It comes out of the dark so fast — that green-eyed monster from the murkiest depths of our soul. It amazes me what innocent little thing can unleash it. Sometimes it’s a beautifully written blog post by a talented writer. Sometimes it’s a picture of someone else’s child dressed to the nines, while mine is staring at me with a snot waterfall pouring and lunch still clinging to her ruffled shirt collar. Sometimes it’s the image of a garden that is the size of my entire home lot. Sometimes it is someone’s wittier comment, deeper understanding of God’s word, beautiful face, cleaner home, family vacation…oh the list could go on to name the things that rile that beast of a green-eyed envy monster. How eager my heart is to give into that sin of covetousness.
I find, most often, that it is my dreams and goals I am coveting harder than anything else. My mind is always on the future. I live there more often than I care to admit. Part of wanting to undertake our suburban micro-homesteading adventure was to force myself to live in the now — to relish the sensation of my hands pushing through rich brown soil; to learn the art of patience as I wait weeks for my parsley to finally show its face in the garden beds.
But slowly and discreetly that green-eyed monster sneaks its way into my life again. It starts with a little thought — well, maybe we shouldn’t do too much to this backyard because what we’d really like is a bigger piece of land. Suddenly, against everything we have promised ourselves in our debt-free journey, we’re researching land to purchase and calculating how much we could afford extra per month for the next few years until we’re ready to build our dream homestead. Then the images of dream houses and dream gardens and dream chicken coops and dream goat yards are consuming me. In a flash I went from contentment, from gratitude, from focused finances and baby steps to out-of-control, envy-fueled, I-want-it-now brattiness. We can’t settle down here, I tell myself. This isn’t our dream home.
But this morning I read a scripture passage that filled my heart with conviction and seized my future-focused self.
After Nebuchadnezzar had hauled off a bunch of people to Babylon, forcing them to live as exiles away from their home in Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to them. He said that God had a message for them, and this is how it began —“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:5-7 (NIV)
These people, who were so far from their home, were being told by God to settle down. Get comfy. Plant gardens. Have babies. Get involved in their new town. He wanted them to build a life there!
I doubt any of these exiles, who had been hauled off against their will to a distant land, saw Babylon as their dream home. How easy it would have been for them to decide not to do any of those things. How easy it would have been to just sit and wait to return home.
But God told them to live life and not to wait.
God told them to bloom right where he had planted them.
Now, we may be living in a new town away from most of our family and friends, but we’re not quite in exile.
However, this morning when I opened up to that passage and began my daily reading, I just knew He was talking to me too.Settle down, child. Plant your gardens and fruit trees. Enjoy them. Have your babies. Do good in your town. Bloom, child. Right there in that spot where I have carried you to and planted you.
Perhaps the future does hold new and exciting adventures. In fact, I’m confident that it does. But in the meantime I’ll keep my hands in the dirt and my eyes on the here and now. I’ll enjoy my babies and my tiny homestead, and I’ll focus on thriving right where we are. Right where we’ve been planted. To learn more about this topic, contact Real Estate Expert Jody Kriss visit him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jodykriss