Man, I’m not one for horses and buggies, but lately there is just something so appealing about that era. An era where social media didn’t exist, greatly reducing the number of people you could compare yourself to. Lately, I’ve felt so inadequate. Not surprising given my circumstance I suppose, and any number of you I’m certain would reaffirm for me just how special I am. But sometimes, even the best of girlfriends can’t bring truth to your ears in a way you can hear it.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit how I sometimes feel jealous of other people. Whether it’s their looks, their success, their picture perfect families, their bling, their bank account…you name it. Do you ever feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, isn’t it?
Irrational thoughts often prevail when looking at our life through the lens of jealousy. We know only the best photos get shared for the world to see…because we’re guilty of it, too. Yet, we are still enamored over Sally’s Chiclet-white teeth, Barbara’s size 2 waist and perfect derriere, and the fact that Nancy has enough energy to play the role of a “cool, hands-on” mom and flirty, laid back wife.
And right then, while scrolling through our newsfeed, we’re left feeling emotionally and physically inadequate.
But, here’s the thing – being jealous or envious of others’ looks or lifestyles is blatantly against God’s Word. “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30, NIV).
Being jealous implies that someone has what you think you need in order to feel happy or fulfilled. And implies that God has denied (or is denying) you something you need in order to fulfill your purpose.
If we are jealous of someone’s brand new car, that implies that we think we need one in order to feel happy or fulfilled.
If we are jealous that so-and-so got pregnant that implies that we think we need to do the same in order to feel happy or fulfilled.
If we are jealous of someone’s marriage, or their promotion, or their physical attributes, that implies that we think we need to be married, be promoted, or look different in order to feel happy or fulfilled.
These feelings of jealousy are a sign that we’re wavering in our faith because scripture says, “God will supply [our] every need” (Philippians 4:19, NET). When you find yourself comparing and your mood flip-flopping for the worst, remember that your journey was uniquely designed by God for you, before you were even born.
Each of our journeys contain ups and downs, twists and turns, and plenty of loop-de-loops that were meant for no one else but us. They’re distinctly ours. My valley may last a little longer than your peak, but my path may be a little less loopy or chaotic. Each climb to success and each fall to despair are intended to teach us, mold us, and ready us for the next big maneuver in OUR life. Not someone else’s.
Remember, those that seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10, NIV). Although we may think we “need” different material or physical attributes, we can rest in the truth that if God agreed, we would have them. And maybe He does agree, but now isn’t the time. If something is in God’s will, it’ll happen in His timing, and it will bring Him glory. We must not forget that!
If there is something about someone else’s journey that you long for, spend some time with God and in His Word. Completely surrendering to God will reveal that He knows His plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Remember, your longings and material desires reveal that something in your relationship with God is missing. “Things” won’t quench our desires…but He will.
And, if you really, really want that car, or baby, or marriage, or promotion, then certainly ask Him for it. For “whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22, ESV). But be patient and trust the LORD. Don’t let it bother you when all goes well for those who do sinful things. And don’t be angry or frustrated…that only leads to trouble (Psalm 37:7-8).
So today, let’s rid ourselves of all envy of every kind (1 Peter 2:1, NIV) so that we can inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21, NIV). Once we bid farewell to envy, we can then replace that spot in our heart with the trust that God knows what is best.
Keep praying, friends. Don’t you dare give up hope for what it is you desire, but don’t feel jealous (or defeated!) if your timing doesn’t match someone else’s. Trust God. And trust His timing.