Saturday, February 1, 2014

Where I Should Be

The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment;  if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment.
Wellen Calcott

am not by nature a person who is envious of the lives of others.  I would like to say I am above it, but that would be a stretch.  I think a lot of my lack of envy as of late is because I am so caught up in the crazy spinning wheel that is my life.  I have little time to do more than hang on for dear life and hope I make it through the day without dropping too many spinning plates. 

Contentment is accepting what God has given us, and, by his strength, making the most of it.
C.J. Jackson

In calmer times I must admit I have felt my share of discontentment.  I have bookmarks in my Bible marking well worn pages with highlighted verses directing me to be content with what I have.  I have scores of quotes that speak to me about gratefulness.  I even "force" myself to blog each November in order to reinforce an attitude of gratitude lest I let discontent take up residence in my heart.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

So whether its because I am too busy to care or because I make a conscious effort to live a life of contentment, I  blessedly rarely have to experience pangs of jealousy.  That is why a recent bout with the green eyed monster left me floundering a bit.

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy.
Never underestimate that.
Oliver Stone

I have been plugging away on this little blog for a while now --- hard to believe it has been three plus years. I have done very little to increase readership of my musings.  That is by choice at this point in time.  My real life leaves little time for self promotion.  I have been so bogged down with the minutia of daily living that I haven't even taken the time to share much about the fact that two of my stories have been published. (Can I get a woo hoo?) Only a few people know I have penned and illustrated a children's book, won awards for poetry and short stories and have begun to write a novel.  I have kept my accomplishments pretty much under the rug  --- as a result of circumstance and choice.

I don't live in a vacuum.  I read lots of mommy blogs and see their readerships soaring ever higher.  I see them get book contracts and endorsements. I am happy for them and their deserved success.  I have told myself it's all good.  I say I don't have that because of choices I am making and I comfortable with it.  And I was until ...

Until someone I know personally began to experience writing success.  Her first blog post received 149 likes on Facebook and garnered tons of complimentary comments.  I wish I could say my first thought was "Good  for her!" but it wasn't.  Then I heard she had written a children's book that is set to be published soon.  Did I say a prayer for her success? Not even close.  I ignored the fact that she had put the time in to promote her blog.  I ignored the fact that her Facebook friends outnumber mine by the hundreds and that she puts in a lot of time and effort reading and commenting on others postings.  I ignored the fact that she had secured a professional illustrator for her manuscript and had done the "legwork" necessary to get her book in the hands of a publisher.  I ignored all of her sweat equity she had put into her success and instead threw a pity party for one.  I let envy into my heart and began to feel the stirrings of discontent.  I was jealous and it wasn't pretty.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own.
Harold Coffin

Thankfully I have a Heavenly Father that met me in that dark ugly place and brought me back into the light through the words of my beloved.  My sweet man steered me quickly off that path of self-pity and said a prayer over me asking God to fill my heart with humility and contentment.  He reminded me of all that I have to be grateful for and pointed out all the successes I have had as a writer.  He told me that I am exactly where God wants me right now doing exactly what only I can do --- being the best wife, mother, daughter and friend for those God has placed in my life.   With my love's love, support and prayers I was able to throw off the shackles of jealousy.
Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth.  Each of us has something to give that no one else has.
Elizabeth O'Connor

Someday I may enjoy the fruits of a successful writing career.  I may see my work on bookshelves in bookstores and listed on best seller lists.  Or maybe I won't.  But published and acclaimed or not I am a where I need to be as long as my heart is in the right place ...  a place of contentment.