#TellHisStory: How to Make Space for Grace When You Struggle with Spiritual Jealousy (With a Book Giveaway!)

April 21, 2015 | Books, surrender | 89 comments

When I met Christin Ditchfield at a retreat two years ago, I felt like I already knew her. She had been a wise and reliable voice in my life for years as a host for her radio program, "Take It to Heart." Christin has become a dear friend, and it's a joy to have her writing here today. We're celebrating the release of her new book, What Women Should Know About Letting It Go: Breaking Free from the Power of Guilt, Discouragement, and Defeat.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of her wonderful new book, at the bottom of this post. (Email subscribers, click here to find the entry form.)

How to Make Space for Grace When You Struggle With Spiritual Jealousy
By Christin Ditchfield

The first time I envied someone’s Bible, it was a good thing. I was still new to the high school youth group, still carrying the pristine white King James leather-bound children’s Bible my great-grandmother had given me for my fifth birthday.

His was a Student Bible, with the cover all scratched and beat up, and the corners of the pages curled – because he took it with him everywhere, and not just to church on Sundays. When he flipped through it, I could see all the verses were underlined and highlighted, with notes scribbled in the margins – because he really read it and studied it on his own. I didn’t know anyone under 40 did that.

Though I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t know Jesus, seeing that messy Bible was a huge part of my spiritual awakening as a teenager. I was just beginning to realize that it was time for me to take ownership of my faith, my personal relationship with God. It stirred up within me a hunger for Him and His Word.

It wasn’t long before I’d saved up my babysitting money to purchase a Student Bible of my own – and pretty soon, my Bible was a mess, too. A cherished and much-beloved mess.

As the years went by, it literally fell apart, and I transitioned to other Bibles – other devotional and study Bibles, other translations. And frankly, prettier colors and cover designs.

Lately I realized I’ve been feeling a lot of “Bible envy” again. But this time it hasn’t been such a good thing for me.

I look at the pictures of heavily-underlined Bibles that other women post on their blogs, or the comments they make about how lost they’d be without their Bibles, or what a sacrifice it would be to give up their Bibles, or hear them describe how they’re carefully marking up their Bibles to pass on to their children or grandchildren. And I feel guilty and ashamed.

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Because not since that very first Bible I made my own, have I been able to settle on one in particular that is my “go-to.” I don’t have one Bible (and only one) that is dog-eared and highlighted and underlined and scribbled in, all the way through. I have a bunch of Bibles on my shelf that I refer to regularly, plus my Bible software – but I don’t have one Bible I would have to grab if my house was on fire. It seems sacrilegious to even think this, let alone say it out loud, but I could get another one at the Christian bookstore tomorrow and be just fine.

When I compare myself to these other women, I feel like such a failure.

I feel like I’ve lost something or I’m missing out on something. Or I’m doing something wrong.

And I feel like it makes me less of a Christian. That if anyone knew this about me, they’d be horrified. Or at least question whether I could really have much of a devotional life.

For the first time this week (I know, I know), it occurred to me to challenge my thinking on this, to ask myself why I ever stopped underlining and highlighting and writing notes in my Bible.

The answer is actually pretty easy: Because somewhere along the way, I discovered I like to copy meaningful verses in my journal. It helps me remember them. And there’s more space there for me to add my thoughts and prayers and reflections. Sometimes I like to look up multiple translations and copy them, too, and take notes from Bible commentaries.

I even have room to add illustrations – my own drawings or images I’ve found online – whatever helps me visualize the application of a particular principle. And I can also attach words of wisdom and encouragement I’ve received in emails or cards from family and friends.

So, honestly, my journals are what I would grab first if my house was on fire – because they hold all the Scriptures I’ve been studying, the truths God has been speaking to me. That’s where I keep them.

Ditchfield Journals

The irony is that lately I’ve been writing a lot (a whole book in fact) about breaking free from guilt, discouragement, and defeat – letting go of the things that keep us from growing joyfully in spiritual maturity.

Big stuff and small stuff. Everything from shame over the sins of our past to bitterness and unforgiveness to unhealthy comparisons, impossible standards and unrealistic expectations.

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Like imagining that our relationship with God should look like anyone else’s. Or even like it used to look for us, years and years ago. Or measuring the quality of our devotional life or the sincerity of our love for Jesus by the number of verses we have underlined in our Bibles.

It’s a little thing, but envying the beautiful and meaningful way another woman chooses to remember how God speaks to her robs me of the joy of the beautiful and meaningful way I choose to remember how He speaks to me.

