emerald green with envy

Sometimes I’ve tried to dress up my envy. Instead of thinking of myself as “green with envy,” I prefer emerald, or maybe chartreuse.

I have many friends who are gifted with home decorating and design. This is not one of my strong suits. Their homes just seem so put together, so pottery barn, so… homey. So I become envious of them; of their good-looking homes and their skill in arranging them. And instead of heading toward a path of humility, love, growth and appreciation I have found myself feeling, all-of-the-sudden, critical and superior.

My jealousy takes a journey and lands somewhere between arrogance and pride–a place probably best named self-righteousness. And self-righteousness is so insidious, because when it’s happening I don’t recognize it as such, I just think things like, “well, that must have cost a lot of money, we spend our money more carefully,” or, “hmm, that probably took a lot of time and I prefer to spend my free time improving my mind with reading or playing with the children.” See what I mean? Emerald envy.

Somehow I must twist the situation around to make my decisions better than theirs and discount their gift of making a lovely home. The truth is that if I were able, I would have a home that looked just like theirs and all my reasons of why I don’t (reasons created to make me feel superior) would be right out the curtain-hung window. And so envy has morphed into a new, uglier creature…definitely not the emerald I had in mind.

“But now let me show you a more excellent way,” to quote Paul in 1 corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast. It is not proud.” Instead of indulging in envy that careens toward pride, I can put it to death with a thankful heart. Thankfulness makes me recognize others giftings and be happy about them, because my thankfulness is ultimately to God, not man. It makes me content with the Creator who gave them one apptitude and me another. The thankfulness and love I have toward God translates to love for others. My envy becomes appreciations; my self-righteousness is now humility.

And if you are a friend of mine reading this blog, you probably have the gift of making a lovely home. Rest assured, I am grateful for you…for many reasons, one of which is that you can come to my house and help me with any home decor issues I may be having. 🙂

Comments welcome (about the topic of envy, or, home decorating tips…).

6 thoughts on “emerald green with envy

  1. great post. refreshing to see you work through the bad thoughts in your days…encouraged me to do the same!

    so i’m going to pretend that i’m that friend that has a well decorated house 🙂 and give some tips…
    1. give it time. beauty usually takes time to “become” in this case. little by little your home will become more the home you want with a little project here or there.
    2. start small. pick one project a week or month and do it…write a due date on your fridge (i don’t know if that would motivate you, think of something better for you) maybe print new photos, paint one wall (ok that might be a big one for later…)
    3. start an idea file. this way you will become more prone to look for ideas. take a mag, like m. stewart and rip the pages you get ideas from circle the idea maybe put a note, or just put the whole page in a file. maybe you won’t look back at it, but at least you looked for an idea and have one…
    4. get help. ask someone else for ideas on a project…and maybe even to come help you complete it.
    5. do things with your kids…make art for your house, such as making pretty snowflakes from pipe cleaners, then hang around the house, windows maybe…i have a cork board idea i did to display alaina’s creations and bible verses. i’ll try and post a pic of it on our blog.
    (one serious tip i’ve used is “odd numbers” things usually look better in 3s or 5s, etc. so pictures or mirrors on the wall…make them an odd number.)

    note: i really like the pictures in your hall way, the decoration sitting on the counter in your public hallway bathroom upstairs, and your kitchen rugs…just some things i remember liking in your place!

    ok i’ll be done rambling for now.

  2. Self-righteousness is a struggle for Amanda and me too. It is the most “Christian” of sins. C. S. Lewis said that all sins comes from the root of pride. This is definitely one of them. A more realistic understanding of our own depravity is a gift that we ask God for often. When we understand how terrible of people we are, we are struck even more by God’s mercy and grace and are able to extend that to other people.

    –Andy Gammons

  3. Well…I didn’t actually write those today, I just transferred them from my old blog spot (copy and pasted). I later saw that there is some way to do this through the website without having to copy and paste, but, by then, I’d already done it.

    Those 4 posts were done over a week’s time. If I’d have done them all in one day I don’t know that I’d be able to call the blog “leftovers”…it’d be more like, “first helpings.” 🙂


    ps, sometimes I wish I could just blog all day…

  4. You are using truth to counteract your struggle. May the truth set you free! I also feel that way often when I see other’s gifts in homemaking and music! I have been greatly blessed by a girl I’m mentoring (a bit of a joke because she’s beyond me) whose home is amazing. It is artistic, but she has scripture painted on her walls, photo shopped on top of most framed pictures of her kids, resting on decorative tripods that she typed in cool fonts on coordinating paper to her homes colors. There is nothing purposeless in her decorating. I have a new vision for how I want my home to reflect the glory of God. May His word permeate our homes and speak of His goodness to our children!

  5. I love going back to read the blog entries of people from the past. This one struck a nerve with me. I am going to set a new goal for myself. When I go to visit someone, instead of saying,” I could never do this,” I am going to try to say specific praise about what I see such as, ” That flower arrangement shows the glory of God.”

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