walking in grace

Fifty Shades of Green

We made a list.

At the end of the Christmas holidays my hubby and I made a list of all the things we needed to do in order make our house market ready. Okay. I made a list of all the things my hubby needed to do so that our house would be ready to put on the market.

And though it seems like we have been working on our house non-stop since we bought it ten years ago, that list was longer than I expected.

In earnestness, I have done my fair share. I have focused on the things that I do well. I have purged closets, and cabinets, and drawers, oh my. I have decluttered and organized. And pared down. I have scrubbed down and mopped up.

I have even painted a few touch-ups and uh-ohs along the way. But my hubby is the professional painter in the house. Well, semi-pro. Triple A.

That good man has painted the entire exterior of our house with a brush and roller. (Because we love our neighbors.) He has painted ceilings of porches and ceilings of bathrooms. Garage walls and garage doors.

Okay. You get the picture.

But this past week, my husband wasn’t the only one busy painting.

The enemy of my heart picked up a brush and a palette of his own. And with a few gentle strokes he began brushing upon my heart with a touch of honeydew, just a hint. He followed up with a stroke or two of sage, with a broad stroke of hunter not far behind. Before long, my heart was dripping with shades of green. And there is nothing uglier than a heart that bleeds green.

The eyes of my heart clouded, and my vision blurred, distorting my reality. Distracting me from important work. Because when I am immersed in something of eternal significance, the enemy of my heart is way too willing to distract me with myself. My insecurity. My regrets. My insignificance. My self.

He knows that my green heart looks side to side and worries about them and they. And has the audacity to ask God, why her? What about me? What about him?

Thankfully, Jesus has already answered that question.

In the final chapter of John’s gospel, (John 21) Jesus appeared to his disciples for the third time following His resurrection. After a breakfast on the beach, Jesus asked Peter, the one who denied Him three times, if he loved Him. Three times. And of course, Peter replied with a resounding yes. Three times.

When Jesus had restored Peter and made him shepherd of His sheep, He gave him the hard truth about what following Him would cost Peter. He told Peter how he would die. What his life of surrender would look like at the end. And asked him again. Follow me.

Peter, looking back at John following behind them, asked Jesus, “What about him?”

Jesus, replied, “What is that to you?”

These five words of Jesus burned a hole right through my green stained heart!

There I was with my heart saturated with envy. Jesus lovingly pierced it with His life-giving words. Oh, I would have loved for Him to justify my jealousy. Validate it. He did not. Though He understands my pain, He knows what’s best. And a heart bleeding green is not His best for me.

He sat with me. Or I sat with Him. Crying. Desperate to be free from the jealousy. From it’s hold on my heart. I confessed. “Lord, I am jealous. I feel like you are holding out on me.” How utterly ridiculous. Embarrassing. But true.

In his book, Enemies of the Heart, (It’s worth a read or two or ten. I have linked it below.) Andy Stanley suggests that jealousy says just that, “God owes me.”

And James, the brother of Jesus, warns us.

14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. 

JAMES 3

Don’t deny it.. Confess it.

As I confessed, I felt the fifty shades begin to fade. Fall away. The eyes of my heart found focus. The work before me shined with significance. Slathered in grace, my soul could finally breathe.

Friends, I am prone to wander. To look side to side. To compare. To feel less than. Left out. And the enemy of my heart knows that full well.

Maybe you are too.

But Jesus is the maker and keeper of our hearts. And our confession opens our hearts to His brush strokes! Freeing us to focus on the work He has called us to do.

A tranquil heart is life to the body,
but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.

PROVERBS 14:30

Enemies of the Heart

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