Monday, April 12, 2010

Coveting My Neighbor's Struggle

Parent Night at my children’s school was over, and I walked to the parking lot with a friend whose son was in my son’s class. “This year is going to be tough for me,” she remarked. “The teacher is marvelous, but she mentioned that our kids are now old enough that less parent involvement is needed. I’m going to miss not being in the classroom very much.”

Inwardly, I sighed. That hadn’t been my reaction, and I felt guilty. If I loved my son as much as this mom loved her child, then I, too, would be grieving the loss of this classroom contact. Instead, what I had done was to make a mental note to share with my son at breakfast the next morning, my excitement over his new teacher and all the new things he would be learning.

But, I caught myself as I got into my car. I’ve come to realize that life with God means paying close attention to my thoughts. Psalm 139:23 (NIV) says: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” My anxious, self-defeating thoughts were leading me away from God, and I needed to turn them over to God.

So, I did just that. Now, God doesn’t promise that obedience will always be followed by understanding, but in this case God rewarded my obedience with a bit of insight.

I realized I had it wrong. I was coveting my neighbor’s struggle! My friend is an extrovert. (See last Wednesday’s post on extroversion and introversion.) She excels at organizing events and encouraging our kids to have fun. I can learn a lot from her about being in the moment with my children and giving other people the gift of inclusion. But, as an extrovert, she at times struggles with celebrating her children’s growing independence. In contrast, I’m an introvert. Celebrating my children’s development comes more easily to me. It’s an area where I can come alongside her.

I Corinthians 12: 17-20 (NIV): If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

~ Marilyn


  1. "and I felt guilty"
    I understand that of which you speak, Marilyn!
    Wishing I was more like 'her.' It's so easy to see the strengths of others, and feel inadequate because of our weaknesses.
    But you're right. Where would the head be without the foot?
    Thanks for these insights.


  2. Marilyn, Thanks so much for your honesty and authenticity. It makes me want to be more authentic with others about my struggles.