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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a tough pill to swallow

This is a hard post to write. It's something I'm not proud of. I hate that I feel the way I do, but I can't help it. It goes against what I know God has tried to teach me. It's totally hypocritical.

I've been texting back and forth with my sister for months about her trying to find a new house. She has a beautiful family of 6 and has outgrown her humble abode. It seems she has finally found her dream house, and they will be closing in just a few short weeks.

It's gorgeous. It's a 5/3 with a pool on an acre of beautiful property. I'm so glad she found what she wanted. So happy for her.

But there's a part of me that isn't happy about this news. I'm happy for her. But, I'm finding that every time I hear about her move or the new floors she's thinking about picking out, I'm sad.

Sad because things don't look like that for us right now. Frustrated because I feel like I can't even relate to what she's saying. The last thing I'll be doing this year is shopping for a newer, bigger house. We're barley hanging on to the shoebox we have.

My husband works hard. Just as hard as anyone else. Why can't he find that "too good to be true" customer or account? Why can't we get our break?

I am jealous. I'm having trouble finding joy in the happiness of others. What the heck is wrong with me?
I told you I'm not proud. I'm just being honest.

Last year was one of the toughest years financially for my family, and it continues to linger in 2011.

The point of this post is not about our circumstances, but my inability to be happy for someone I love dearly at a time when she is super happy. How shallow could I possibly be?

I keep going through all the "whys". Why do some people seem to have it so easy? Why are we struggling when so many around us aren't? Why us?

I watch people close to me, and even people not so close. I see success (worldly success, anyway) in the homes they own, or the cars they drive. The jobs they have. I wonder how they are making it in this economy? How can they afford that? How can they eat out every night? How can they have that kind of birthday party? What are we missing? I feel alone in a world that seems to be recovering from the economic crash, yet we're still lagging behind.

In my heart I know that these things are not what God considers success, but in my flesh I can't help but want things to be easier for us sometimes.

I don't have the luxury of shopping, eating out, or just planning a day out whenever I want. I have to strategically plan expenses. Consider the cost of gas. Say, "No, I'm sorry we're not able to make it." to events I would otherwise like to go to. No manis or pedis for me right now.

(I'm sickened by my selfishness. I realize there are people in this world that have WAY WORSE CIRCUMSTANCES! People have no food, or a roof over their head, and I wonder how I can be aggravated about my problems??)

I have so many blessings in my life. They are not taken for granted. Can't you be grateful and frustrated?

We're taking steps to make things better financially, but it's going to be a long road. It seems like we're light years away from where I thought we'd be. In some aspects, we're starting over.

It's a tough pill to swallow.

Today I'm just bummed that times are hard for us, and it's hard sometimes to see things going great for others.

I know it's wrong.

If you feel like pouring your heat out too, head over to Shell's place. She's better than fabulous!


At January 19, 2011 at 7:19 AM , Blogger Merri Ann said...

That must have been really hard to talk about. It is a hard thing to overcome especially when you are trying so hard to get ahead. Your time will come.

I hope you continue to be happy for your sisters good fortune ... if you miss out on her happiness you will regret not having shared it with her in the future.

You really did a great job of explaining a feeling we probably all have at some point.

At January 19, 2011 at 7:59 AM , Blogger Renegades said...

I think you can be greatful and flustrated at the same time.

Is is jealousy or is it simply wondering why your journey is life has become such a battle while you watch your sisters whose appears to be like a cake walk?

You are human. Give yourself a break. Celebrate with your sister.
Continue to see your blessings.

At January 19, 2011 at 8:25 AM , Blogger Angie said...

You can totally be grateful and frustrated.

The grass isn't always greener - even if the new flooring in a new home does sound wonderful.

At January 19, 2011 at 8:27 AM , Blogger Diane said...

I think you just described a feeling that most all of us have from time to time. I have found myself being jealous over my friends' successes many times over the years and I always feel horrible about it.
It doesn't make you a bad person,especially when you feel remorseful and pray about it.

At January 19, 2011 at 8:48 AM , Blogger Di said...

I'm struggling with the same emotions as I think about going back to work and having to leave Jellybean at daycare. Why can't I be a SAHM? Why doesn't my hubby earn more money? But then I think of everything we do have and how blessed we are and I realize everyone has to make sacrifices somewhere.

I hope things turn around for ya'll soon though!

At January 19, 2011 at 9:45 AM , Blogger Shell said...

You're just being honest about how many of us feel.