So today I’m letting it go – I’m not going to carry that guilt and condemnation anymore. Because I choose to be free, free to be the woman He created me to be.

choosefree

About Christin

ChristinDitchfield2014

Christin Ditchfield is an author, conference speaker, and internationally syndicated radio host passionate about calling women to a deeper life. As a freelance writer, she has written hundreds of essays, columns, and magazine articles, and more than 66 books, including What Women Should Know About Letting It Go: Breaking Free from the Power of Guilt, Discouragement, and Defeat. She blogs at ChristinDitchfield.com.

I highly recommend What Women Should Know About Letting it Go. If you have a small group, consider this for your next study. this is a book for every woman. Christin's teachings are practical, life-giving, and soul-reviving. She's a mentor who points us to true north .Every word of this book is a step in a staircase, bringing us closer to the fullest life in Christ."

Buy What Women Should Know About Letting It Go by clicking here.

Book Giveaway

LETTINGITGOgiveawayWe are giving away TWO COPIES of What Women Should Know About Letting it Go. There are many ways to enter. Fill out the Rafflecopter below and/or leave us a comment, telling us that you'd like to be entered in this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. The linkup goes lives each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great. And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Anita Ojeda is our latest featured writer. I love what she has to say about loving "prickly people" in her post:], How To Hug a Cactus in Five Simple Steps (click here to find her post). (To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. :) ) xo Jennifer

 

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by | April 21, 2015 | Books, surrender | 89 comments

89 Comments

  1. Ally V

    This is a great post! After about 3 years of marriage, I’ve learned that marriage looks very, very different from one couple to another. They’re all good, strong, godly marriages, but they’re all different. Our relationships with God look that way, too- all are a little different. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to loving our God (or our spouses!)

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for stopping by, Ally. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Mary T

    Jennifer, love your blog…thanks for sharing Christin’s book and for the giveaway! I would love to read “Letting it Go”

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for your kind words, Mary T. And you’re entered in the giveaway. I wish I had copies for all of you. It’s a great read.

      Reply
  3. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Christn, I’m so happy that I read this today. I’m leading a mini-workshop for our women (for the first time-ack!) about the importance of making the Word their own through journaling. This piece has given me some great food for thought. So well said. Thank you!

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thanks, Jody… so glad to help! I know some women are really intimidated by the thought of journaling — and it may not be for everyone — but the older I get, the more I find joy in exploring new ways to connect with God! 🙂 Will be praying for your workshop!

      Reply
  4. Cheryl Smith

    I would love to win the book! It sounds wonderful. 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful opportunity and post. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You would love it, Cheryl! Great for personal reflection, or group study.

      Reply
  5. Betsy Cruz

    Christin, I enjoyed your post. I’m a journal girl too, but I decided not to feel like less of a Christian because my journals aren’t as pretty as yours. (Just kidding, but they really aren’t!) But I do appreciate your speaking up on such an important issue: we compare ourselves and fall up short in so many areas. May the Lord bless and use your book to encourage many!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I know, right? Oh Betsy. I had to laugh when I read this. As I was uploading Christin’s post and that journal photo, I felt a twinge of jealousy. 🙂 My journals are a DISASTER in terms of presentation, but I do still treasure them. Thanks for being here!

      Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you, Betsy! I have a Pinterest board full of the work of what I consider to be “real” art journal-ers, and I can only dream LOL… then again, I wish I had Jennifer’s gift for photography :)The thing is, if it inspires us — great! If it discourages us, that’s when we know we’re comparing and competing… and that’s what we’ve got to let go! Blessings to you!

      Reply
  6. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Ooooohhh, your journals are soooo gorgeous, Christin. I think I’m envious! Little joke, truly, but envy isn’t. Ask me how I know!! I’m a slow learner, but I am surely trying to let go the green-eyed monster. It eats our insides, causes us not to use our own gifts because we think they will never measure up, causes us to withhold praise from others, and even denies God, because we are either not using our gifts or are ungrateful for them. This is serious stuff. I love what you are showing here….not just that comparison is an unworthy endeavor, but that it’s important to operate in our giftedness or preferences–just the way that God uniquely made us. If you feel closer to God when you journal, then you are already doing what is important in developing intimacy in your relationship with Him. I, too, journal (and sometimes incorporate colorful art cards, photos, or even my fairly primitive drawings. I have found over the years that I love color and it attracts me to whatever I am doing, making it a more joyful experience.) I also scribble up my bibles. But the point is that I am doing what draws me closer to the Lord (and not trying to emulate what others do). This is a wonderful post, and your book is excellent. I’m about 3/4 of the way through. But don’t hold it against me if I don’t let it go. I know I will reread it someday.
    Love
    Lynni
    PS You didn’t ask, but I thought I would mention one tip. Now that I have journaled for nearly 40 years, I was shocked to realize that some of my early journals are nearly destroyed, because the paper was not nonacidic. I will never use anything but an acid-free journals now. Otherwise, my writing will be destroyed, I just thought it was worth mentioning. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      LOL! Lynn? I thought the SAME. THING. I became totally envious of her journals! 🙂 Thanks for the tip about acid-free journals. Hadn’t considered that.

