True Confessions of a Recovering HATER: Part II
It began as another routine trip to the grocery store. My family of four was heading towards the entrance when we ran into some old acquaintances. Upon approaching their car, I should have known a HATER exam was imminent.
“We just got a new house,” she said. “Oh, congratulations,” I replied, clinging to the 10 Steps to Becoming a Reformed Hater. I made it through the conversation, only to face the true test when I got home.
Linoleum on its last leg, carpet stained beyond steam cleaning, walls that look like my children’s canvas, and a kitchen with a missing back board greeted me when I arrived. “Thank you for my house, thank you for my house, THANK YOU FOR MY HOUSE!” I tried to repeat – because that was the Christian thing to do. I was a S-T-R-U-G-G-L-I-N-G.
The more I tried to be thankful for what I had, the more I was tempted to compare my old with her new. I wanted to find something, anything to make me feel better about being in my home of 10 years plus – with all the battle scars to prove it.
The sweet satisfaction of a thought laced with hate was so tempting. It would numb the pain – the truth- that I was not at peace with my own space. Thus forcing me to realize the discontentment I birthed in my youth had come of age in my adult life.
I could not genuinely celebrate her good thing because I wanted it for me. Ouch! Simply put, I was a HATER. Attacked by what Andy Stanley calls the “Green-Eyed Monster,” in his book, It Came From Within. Andy goes on to talk about the real root of jealousy.
“When we think about jealousy or envy, we immediately think of the things others have that we lack- looks, skills, opportunities, health, height, inheritance, etc. We assume that our problem is with the person who possesses what we lack. But let’s face it. God could have fixed all of that for us. Whatever he gave your neighbor, he could have given you too. And besides, you don’t really want your neighbor’s car; you want one like it. You don’t mind the fact that God provided him with one. The problem is that, while passing out new cars, God skipped you!”
God brings blessing to whomever He chooses. Job 1: 21 (NIV) says, “The Lord Gives. . .” And though I have the freedom to question God’s decisions, I’ve tried and that road leads to nowhere. So rather than pitch a tent in my own yuck I am choosing to become a reformed hater.
10 Steps to Becoming a Reformed Hater
Step 1: Own My Truth
It is so much easier to front like I have it all together rather than to put my imperfect parts on display. And though I periodically masquerade as the more together chic, God’s accepting love compels me to reveal the woman behind the mask. When I do, my truth looks like this.
- Nothing about my life is perfect – but Christ.
- I am not a super mom.
- I struggle to keep my house clean.
- Most days I am an overwhelmed working mom.
- I try to be consistent but at best I’m scatterbrained.
- I’m closer to 40 than ever (Ahhhh!).
- When I am a hater it is a reflection of discontentment and insecurity within my soul.
In the past, the barrier to owning my truth was an overwhelming fear of rejection. I wrestled with the possibility that exposing my truth would depreciate who I was in the eyes of others. But “perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18 (NIV) and I can rest in knowing my worth comes from my Creator.
In Him I find contentment with the undesirable parts of my life. He enables me to see the beauty in what is rather than what is not.
Step 2: Celebrate the Success of Others
Did you hear that so-in-so just. . .
Bought a new car.
Went to Hawaii.
Got her doctorate.
Honestly, sometimes I find it difficult to “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. Romans 12:15 (NIV) At times my version of the scripture has been, compete with those who succeed – fearing that if I don’t, I will be less than, average, and behind. Cloaked in insecurity I struggle to celebrate another woman’s success. But the truth is, her gain does not diminish who I am.
Whether it’s a new house, great career, or a dream vacation, I can choose to rejoice in her accomplishments. It is a continual decision not based on my emotions but rooted in a security that can only be found in Christ. In Him I can celebrate the success of my sisters and replace insecure thoughts with the truth of who I am as a daughter of God.
Step 3: Refuse to Compare
As women, our thoughts come faster than a bullet train on greased rails. In an instant, we can size up every female in a 10 foot radius. But in doing this, the challenge is to remember she is human.
She has struggles.
She has insecurities.
And, she is more than her external appearance. In choosing to become a recovering hater I must see her as God does – not a rival, but a person.
I must remember, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7 (NIV)