Jealous and envy aren’t the easiest subjects to discuss in self reflection. You’ll find thousands of quotes online that are more focused on handling jealousy when it’s more directed towards us instead of when it’s coming from the inside . Yet, if we’re honest many of would have to admit that we’ve battled the gut pitting feeling of dealing with both jealousy and envy ourselves.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bone rot. Proverbs 14: 30
Again, not to many of us are immune to feeling jealous or envious. It’s not an everyday feeling hopefully for you, but it’s something most of us have experienced in our lifetime thus far.
- Jennifer’s children seem to be the most well behaved children in your mom group. They make good grades in school, and like their mother they’re charismatic. While on the other hand you’re constantly questioning your motherhood in wondering what you did wrong since your children are struggling learners, no matter how much you clean their noses it seems like your children’s faces have a speck of dirt, and being social awkward is a universal family theme! Why does Jennifer get the perfect family?
- You took a leap of faith in walking in your calling to inspire others as an author and speaker. You join a networking empowerment group to connect with other women in the a smiliar field. You tried everything that was shared in the group to grow your platform in reaching others, but you seem to be forever at a stand still. New member Rebecca enters in the group with the desire to grow the same, and in six months she has a 1,000 page Likes, a bestselling book, is sought after speaker, and after a year in the group you’re only at base of 500 Instagram followers.
- Your cousin Michelle just purchased her dream home, recently found love with the prospect of being engaged, and has a rewarding career. You’re struggling to find sense in acquiring a degree after several dead end jobs, student loan debt, and at middle age have giving up on finding true love. Deep down you’re struggling inside to say” Hey, cuz I’m happy for you!”
- Your children’s step mother looks like she just walked off the cover of a fashion magazine. She gets along well with your children, and they love spending time with her. She and your ex husband seem to have the perfect life traveling, driving nice cars, live in a beauiful home, and have a loving relationship. Meanwhile, imprinted in your mind is the pain, hurt, and struggle you experienced within the two of you all’s marriage. Dog gone it why does his new wife and life have to be so darn fabulous!
Are Jealousy & Envy The Same?
Depending on who you ask you’ll get a different response on whether jealousy and envy are the same. In actuality jealousy and envy are not the same. The two are synonymous, but they both are driving by different motives. Jealousy is laced with an emotional rivalry, competitiveness, and apprehension. Envy on the other hand is garned with resentment, bitterness, hatred, and wrath. Basically, I could be jealous that you have on a pretty white dress, but my envy of you wearing the dress would cause me to walk by you with grape juice in having an” accidental” spill. A person’s jealousy may have them in their feelings that someone is more well liked at the office than themselves, but envy would cause that same person to do a thorough background check on “Ms. Popularity” divulging on her darkest pasts to shame her to the rest of her co-workers.
So, put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy, and all slander. 1 Peter 2: 1 ESV
The Double Dangers of Envy
There are two dangers that we must be aware of as believers regarding the evils associated with envy. Depressed envy can cause us to be withdrawn, deeply sadden, defeated, and to question our worth. Hostile envy causes us to take all those bottled up feelings into action using our resentment to inflict harm, damage, or innate confusion towards others because of those issues.
Breaking Down Those Green Walls
Although we may not be immune to feeling jealous or envious we can take our power back over those emotions in living for Christ with these simple steps:
- Stop making comparisons: We are each uniquely designed and created by God for his purpose. That goes for our families as well. We all have our distinctive path that God has aligned us to follow not for punishment for our struggles, but for a greater purpose for his Kingdom. Although, most of my mommy friends don’t have the same challenges as my family they have their own issues of concerns within their own families. It’s not for any of us to boost in magnifying the good we have more than others, and it’s not for us to question our faith in God within processing the difficult challenges in comparison with others.
- Trust in God’s timing. When a flower blooms it simply blooms without competing with the flower next to it. A flower blooms when God determines that it’s time to bloom. I witnessed in my own yard flowers that seemed to peek into bloom not soon after they were planted. Other times just when all then other flowers seemed to die down in waiting for next season’s bloom bam there’s a single bloom from a patient little flower waiting for it’s turn.
- We all have our public face and our private battles. We all have our public face in which we put our best face of our image forward in presentation to others. Privately only a few know what many of us secretly battle individually and within our families. I was told a year ago by a friend that I had the “perfect” family image from my blog. I joked with that friend in asking her “Have you ever read my blog?” I shared with her as I do in writing transparently the struggles I battle as a wife, mother, friend, and having to fight my own insecurities in doing what I do. We all have vulnerabilities, and our vulnerabilities are presented differently as we ourselves are unique.
- Be happy for others. Be genuinely happy for others. When we let go of bitterness we open our hearts to readily receive all that God has for us. We can’t be judge and jury of to whom God blesses. It’s not about being fake in hiding feelings of seeing others prosper in not wanting to prosper ourselves. It’s about living a life a life of gratitude in being thankful for what you do have not comparing it as low becaus others look like they are on high. Heal from the past being of clean heart in seeing other blessed (even those who have hurt us) allows us to see what God has in store for our blessings.
- Create a learning admiration of others. Instead of becoming resentful of others through envy take the good from the matter in seeing what you can learn from them. Hint, not compete with them though. I believe there is something to learn within each situation or relationship. Instead of being annoyed by your popular outgoing counterpart see what qualities you could learn from them applying it if necessary in your own life. It’s not about being a copy cat or trying to create a duplicate of anyone. It’s about creating a positive learning experience within operating in Christ’s than living in the darkness of hatred.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant. 1 Corinthian 13: 4