|Photo by Megan Morris via Flickr|
But I just unwrapped my latest cough drop and it's telling me to "Inspire envy." And can I just tell you all, I am SO OVER that message? I'm not perfect. There are times I'm going to still struggle with envy. Not just wishful thinking, but that feeling that worms its way into the heart and says "You would be happier if..." (Currently I'm envying people who live within walking distance of the public library, which I will freely admit is probably an odd thing to envy but it is 100% true.)
But I'm over the message that if I am more, it means that someone else is less. (And, of course, the idea that I am less if someone else is more.)
I'm over the message that the things I do should be done with the end goal of making others wish they were me.
I'm over the idea that envy is a good thing. I'm at my least happy when I give in to the temptation to envy someone else. And while we all are responsible for our own reactions, I don't want my goal to be to create that feeling in someone else.
I'm over the idea that we need to march through life with our measuring sticks, always comparing, always placing rankings on ourselves, our families, all those with whom we come in contact. That somehow accumulation of stuff, or looks, or a million blog hits a day makes a person better, someone we should envy. Sure, maybe the people at Halls really mean they want people to envy my sparkling personality, but I'd rather people just enjoyed it. (I'm not sure my personality can be said to sparkle, but if it does, please don't envy it, just call me up for coffee instead because I'd a million times rather get to know you than have you envy me.)
My blog might stay tiny. I might never write a published book, let alone a best seller. But if I do? I don't want to inspire envy. It's the opposite of everything that I want to inspire.
I want to inspire dreams. For every person who's secretly wished they could do something, I want to inspire them to try. To find their own unique voice in the world and sing it out with all their might.
I want to inspire hope. For every person stumbling through the world in darkness, every person who feels alone, I want to say "Me too, but there's a light and I'll walk towards it with you."
I want to inspire action. I'm not an activist of any sort, and I know that there are a million things I could be doing to make the world a better place in some tiny way. I want to learn how to find those ways and I want to inspire others to find them too.
I want to inspire kindness. Because in a world of sharp divides, where we are told we are either the enviable or the one who should envy, we need kindness to wear away the sharp edges, to remind us to live in love towards every person, every day.
I'd be honored to hear that I inspired someone to make a change. But not towards envy. Sorry, cough drop people, but that's one inspiration that would leave me speechless.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30 (ESV)