Okay, so I'm not totally jealous of Jen Hatmaker. Let's begin there. I am tempted to be totally jealous of Jen Hatmaker. There's a difference.
I am tempted to be jealous of Jen Hatmaker for the following reasons:
1. Her most recent book For The Love premiered at number 2 in the self-help category on The New York Times Bestseller's List.
2. My most recent book did not. Also, my most recent book did not get published.
3. She is everywhere in my Facebook feed and all of my friends like her. Probably more than they like me (perfectly understandable but still--the gall!).
4. She is everywhere on the Internet. I thought I was safe reading Parents magazine. Nope.
5. She is also on my television looking adorable in her gigantic Noonday earrings saying she doesn't know how to dress herself but simultaneously dressing herself quite well.
6. People keep asking me if I know her because I live in Austin. Surely she could meet you for coffee and give you some advice about writing...
7. Because, try as I might, I cannot not like her. She's just so indefatigably likable. You know who she is? She's the Christian Jennifer Lawrence. She could make falling on the way to give your Oscar speech adorable.
Like I said though, I am only tempted to be jealous. I am only tempted and not-at-all drowning in a river of envy, because of rigorous and thorough anti-jealousy tactics I've picked up following Jesus over the years.
Because it is my unwavering commitment, no matter how frustrating I find it, I do not allow myself the customary "I bet her life is actually terrible" comfort we Christians often offer as palliative care when we've contracted jealousy.
I choose (even when it's hard) to believe the very best about Jen Hatmaker. I imagine she bakes muffins for her children in the morning. I imagine her kids like her jokes. I imagine her car is clean.
This imagining is good for my heart.
Worse than that, I also require myself to pray for her. Not in a passive aggressive way either, praying for her "poor children" who must never see their mother because she works so much. Nope. I'm only allowed to pray good things like thanks and bless her and use her.
As I found myself praying for Jen Hatmaker yet again tonight, I thought maybe somebody else out there might need to join in. Maybe it's not Jen Hatmaker for you. Maybe it's the girl in the cubicle two down from yours who eats salads every day for lunch and seems to like them. Maybe it's your boss who makes more money than you do because (the nerve!) she works harder and better than you do. Maybe it's your sister-in-law. Of course it's your sister-in-law.
Whoever it is, fill in his or her name as we pray...
You give good gifts. Thank you for the gifts You've given me. Thank You for the gifts you've given Jen Hatmaker. Thank you for blessings in piles so high.
God, thank You for giving us Jen Hatmaker. Thank you for her skilled way of introducing difficult topics with ground-softening humor. Thank You for her dedication to helping Your people. Thank you for her passion (This is the part where you say nice things about the person you're jealous of--true, nice things).
God, bless Jen Hatmaker. Fill her with your Spirit. Grow in her heart love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
God, use her in your kingdom, usher in your kingdom through her efforts. Multiply her words and actions. Shine through her. Put her on a hill.
God, give her all the wisdom she needs. Give her the courage and discretion to wield her influence well.
God, work in her home. Bless her children. Bless her husband. Bless her friends.
Protect her. Lead her not into temptation but deliver her from the evil one.
God, I want only good things for this beautiful woman. Pour out your richest blessings on her head. (Don't pray it unless you mean it.)
In your son's powerful name I ask,
Can I be real with you? That prayer isn't easy to pray. My flesh doesn't want good things for her. It wants good things for me. And for some reason that evil urge mistakenly believes her good is my bad.
That's not true. The good in me knows her good is my good is all our good. God's blessings flow through the blessed to bless.
Tonight I'm remembering jealousy is stupid and selfish. I'm committing to be smart and generous instead. To root for someone who's doing well instead of looking for ways to tear her down.
God bless you, Jen Hatmaker, even if you are annoyingly, imperfectly perfect.
P.S. The first picture I chose was not nearly so flattering. But then I prayed...