      Reply
      • ChristinDitchfield

        Thank you, Lynni — sweet friend! You are always such an encouragement to me. So glad you’re enjoying the book — and doing what draws you closer to Jesus in your own unique way! It’s a beautiful thing to witness. And Jennifer, have you SEEN Lynn’s journals? She posted a picture on FB and the stack is as tall as she is. In my imaginary worst-case scenario (above), she’d never make it out of the house… her best bet is to invest in a lot of fire extinguishers 🙂 One day I want to attend one of her journaling workshops…

        Reply
        • Lynn D. Morrissey

          Christin, yes, yes! Your book is wonderful (highlights, underlines, the whole enchilada!) And actually, they were higher than I. I went through a rough tme after Daddy died, and couldn’t journal. I started writing some poetry about him (a smaller container for grief), but if I don’t journal, I don’t pray. Would love to have you in a class. Sometime, privately, I will tell you about the extraordinary healing I’ve seen women experience through these journaling prompts. xxoo Lynni

          Reply
      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Oh yes, Jennifer. Acid-free is a big deal, believe me. Pls. tell Lydia too. I’m bugging her about journaling–good naturedly (a word?!) of course!

        Reply
  7. Jeannie

    Christin, thank you for this post! Timely, timely! I love how the God works that way. I would love to enter this giveaway. I love the message of letting go and not being a slave to expectations of ourselves or others.

    And am inspired by the images of your journals! Beautiful, creative, powerful! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Aren’t those journals so beautiful?

      Reply
      • Jeannie

        Jennifer. ..thank you for your writing/blog. I love what you say about our “preapproved” ness! Sending you a strong (virtual) hug. . .love your heart!

        Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you so much, Jeannie… I’m learning to really celebrate the way God made me — and at the same time be inspired (not discouraged) by the creativity and gifts He’s given others. It’s so much more fun that way… When another woman’s gifts make you say, “How awesome is God!” and not “How pathetic am I!”

      Reply
  8. cah

    would love to learn to let go and quit beating my self up. I always know what to say to everyone but ME!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Praying that you’re able to let go for good, cah. Thanks for being here.

      Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      I know what you mean… a few years ago, someone pointed out to me that David models positive self-talk for us in the Psalms (Bless the Lord, O my soul / Be at rest, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you) It’s a place to start, when you can’t find words of your own… praying for you today!

      Reply
  9. Paige Estes

    Sure wish I could learn to let it go. The biggest battles I have are in my mind. I love my journals. This post made me want to find them all over the house and make sure they are in one place in case the house does catch fire! Of course I’ll have arms full of boys and dogs so they may just have to be left. Thanks for sharing Christin! How awesomely defeated the enemy would be if we never compared ourselves to others!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      How long have you been journaling, Paige? I go in streaks. I have a lot of different journals … prayer, Scripture, drawing, blog ideas, book ideas, lists of gratitude. How about you? Tell me more!

      Reply
      • ChristinDitchfield

        Yes! Me, too… I’d love to know. And I think the enemy is long overdue for some defeating 🙂

        Reply
      • Paige Estes

        I am very weird and quirky about my journals They are all around 6X9 size and MUST have spiral spine so they lay flat. College ruled only folks! I’ve journaled since I was little. Most consistent in the last few years. I do a lot of talking to God in them, scripture verses, “blog posts” that don’t make it on a blog, etc. I fancy myself a writer although I haven’t been published anywhere, but I will always write regardless. Even just for me and getting my 100 mph brain into some complete thoughts. Now that I think about it, I guess I have some kind of journal with me all the time. And I almost never go back and read old ones. I guess because I work a lot of raw stuff out and them and don’t wish to revisit. Maybe one day.

        Reply
  10. Liddy

    I would LOVE to win this book, because it would be so timely for my life and the things I’ve struggled with for years! Time for freedom from those things! 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I love what Christin says in her book: “You can choose to let the past define and confine you — or you can let it refine you. You can also choose to let it go and lead it behind.”

      Reply
  11. Liddy

    I shared on facebook!

    Reply
  12. Brooke Montgomery Cassinelli

    Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂 Would love to win this book.