It's hard to celebrate someone else's happiness when they have what we want or when we'd be happy with even a small portion of what they have.

Is it wrong? Sure. But, honest? Absolutely.

At January 19, 2011 at 10:12 AM , Blogger blueviolet said...

I went through this exact thing several years ago. I have 5 siblings and every one of them leads a very carefree lifestyle with multiple vacations,etc. I have never had that. We've always just skated by and not easily. Finally about 3 years ago, I let it go, and I began to feel more happiness with my own little family and way of life than I ever had before. I realized that things do not define me and I didn't need them to make me happy.

At January 19, 2011 at 10:19 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Feelings like this are normal. You don't want to take anything away from them, but it's totally understandable that you want your break, too. You are in a hard spot trying to stay happy for her.

At January 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM , Blogger Jen said...

That is a tough pill to swallow. I am sorry but try and stay positive. One day, your break will come. It does for everyone. :)

Stopped over from Shell's place.

At January 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM , Blogger Andrea (ace1028) said...

I'm sorry you're having a rough time, but I am glad you're able to have this space to be completely honest about it. I definitely understand what you're saying. I know when I get these kinds of feelings like "why not me? What about us?" about other people and stuff it feels wrong, but it's there, so it's important to acknowledge it. It's not that you're not happy FOR her, you just want some of the same things for yourself and your family. Not a thing in the world wrong with that.

At January 19, 2011 at 11:07 AM , Blogger Sara said...

I totally get this- you feel a little jealous, then you feel guilty for feeling jealous when you should be happy for someone. I think it's normal. At least I hope it is, because I struggle with the exact same thing, in a bigger way than I care to admit. Thank you for your honesty. I wish I could wave away your worries, but please know you're not alone. Remodeling our house (and not just cosmetically, so we could live in it) and my husband getting laid off in 2009, buried us. I'm right there with you, slowwllyyyy digging out :)

At January 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM , Blogger purseblogger said...

Oh wow. This sounds exactly like how I have been feeling for so long. Exactly. It is so hard to see others enjoying their financial successes while we sit and struggle. I know how that is.
Don't be too hard on yourself. xoxo

At January 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM , Blogger Heidi said...

i hear ya, girl. times are hard for us too. it's been that way for a while because hubby was pursuing a doctorate degree for quite some time. now that he's finished, you can immagine how discouraging it is to be finding work in this economic climate. Keep trusting, keep HOPEing in the Lord. He'll continue to provide even if it's *just enough* .

I have faith our time will come and just think of the heart of love and sharing we'll have for our neighbors when we can help lift up someone else in our same circumstance someday.

At January 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM , Blogger Christina said...

I hope this is not a duplicate comment. I had an error a minute ago.

First, how brave of you to share these feelings. God is so with you right now. I can totally empathize with what you are going through.

When I have struggled with this I have to repeat over and over and over again the following.

"God, let my heart & love be your heart and love, let my joy by your joy, let my hands be your hands."

Even though I don't know you, I am praying for you today.

At January 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Epiphany said...

You are SO not alone.

I also have a hard time when I consider that I believe my friends and others have such "perfect" lives. They have the big house, perfect husband and marriage, 2.5 kids, dogs, new cars, designer clothes...What I've come to realize and live is that happiness is more than those things (sans the kiddos). In fact, I was with a gf this weekend who bought a new Louis Vuitton bag at the Mich Ave store in Chicago. I really want to be able to have those things. So, I'm pushing myself everyday to define what I want, what I can achieve.

Keep the faith. Your greatest gift is God's love. Happiness comes in the little things. I will include you in my prayers for myself on this. It's truly challenging.


At January 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

that was brave to put out there, and I totally understand. I felt that way a lot when I attended my old church, always struggling and fighting jealousy. And like you, being aware that even though I was struggling, I have so much more than many people, and that I am blessed. It's good to talk about, because it's real! Thank you for sharing your heart.

At January 19, 2011 at 12:05 PM , Blogger Tylaine said...

Wow those words could have totally come from my mouth. I feel so ungrateful sometimes because I know I am so blessed......but why all these trials. Why is my husband still unemployed after a year? He lost his unemployment benefits in Nov. and things pretty much suck right now but like you say they are so much worse for other people and I can't even imagine the trials some go through. I really hate being selfish so I can totally relate.
I know enough about you to know you have great faith and will get through these trials. God gives us trials to polish our rough edges.

At January 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Mariposa said...

