she seemed to have it all – beauty, talent, a nice house, well-behaved children, adoring husband, a heart after God, a truly successful and seemingly perfect life. it made my flaws seem much more – flawed. enter – jealousy. my jealousy.
a jealous heart. envy. the green-eyed monster. the battle within.
it seethes secretly behind a forced smile. it lashes out through morsels of gossip. it rules the darkened covetous heart that would try to hide the truth. it rages terrible lies and distorted views of reality. it raises its ugly head seeking to bring destruction to those who would stand in its path.
Sounds awful doesn’t it? It is. And admittedly, a struggle I’ve walked out over time. The battle within my own heart that daily challenges many others in our world. If you find yourself there, you’re not alone. It’s just not talked much about. We justify our feelings. It’s swept under the rug. It’s kept in the neat little compartmentalized box of our heart. But it’s there. Waiting to bring you down.
According to Webster, the word jealous means “resentful and envious, as of someone’s success, achievements, advantages.”
Jealousy and envy are closely related. “Jealousy is feeling threatened that someone will take what is yours. Envy is feeling resentful that someone has, or is getting, something that you want, or feel is more rightfully yours.” The common link between the two is that jealousy and envy are both made real when I “want” what another person has. I want to look like them. I want the success they have achieved. I want the job they have. I want to own what they own. I want to be who they are. I want the relationships that are theirs.
I realized over time that quite simply, jealousy is never about the “other” person. It’s about me. My fault. My sin. My weakness.
And that is the first step to freedom from this all too common plague in our culture.
Admit the truth. Turn to God. Turn away from the jealous heart. The first step to defeating jealousy begins by changing our thinking.
Release the stress of wanting to be the “best.” Someone else will always be more successful, more beautiful, more talented, more intelligent, more…more…more… Let it go. Be content with who YOU are. Find your sense of fulfillment and purpose in God.
Expose it for what it is. It’s wrong. Stop covering for yourself. Stop justifying negative feelings towards someone else under the guise of “righteousness.” “They just bought a bigger house, wow, they should have given that money to a ministry.” “She may be talented, but did you see what she was wearing?” “Yes, he’s a great speaker, but seems a little prideful to me.”
Over time, when jealousy is allowed to grow and reign in a life – it will most assuredly lead to much more:
A distorted view of God – “He must love them more than me.”
A distorted view of ourselves – “I deserve what they have.”
A distorted view of others – “They shouldn’t have that.”
It is like a cancer, a malignant growth that will darken your spirit and soul. We are wasting precious days of life with controlling, negative emotions when we choose to walk this path.
So, seriously, “why” do we react towards others with such ugly emotions as this? Jealousy comes from deep roots within. Sometimes the reasons are many and varied and often this destructive pattern is built over years. Here’s a few common sources –
We compare ourselves to others.
We are insecure.
We are afraid.
We feel a sense of entitlement.
We are “me” focused.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Find the greatness and strengths within yourself. God has given YOU so much. Focus on how to use those gifts to be a blessing to others, instead of wanting what you do not have. His purpose for you is unique. Embrace it.
Believe the truth of what God says about you. Stop the negative self-talk. It will lead you down a steep path towards destructive thinking and depression. God believes the best within you. Choose to believe it yourself.
Stop allowing fear to be a trap in life. We live in so much fear in this world. Worry, stress, fear of the future, fear of rejection, fear of failure – it’s too much. Choose to set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. Stop living for the approval of other people, you will never please everyone.
Stop the complaining. Practice thankfulness. True gratefulness does not leave room for whining about what we don’t have. We often want what others have, but we’re not willing to put forth the effort that they might have worked at, in order to achieve their goals.
Stop focusing on yourself or worrying about “you” so much. Choose to walk in the opposite spirit of jealousy – walk in love. Walk in the spirit of encouragement towards others. Speak a kind word. Offer help. Celebrate with others in their joys or success. Stop holding back from doing what would be kind to do, or to say. It is often a “choice,” not dependent on how we “feel,” but in time, we actually begin to live fully in all the freedom that it brings.
There is hope. When you begin to change your thinking and walk in truth, time goes by and you realize that the things that once made you feel jealousy, no longer do. Its grip loosens. The chains fall away. The ugly monster is silenced by beauty from deep within. Replaced by sheer grace. God’s grace. In Him, there is freedom. Walk in it. Breathe. Peace.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Proverbs 27:4
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” James 3:16
“Love…does not envy.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
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