    Reply
  13. Brooke Montgomery Cassinelli

    I shared on Facebook.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Great! Thanks, Brooke.

      Reply
  14. Jamie Arlt

    I would like to be entered into the giveaway and I shared your link on Facebook 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Awesome. You’re entered in the giveaway! Thanks Jamie.

      Reply
  15. Lisanne

    I would love to have this important book!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You will love it! And if you don’t win, hop on over to buy. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Christine Duncan

    Christin, this strikes at the heart of something so common, and we all think or maybe hope, that no one will ever know we think this way… silly, because God knows, but I can tell you all the times I’ve done something like this already this week, lol… thanks for letting Him use you to inspire!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Me, too, Christine.

      Reply
      • Christine Duncan

        And can I just say, Jennifer, your ministry, your blog, it’s all been such a revelation to me… so grateful for God’s ministry through you. Pivotal lately! Blessings and thanks.

        Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thanks, Christine… Jennifer knows I wasn’t even sure if I should share it, because it does seem silly, BUT it’s one of those things that can really get in the way of those meaningful moments with God. So glad it encouraged you today!

      Reply
  17. Kristi Woods

    It IS a little thing. But then it morphs into something bigger. Christine, you’ve been very transparent in this post. It’s good to see, because those of us that are similar sometimes need the assurance that it’s not just us…and that God has more. Best wishes on your book release. I’d love to read a copy.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey Kristi … Thanks for sharing. I agree with what you say, about small things morphing. So true.

      Reply
      • ChristinDitchfield

        Absolutely… thank you, Kristi. I say it often, but it’s true — I’m so glad that none of us has to walk this journey alone — we can support and encourage each other. Blessings to you!

        Reply
  18. Lela Cherry

    I’m an original – or at least hope to cease the copycat comparisons and be who I was created to be after I win and read your new book! Congratulations & blessings ~ ♡ Lela

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for stopping by, Lela. Christin’s book is definitely worth the read. 🙂

      Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      YES! Thank you! Thank you!

      Reply
  19. Mary

    Beautiful words to ponder today. There is lays something that I need to let go in order to quit the comparison game. Your book, Christin, sounds just perfect. Thank you for this post and the giveaway.

    Reply
    • Mary

      I also shared the giveaway on Facebook! Thanks!

      Reply
      • dukeslee

        Thanks for sharing, Mary. Christin’s book is great for personal reflection, or group study. Lots of good questions after each chapter!

        Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you, Mary. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share…

      Reply
  20. Sarah

    I have this book on my CBD “wishlist”! Can’t wait to get it!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Awesome! I’m sure Christin will be excited to hear that. 🙂

      Reply
      • ChristinDitchfield

        YEs! 🙂

        Reply
  21. nancy

    I have to get this book.

    Reply
  22. Anita

    Ah, Christin–I moonlighted in a Christian bookstore for five years, and you wouldn’t believe my collection of Bibles ;). I admire your journals–they’re beautiful. I have a NIV Bible that has text on one side and a blank page on the other–but I have my journals, too–so I’d pretty much need a box for everything I cherish if a fire were to break out! But that’s all immaterial–what’s important is that we’re all free to use our talents and learning styles to love God and worship him without envy of anyone else’s talent and learning style!

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you! And yes… worship the Creator who gifted us with such diversity and creativity and uniqueness. It’s funny because I’ve done that easily in some areas, but sometimes when it comes to things like spiritual disciplines it’s easier (at least for me) to slip into thinking in terms of the “right way” or maybe “proper” or “best” way to do something — when it’s really what’s best for the way He created me. Would love to see your Bible collection someday 🙂

      Reply
  23. Jolene Underwood

    Love this post Christin! Interesting timing as just in the last few weeks I’ve found myself desiring to go back to my Bible and write in it. My YouVersion digital Bible has lots and lots of highlights, but not the one I can flip pages in. Regardless of if I do or don’t, I’m so thankful for that #preapproved grace. Bless you, friend.

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Yes! Thank you, friend… each of us preapproved in our own way 🙂

      Reply
  24. Abby Breuklander

    Oh this sounds like such a great book!! I’m sharing this post!!

    Reply
  25. Rachael

    Having grace for myself is oftentimes harder than having grace for others. My insecurities and inadequacies get in the way but when I can let go of those and grab hold of grace I,too, get to be who God created me to be. Me. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessing to you. Love Rachael @ inking the heart

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      That’s a huge part of it right there, Rachel — not just what we let go of, but what we hold on to!

      Reply
  26. Naomi

    This sounds like a great read for women of all seasons of life. I am always looking for more books for mentoring women.

