What a TV show taught me about accepting my personality
In Season 1 of Netflix’s The Crown, sisters Elizabeth and Margaret reveal their envy for the other. Elizabeth, thrust into the role of queen, wishes she could lead the behind-the-scenes life of her sister, while Margaret is envious of her royal sister’s spotlight.
Just like Elizabeth and Margaret, we have a hard time accepting the life that we’ve been given, especially when we see others living lives that we envy. They were jealous of each other in three key areas, and I believe they’re areas where we (try-hard girls) struggle too.
Elizabeth was jealous of Margaret’s life.
It was no secret that Elizabeth wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, tucking in her children at night, instead of giving speeches to foreign dignitaries. She coveted that Margaret wasn’t constantly in the spotlight.
In the same way, we covet the lives of others. We want their vacations, their always-smiling kids, and their newly decorated home. Because of this, we’re constantly plagued by the question why can’t I live that life?
Margaret was jealous of Elizabeth’s position.
It was no secret that Margaret had the outgoing, gregarious, charming personality associated with celebrities today. The microphone and spotlight loved her, and she loved them right back. Margaret wished she wasn’t the “lesser thing” as she called it—she wanted the crown.
Try-hard girls, we get jealous of positions too. We want whatever “they” have: promotions, titles, recognition, or stage time. And we sorrowfully wonder why can’t I do what they get to do?
Both Margaret and Elizabeth are jealous of each other’s personality.
It was no secret that the sisters were envious of each other’s personality. Maybe Margaret wished to be a bit more reserved and less impulsive. Perhaps Elizabeth wanted a bit more charisma in her character.
In my life, I envy my best friend’s laid-back nature. She seems to move and live in the most gracious ways. This peaceful life happens because she’s organized, trusts in God’s provision, and prays…a lot. She calmly moves from one event to another while I’m giving countdowns and setting timers that sound the alarm. This comparison begs the question why can’t I be more like her?
But God desires us to be jealous of no one.
He doesn’t want us to be jealous of others because He doesn’t need a whole passel of Margarets or Elizabeths. God wired us with specific gifts, hopes, capacity, and energy levels. He needs you where you are to do the work He’s asked ONLY YOU to do.
You are you for God’s glory and your good.
In the story of Mary and Martha, Martha does all the work and Mary does all the sitting, and we see a glimpse of two women with two very different personalities.
But here’s the deal: The point of the Mary and Martha story isn’t that God favors one personality type, set of gifts, or birth order.
In her book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World author Joanna Weaver writes, “Martha… doesn’t lay aside her personality, give up her hobbies, and burn her cookbooks in order to worship Jesus. She doesn’t try to mimic Mary the Little Lamb; she simply obeys.” (The FCC requires that I tell you that I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means I earn a bit of commission on each sale. But don’t worry there’s no added cost to you!)
What pleases God is available to everyone—relationship.
Relationships are based on love and adoration, and because of our love for Christ and gratitude for what He’s done, we do “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) We worship Him out of the life we’ve been given, the position we’ve been granted, and the personality we’ve been gifted.
God accepts all different types of worship because He created each life in a customized way.
Worshiping Christ looks like being fully ourselves and pursuing the very work that He gave us a passion for, which means that our worship is unique to us.
We worship Christ when we donate our time as an accountant for the non-profit whose cause we adore.
We worship Christ when we teach a child to read.
We worship Christ when we go back to school to be a licensed counselor.
Friends, God doesn’t want us to be who we’re not because the world needs who we are.
Just like Elizabeth and Margaret, we so easily disregard what we have because we think the opposite is better. But Christ made us who we are, to do what He’s placed a fire in our belly to do, in the way that only we can do it.
Elizabeth wasn’t supposed to be Margaret, Martha wasn’t supposed to be Mary, and you aren’t supposed to be anybody else but you.
May we each worship Christ by accepting what He’s given as we do the work He’s prepared for us, and may we move away from envy and toward contentment with the life He’s given us.