebook acquaintance is posting pictures of theirs. With every image, the vine squeezes just a little tighter, reminding you that you do not have what you desire. It reminds you that the clock is ticking, that your running out of time – of youth. Or, it reminds you of the diagnosis that doctors said will prevent you from ever having your dream. Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It wraps around the heart like a poisonous vine and squeezes until all that is left is hurt. Your cousin, sister, best friend, general Facebook acquaintance is posting pictures of their dreams come true. With every image, the vine squeezes just a little tighter, reminding you that you do not have what you desire. It reminds you that the clock is ticking, that you are running out of time – of youth. Or, it reminds you of the diagnosis that doctors said will prevent you from ever having your dream.

The hurt flares up every time you hold your best friend’s baby. The hurt flares up every time you see your Facebook friends post pictures of their handsome husbands and beautiful wives. You feel it every time you find your praying knees, asking God why. Why hasn’t it happened yet? why does every relationship fall apart? why were you diagnosed with that disease? why were you betrayed by the people you valued most?

The vine spreads throughout your body and becomes the lump in your throat when someone asks if you are okay. You nod and force a fake smile and continue on your way. Maybe even tell a little white lie: “I’m fine. Just tired.” The vine becomes the ache in your stomach when you see a pregnant woman smile at her husband and rub her rounded belly. The vine becomes the headache as you slide through social media and stare at smiling faces and perfect makeup and posts that document a wonderful day.

Then fear settles in. Fear stems from jealousy. The fear that you are not as pretty as her. The fear that you are not as smart as him. The fear that you are not as funny, or as charming, or as gifted. Then there is the fear that you will never have your dreams. The “what if’s” that echo through your thoughts every second of every day. “What if God lied to me? What if I imagined that vision? What if God tricked me into believing in it?” Fear is the weight settling on your shoulders. It presses down, creating a strain in your neck. You can’t turn your head away from the barrage of pain headed your way. You are stuck.

Sometimes you share your emotions with a friend – who swears that it can still happen.
Sometimes you share your emotions with a relative – who tries to remind you that God has the final say, not doctors.
Sometimes you share your emotions in a journal – where you battle with yourself and feel insane as you pour everything out with tears streaming rivers down your cheeks.
Sometimes, you share your emotions with the world – wondering if anyone is struggling as you are.

Sometimes you pray. You pray so long that the day ends and the next one begins. You remember the vision you were given of your own belly rounded with a baby. You remember the vision of yourself holding hands with your husband. You remember that new beginnings sometimes start with painful endings. You remember that God is in control and that His timing is perfect and yours is not. You remember that Fear is a liar trying to rob you of your happiness. You remember that God only speaks the truth, God loves you, God is not a trickster aiming to hurt you, God will remove the vine from your heart and the weight from your shoulders.

From the prayers and reminders, a seed of hope is planted in your heart. It’s a small seed, no bigger than the tip of a pencil, “yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:32).

person holding a green plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com
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