A few weeks ago, our Ladies Bible Study lesson was about Saul and his jealousy. I’m 33 years old, so I hummed several bars of a Gin Blossoms song before diving into my notetaking. I can’t be blamed for my chronic condition of humming and singing songs from my youth. It’s not my fault that the 90s were a fantastic time in music’s history.
Once upon a time, I was chastised by a mousy art professor for unknowingly humming “Mr. Jones” in its entirety. One of the art pieces we were being assessed on was Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. Really, can I be blamed for that? After class, I tried to explain the situation to him, but he had never even heard of the Counting Crows or Adam Duritz. Shocked. I stood there shocked. “It’s from August and Everything After. One of my favorite albums of all time.” “Miss Bergen, you have a perfect score in my class. Just don’t hum again during a test.” What was this man doing in 1993? Probably coming up with absurd assessments that didn’t match his objectives or his lecture material. Or never allowing enough time in lab to finish his projects. I obviously have issues with this prof…back to the study on David.
It’s such a haunting portion of Scripture. We see the Holy Spirit actually leave Saul. And his jealousy doesn’t end with trying to kill one man. This young guy who makes him feel insecure. Saul has caused families to go into hiding. Fearing for their lives. Hundreds of people start following David. This kid who didn’t ask for Samuel to anoint him. He was now leading a Ragamuffin group. Ironically, Saul’s jealousy kept making David more appealing. And then Saul orders scores of priests to be slaughtered. Over his jealousy of a single man. And his fear of losing his position.
It’s extremely easy to say our jealousy isn’t that big of a deal compared to Saul’s. That our constant annoyance at her or him or her is nothing like Saul slaughtering priests. But we don’t compare our sin to the sins of others. We hold it up to God’s standard and nothing else. And I sat there so very convicted of all the women I’ve been jealous of. The ones who rub me the wrong way. The ones who seem to get everything or go everywhere or have everyone follow them. The ones who can make money and spend money. The ones who can do all the things I can’t do. My insecurity keeps me from focusing on my little family and my little calling and being content with what I have.
There are too many similarities between me and Saul. But one glaring difference. The Holy Spirit left him. But I have the Holy Spirit living in me. Operating through me.
So it’s not too late for me to repent of it all and ask the Lord to work in my heart. To remove the poisoned portions that exalt my insecurities over love. It’s easy to cheer for the women we adore and cherish. It’s much harder to cheer for the women we have placed a jealous target on. We’re too busy being bugged by them to shout “Hooray!” when they succeed.
Since I like to overshare in the hopes that I will find a kindred spirit and come to a realization that I’m not the only person who struggles with these things, I am choosing not to edit this to shreds. This post shows the ugly in me. But it feels amazing to finally admit that I’m not going to allow jealousy to be a stronghold in my life anymore. Too bad I’m in my thirties finally getting this freedom. Refusing to let jealousy and discontentment be my normal. And now I’m singing Better Than Ezra’s “Normal Town”…I just can’t help myself.