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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Sister's Appearance

At Remuda we have a group devoted specifically to boundaries. It's called Boundaries Group. I’m pretty sure everyone in the world should attend. I had no idea I was so clueless about them/bad at them. I’m afraid of boundaries. I'm afraid of hurting people's feelings by setting my own, and I can be offended or hurt when people set them with me. This lovely picture illustrates my lack of knowledge/desperate attempt to learn:

There are several "Boundary Laws," but I'm only going to extrapolate on this one today:
 Law #8: The Law of Envy/Comparison..

True or false: envy and jealousy are synonymous. 

So Let’s have a little vocabulary lesson, yes? Jealousy is when someone has something that is/was yours. Which is why in the scriptures God says, “I am a jealous God.” It doesn’t mean we have something He wants, it means we are HIS. Sometimes we act like we aren’t because other “gods” have a hold on us. Like the God of Materialism. The God of Vanity. Or in my case, the Gods of Gym and Body Obsession aka Frank. When I'm wrapped up in Frank, God is jealous because these false gods have possession of me, though I don't belong to them.

Envy is when someone has something we want. And Coveting is Envy on steroids.  I've struggled with this boundary with my little sister, Sarah, since before I was old enough to know what I was doing. I coveted her looks. She has legs for days, straight blonde hair and big blue eyes. And I don’t. And I never have. And I never will. I dwelled on that for years, not realizing that my covetous attitude was hurting HER. Im sure it felt terrible to have her big sister put her on a pedestal for things she has no control over. 

This boundary law really hit me over the head because I realized that I’m breaking a commandment: “thou shalt not covet.”

What was I coveting by clinging to my eating disorder?? I was coveting every body shape I wished I had been born with. I was coveting a naturally emaciated, boyish body that I was not born with and that I’ve never had. I was not appreciating the gift God gave me; I was destroying myself wanting something else. And it poisoned me and my life. God knew what he was doing when he gave us those commandments. That one especially I think is to save us from our own selves.

The steps for turning envy into gratitude are:

  1. Grieve what you don’t/and can’t have. I can’t have an emaciated body and be healthy. I can’t have blue eyes and blonde hair like Seth and Sarah and Mom. I can't have 10 foot long legs like my sisters Sarah and Jess. I can grieve that, and then I can move on and love what I do have. Thick hair, green eyes, legs that carry me around.
  2. Take responsibility for your own misery. It is not Sarah’s fault that she was born with a look that I want. It’s not her fault it made me sad. The circumstance itself was not responsible for my misery; it was my thoughts about the circumstance. Not having blue eyes didn’t make my life miserable, but dwelling on it certainly did.
  3. Actively seek what you can have and go after it. I should say actively seek what you can have as your healthier self and go after it. I can’t have skinny long legs, but I can have strong legs that let me do things I love. I can’t have blonde, straight hair, but I can nourish my body so that my hair is shiny and thick and pretty. I can’t look like my sister, but I can look like me and I can take care of me and I can learn to appreciate me.

That's pretty awesome.


  1. I love this post, Camilla. Everyone should read this!

  2. You're awesome, Camilla! :)

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  4. Wow, how profound! Your bullet list of wisdom is going straight into my journal, and I know I'll be passing this along to others. Do you mind if I pin this on pinterest? (I know I'll want to read this many times for my own growth, for teaching our kids-- especially our daughter-- and for youth or RS callings.) Keep rocking recovery, lady!

    1. You never need to ask, please pin it or share it or read it or anything :)

  5. Thank you for sharing this. Wise words we can all learn from and practice.

  6. I've been reading your posts from the beginning and never commented but this post REALLY made me think. I have a best friend (that has pretty much been a sister to me) that is tall, super skinny, and beautiful. I've ALWAYS wanted what she has in looks/height. I need to be happy with what I have. Thanks for this post!