Marla stood in the doorway, her arms wrapped around herself like a shield, gazing bitterly all the shiny happy people in the building.
To her left stood an attractive young blonde in a stunning red dress. Her highlighted hair was neatly curled in the latest style. She looked as though she had just stepped out of the cover of Vogue. Nice dress. She thought. Katy always has nice, new clothes. I’m always rotating the same three or four outfits.
Her eyes wandered over to Mike and Jamie, a lovely young married couple surrounded by ladies with their eyes alight, all focused on a little bundle of pink. The ladies were waiting for a chance to hold the pink bundle that was, at the moment, nestled quietly in Jamie’s arms.
Ah, yes. Whispered the bitter voice in her head, They just had a baby. A healthy baby. No infertility issues there. Perfect husband. Perfect house. Gets to stay at home with her baby and be free from money worries.
Finally, her gaze fell upon a smartly dressed woman, her brown hair streaked with gray, but not in an unattractive way. Her brown eyes held a warm serenity and some other indefinable quality. She had squeezed Marla affectionately and gazed with compassion at her, as though she could sense the turmoil roiling within.
Marla let out a sigh. Then there’s Lena. Always so calm, sweet and peaceful. She never struggles with her faith. She always makes great comments in class. Everyone respects her. Elder’s wife. Perfect life.
The young woman’s eyes darted quickly to the ceiling to hold back the tears threatening to betray her torrential emotions. Everyone had it so easy! Why couldn’t she get a break?! Marla’s family was deeply in debt and barely scraping by. Her only child (for she had only been able to have one) had health issues creating behavioral problems. Her husband was only working part time and she was pulling down 50 hours a week just to make ends meet. She suspected that he wasn’t being entirely faithful either. Her mind probed past memories, reaching desperately for some happier time, but all that it found were broken dreams.
She turned away, her soul full of anger and bitterness. It doesn’t matter what I do, everything goes wrong! God doesn’t love me, I just know it! If He did, life wouldn’t be so hard! Maybe I’m not righteous enough.
Everyone else has it so easy! Everyone, but me. Why me, Lord? Why me?!
Have you ever thought something along these lines?
If Marla only knew…
Katy has nice clothes, but struggles with overspending. She and her husband are having arguments about money at least once a day. They have two credit cards maxed out and their marriage is falling apart at the seams.
Mike and Jamie miscarried five times before having their baby, and Jamie suffered from gestational diabetes during the pregnancy. Mike nearly lost his job at the five-month mark, only just missing the pink slips at the corporate office. He is likely to be on the next chopping block and is looking anxiously for a new job to support his family. His wife may have to return to work in a few months if he gets the ax.
Lena—the calm, composed woman—nearly committed suicide during her battle with depression. Her youngest daughter died at age three from cancer, and she has been dealing with the grief for fifteen years. She spent a lot of time asking God why and nearly lost her faith. Even now, the grief tugs on her soul.
I used to be a bit like Marla. In my younger years I did everything that I thought I was supposed to do—graduated second in my class in high school, attended a high-quality university, graduated cum laude with a good industrial degree and felt poised for financial success. My life—though I consider it a very blessed one—has not played out quite in the way I expected. Unfortunately, life rarely plays out the way we expect it to, no matter how goal-oriented we may be. Thought I am ashamed to admit it, I have often looked at my friends and acquaintances and wondered why they seemed to “have it so easy.” (If you are one of those acquaintances reading this, know that I love you and I’m sorry if I ever thought of you in this way. God is a good teacher and I know better now). I wonder how many times people looked at me and thought the same.
It’s only been in recent years that I have come to realize a very critical truth: everyone suffers, but we all suffer at different times and in different ways. That couple going to Hawaii may finally be getting a much-deserved respite. That elderly woman in her comfortable home may have spent years being moved all over the country and is finally getting to enjoy some creature comforts and stability.
I remember a young woman who attended worship with us, looking at our new, very “quiet and easy baby” and remarking, “It’s SO not fair that you have such an easy baby. You guys are both so calm and easy-going. Why can’t you guys get the hard baby?” Little did she know the curse she was pronouncing on us would come to fruition in its own good time. My “quiet and easy” baby would grow to become our most challenging child.
My friends, we need to carefully examine our hearts. What I am describing is envy, jealousy, covetousness and bitterness—all of which we are called to abandon in our walk with Christ. As I have indicated, I am not immune. In our darkest moments, we fall prey to the “why me” tick. It plays repeatedly in our minds like a scratchy broken record.
I call it “Why-me-itis,” A disease characterized by envy, jealousy, covetousness and bitterness. Those suffering from whymeitis have a habit of saying (or thinking) “why me and not them” on a regular basis. Past observations have shown that most people suffer from the disease, but it does not become fully apparent until misfortune falls upon them or someone they love and admire.
There are 5 remedies for “whymeitis” that I will expound upon in the next five posts:
These five remedies may seem obvious, but they are like essential nutrients. We know that our bodies need vitamin D, vitamin C, omega 3s, magnesium, amino acids etcetera, but how often do we neglect to supply our bodies with these nutrients? Our souls, hearts and minds may be nutrient deficient in that we are low in one of those five essentials. Nutrient deficiency in the body causes decay; nutrient deficiency in the soul will also lead to decay, stunted spiritual growth and rottenness.
I hope you’ll join me in this series and that each of us will strive to be more like Jesus; not just in our actions, but in our hearts and minds.