I Want What She HasPosted June 3rd, 2010
by Janet Perez Eckles
I sat on my bed, wrinkled tissue in hand. “I hate my life,” I thought. The sound of the car’s engine from the neighbor heading up the street reminded me of all the things I could no longer do. Since I had lost all my eyesight, driving was a thing of the past.
When my three sons were younger, transportation to endless activities was part of their lives, but I wasn’t part of it. And those trips to the mall with shopping list in hand also belonged to my previous life—the life when I felt normal, active, productive, and whole. I longed for those days to come back. I longed for what I had been able to do that brought joy to my life.
“We’re going to the show,” my friends would say, “do you want to come with us?”
My first reaction was to give an effusive, “yes.” But the reality was that with no eyesight, the activity further jammed grief into my heart and deepened the envy for what my friends had. That envy tainted my heart green. To make it worse, it blended with the unpleasant shade of self-pity.
Places I’d Never Been Before
Then, several years later, when Jesus opened my spiritual eyes, He became the “lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). That path took me to places I’d never been before—places where I could value what I couldn’t see, appreciate what I still had, and delight in things I had taken for granted.
I heard my sons’ laughter with a renewed delight, relishing each “I love you, mommy.” And without visual distractions, I listened to God’s Word more attentively. Best of all, I received His promises with a more willing heart. Contentment became my friend, gratitude my companion, and joy in the Lord my partner in life. I had turned from coveting to contentment.
Still, at times, friends remind me of desire’s foolish pitfalls.
Some years back, my friend sat across from me at a table in our favorite restaurant. “I can’t stand this. I really can’t,” she said. “Look at how much you eat and you never gain weight. And I just look at a piece of chocolate and my hips grow.”
What a silly friend I have. She exaggerates just a tad.
One day, after she had made that comment for the umpteenth time—practically every time we had eaten together—I said, “Tell you what, Rosie, why don’t we trade. I give you my metabolism, and you give me your eyesight.”
“Ha, ha.” She slurped her Coke. “No thanks.”
I Had Wanted Everything
I had wanted everything that eyesight brings, and my friend wanted my metabolism. Funny creatures aren’t we? We covet what others possess, longing to be like them.
Taking envy to a deeper green, we scratch our heads when we observe those who disobey God, and yet prosperity falls upon them like rain on a spring day.
“What’s with that, Lord?” our heart cries out. But He knows our human questions; His inbox is probably jammed with such queries. Yet His answers sometimes include things that are hard to swallow—contradicting the call of the world and going totally against our human nature. He asks us to be content and satisfied.
The apostle Paul, with his direct demeanor and blunt approach, asserts, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12, 13).
So there’s the secret. Not through our own abilities or efforts, but through Christ, will we know contentment whether with eyesight or without. What sweet freedom! No more wondering why others have what we don’t have. No more coveting what we wish we had. Rather, clothed in humility and gratitude, contentment replaces coveting, and embracing the spirit of thankfulness replaces envy.
Even our prayers change: “Thank you, God; you’ve given me enough manna for today.”
Green never looked good on me anyway. And I found the best cure for envy—whether wanting someone’s metabolism, accomplishments, physical attributes, or outward success. It is to welcome humility, get to know gratitude, and become good friends with contentment.
Janet Eckles is an international speaker and author of the book Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow—Overcoming Adversities in Life. She is also a regular Lifeglow columnist. For more inspiration and encouragement, visit Janet at: www.janetperezeckles.com