I love your honesty! I think we have all been jealous of someone or something... May you find contentment in knowing that God has a plan for you and your family.

At January 19, 2011 at 2:04 PM , Blogger Braley Mama said...

This is how we have real fellowship with one another, and with God! By being real, and open and not judging each other! You know what i think, I think it is our flesh to not be happy for others. SO we ALL do it! Praying for you today!

At January 19, 2011 at 3:13 PM , Blogger Impulsive Addict said...

I am horrible at words of encouragement so I'll just say that what you're feeling is normal and don't be so hard on yourself. I'm hoping that 2011 turns around for you.

At January 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

Sometimes the small picture can be depressing, I know. I'm not good with words of encouragement either than to say just keep truckin'. I've been in the same thought process many times and the best way I know to get out of it is to keep holding my long list of blessings in the front of my mind.

We made a stupid/gamble financial decision last year up here and it's daily work to not focus on that and instead move forward. Only by the grace of God.

At January 19, 2011 at 6:47 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing. I know that wasn't easy. The more "pour your heart out" posts I read, the more I realize what a good thing Shell has started. We all need the opportunity to do that without feeling like we're going to be judged for it.

I think we all feel like everyone has a better life than we do. I think that's a part of human nature. And I don't think it's anything you, or anyone else, should be ashamed of.

I hope 2011 is a better year for you. But just take it one day at a time. Just because tomorrow might be a bad day, doesn't mean that the day after will be too. Celebrate your successes, and don't beat yourself up for your failures. When you finally DO get to the other side, you will appreciate it more than your sister or anyone else, because you know how hard you fought to get to where you are.

At January 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM , Blogger ModernMom said...

You know what I think? Normal. Totally normal. I hope now that you have poured your heart out you will be able to breath a little easier. Hope 2011 is a fabulous year for you.

At January 21, 2011 at 12:53 AM , Blogger Adrienne said...

I completely understand this post.. 2010 was a tough year for my family my hubs lost his really good paying job and waited 7 months to find one that paid about 1/2 of his old one and things have been hard, I have had to adjust and I completely feel you there.. I will Say a prayer for both Adriennes tonight that 2011 brings us better times

At January 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM , Blogger Sami said...

I don't think that's bad at all! I mean, I get jealous when someone I know gets a new appliance, and I'm stuck with an old one. I think anyone who says that they could be completely happy and not the least little bit green with envy in the same situation is probably pulling your leg.
It's human nature.
It's what makes us strive to be and do better.
If we were always 100% content with what we had, we would never progress.
That's just my 2 cents...
Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day! Sorry, I'm a little behind...

At January 21, 2011 at 6:32 PM , Blogger Analog This said...

Oh my. You just spelled out word for word exactly how I feel right now. I just feel exactly the same way you do and somehow that gives me some comfort. That I am not a horrible person for being the only one to struggle with this.
Thank you so much. Why are you going through difficult times? Maybe so you can be the answer to my prayers for someone to share my lonely heart with.
I have no mom, sisters, or friends around and some days, I just feel so awful and lonely.
I used to ask God why I lost 3 babies when other women had it so easy. But then years later I met women that struggled and my eyes and heart would open for them because I knew exactly what it was like to lose a child. God is the most economical provider of all. He doesn't waste ANYTHING. Even pain and suffering. And yours is very real and even valid. We have a right to ask God why to seek understanding of our darkest times. Emotions are ok too. He is an emotional God. But also and best of all, He is a fair God. And that means that every tear you shed will be rewarded for completely in the life to come. Until then, God will "recycle" your pain in this life so you can recognize and help others that struggle with the same thing. Rejoice, your Father just gave you a beautiful pearl of wisdom for your crown through this experience princess. Now don't let your sister be jealous she only got a house that will turn to dust. Now this is not meant to put your sister down but just a different perspective when you look at it from God's perspective. This one helps me when I feel envious of the toys of others. "Will it matter in a thousand years?"

At January 26, 2011 at 3:21 PM , Blogger platanosandmangoes said...

I think confessing it helps get rid of it,whatever "it" may be! :D

At January 5, 2012 at 1:53 PM , Blogger Karen Greenberg said...

I found this post through your Year in Review post. I am so glad I am not the only one who feels like this sometimes. I do get jealous when I look around at other people. I wonder when our big break will happen. Then I realize we've had our big break several times. But it's always temporary. For some reason I think we are destined to be right where we are in life- not too comfortable but not hurting too much either. I wonder why that is and hope we can change that soon.


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