    Reply
  27. Patricia

    Whether I win or not – which of course I plan to do! – I will be reading this book! Thank you for sponsoring this Giveaway.

    Reply
  28. JViola79

    No matter what happens :), I would love to read this book. It sounds wonderful! Oops! So glad you have an “edit” button! I did share on FB because I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out!

    Reply
  29. Michelle Faile

    I would love to read this book, sounds great!

    Reply
  30. Ginger Harrington

    Comparison is so destructive to our hearts and it pushes us right into our flesh, which is never a great place to hang out. You’re book looks really good!

    Reply
  31. Sharita Knobloch

    Second post I have read in the last 15 minutes on this very topic. (Jesus, are you trying to speak to me?) I totally understand the battle of comparison and letting it go— Because God’s opinion is what matters!

    Best of luck with your book journey, Christin… and thanks for hosting, Jennifer!

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you! Love how God does that! 🙂

      Reply
  32. Emma Likens

    What a wonderful sounding book! I can think of several friends who would benefit from this as well!

    Reply
  33. Jennifer Camp

    Wow, I love this so much. I don’t want to be robbed, due to insecurity and envy, from the relationship God wants to have with me. A daily battle, a constant surrender, for me for sure. Thank you, Christin and Jennifer.

    Reply
  34. Kim Adams Morgan

    Understand this all too well. It is hard, but we are supposed to stay in our own lane, and run the race God designed for us. We are the only ones who can do this perfectly. Blessings.

    Reply
  35. susan

    This really spoke to me. It is actually my story. I had a Bible that I interacted with, encircling, highlighting, underlining, drawing connections…back when I was first beginning a relationship with God for myself, instead of just knowing about Him – I still struggle with not feeling like I’m not enough, and I am so grateful that books are being written to help women win this battle. Thank you for writing this book…I’m sure it would be a rich blessing to read it.

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you, Susan… do you still underline and highlight or do you journal now or do something totally different?

      Reply
  36. Jennifer Frisbie

    I was giving myself a pep talk about defeat just yesterday and then I found this here on Jennifer’s site. I would love to read this book. I have my weeks…even months…of feeling like this “comparison” thing is under control. And then out of nowhere I’ve gone and done the 1) I’m not good enough(s) 2) My stuff isn’t as good at her stuff(s) 3) I thought I was doing it right but she does it better(s). Ok, does that make sense? 😉 Consider this my official “I’d love to win this book” comment. Wonderful post, Christin.

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you, Jennifer — I think you’re so right! It’s an ongoing battle and it really catches us off guard sometimes… learning to see it for what it is — that’s a huge step forward.

      Reply
  37. Stephanie Hinz

    I would love to read Christin’s new book. I battle with comparison, embarrassingly every day.

    Reply
  38. Sarah

    Thanks for the great post! Adding her book to my reading list!

    Reply
  39. Jill

    I think this book looks great and would love to win a copy!

    Reply
  40. Christy

    I often struggle with comparing my spiritual life with other believers. I feel guilty when I’m not on a “spiritual high” all the time. This is my first time reading your blog and I am liking it so far. I realize that everyone has a different relationship with God, which makes it all the more special. Thanks for sharing this post. I’m glad I’m not the only one. (I would love to read this book!)

    Reply
    • ChristinDitchfield

      Thank you, Christy! I’ve decided to be much more… not just transparent, but specific when I’m talking about the ways that I relate to and connect with God in my personal life, especially with younger family members and friends I mentor, so that they understand this sooner, and so that they get a bigger picture, more ideas of ways they might be drawn to connect with Him. So they don’t feel like they’re the only ones 🙂

      Reply
  41. Elizabeth Stewart

    I remember having Bible envy quite a few times over the years. It’s a blessing to “come into your own” and accept yourself the way God does!

    Reply
  42. Laurie Collett

    Letting it go is something God has been dealing with me about recently. Thanks for the beautiful post and for hosting & God bless!

    Reply
  43. Guest

    Oh how this book sounds like it will apply to exactly where I’m at right now. I am struggling with many things that I must let go of or they will pull me under. I would love to win a copy of this book. 🙂

    Reply
  44. Selena Campbell

    This book sounds like it would be a blessing for exactly what I’m going through right now. There are so many things that I need to let go of, or they will pull me under. I would love to win a copy of this book. I also shared this giveaway on facebook. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Reply

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  16. Choosing The Light - Precepts & Life Preservers - […] Faith with Kelly Balarie for the #RaRaLinkup and later today with Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory linkup! Want inspiration? Check…

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