I didn’t go to many sleepovers growing up, but I do remember one at my best friend Shannon’s house. I was so excited! As we drove up the street of her neighborhood I felt like I’d stepped into a different world. The trees stood a little taller and a little greener. And the houses were definitely larger.
When we crossed over the gated entry of her home, I was in awe. Her house was huge. I mean like mansion type huge. Shannon gave me the grand tour including an introduction to her personal maid but not before a quick stop to show me where the elevator was. I had literally stepped into an experience so grand, so different from what I knew. And then something happened. I was completely blindsided by this emotion that I could feel rising up in me.
I was so stinking jealous! Like really, really jealous!
It was in this moment I realized she had something I didn’t have but desperately wanted. When I went back to my home the next day you can imagine the way in which I now viewed my possessions. Although my home was just perfect the day before, this day was different because I now saw it all through the lens of comparison.
Jealousy is down right ugly and most of us struggle with it somewhere in our lives. It’s dismissed, often hidden, and not talked about much. Jealousy is an unholy craving for something we do not have. Whether it’s status, personality, talents, or a relationship…at its core it is destructive. It robs us of the good in front of us while leading to an ungrateful heart.
James chapter 3 says, “Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”
Jealousy is the enemy of unity. It divides. It isolates. It chokes out gratitude.
Tragically, jealousy prevents us from celebrating another’s ‘moment’ because we selfishly crave our own. Jealousy asks the questions, What about me? Where’s mine? When is it my turn? Or even worse…Why her or him? Jealousy speaks the lie that says, “There’s not enough to go around! And when God was handing out looks, personality, gifts, favor, noses, whatever…He ran out of the good stuff and gave the leftovers to you.” Ugh! It’s ugly!
It gets worse because jealousy and insecurity are partners in crime. If jealousy is craving what we don’t have then insecurity is devaluing what has been given and entrusted to us. And what we do possess is never ‘good enough’ compared to someone else and so we minimize ourselves.
This is the place where the battle is real and there is so much at stake! Insecurity leads us to feel small and insignificant. It leads us to shrink back and shut down. Our enemy is victorious if he can divide through jealousy and immobilize through insecurity.
A couple of years ago, I was battling jealousy and insecurity…again. Discouraged and frustrated I went in my backyard to pray. I pulled out my journal to pour out all of the injustices I was feeling. I started writing feverishly. This entry was different from my others and became a confession. A confession of how I see myself when I don’t fully embrace who I am. It was time to speak truth to the jealousy and insecurity. I don’t make a habit of sharing my journal entries with others (like ever) but, I feel led to with this one because maybe these words are for you too. Maybe they’ll help nudge you to take a step of imperfect progress towards being free from your chains of jealousy and insecurity. Maybe they’ll help you see clearer how beautifully made you are and that God didn’t leave out a thing. Here goes…
The sunset and stars make their way into evenings light
Birds sing a final chorus to the days song as frogs pick up where they left off
I’m surrounded by peace as creation just does their thing
That which You’ve made them to be
Why not me?
Does the sun wish it was the ocean?
Does a star really dream about falling to the earth?
As the rocks cry out in silent praise do they envy the dazzling moon?
I don’t think so!
They get what they are and how wonderfully they’ve been made
Their special job in bringing You praise
So why do WE just a little lower than Thee whimper, whine and complain?
Why do WE question the value of that which You’ve made?
To the right and to the left we look; Comparison our navigating friend
Screaming out lies and slandering the Wise One who has made US to contend!
Insecurity rises to silence the Almighty’s plans
Attempts to satisfy insatiable cravings lead us right into Destruction’s hands
Why do we want what others have?
The glory; the fame; the looks; the car; the man who prays or stays?
Oh, eyes lift up higher and shift your desire towards all that’s been granted your way!
There’s enough to go around…HEAR ME SAY, THERE IS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND!
So stop grabbing, lusting, stop warring for nothing
It’s not yours; never was…leave it be!
Instead…treasure today what Majesty has made and display it with honor and humility
May you discover where jealousy and insecurity reside in your heart and allow the Lord to lead you to a place of being free and firmly rooted in His love.
There’s no easy prescription for overcoming jealousy and insecurity, but this week in Unglued Chapters 9 & 10, we were given some helpful tools to help retrain our minds and hearts when we begin to feel jealous and insecure.
- Saturate ourselves in God’s word
This is where we let the truth of God penetrate deep within us to remind us that we are made uniquely, with special gifts given to us as means to build up one another.
- Surround ourselves with life givers
We develop relationships in our lives where honor, encouragement, and love are core values.
2. Pray for those we feel jealous towards
Oh, this one is hard! But praying and blessing another person is helpful when we’re harboring jealousy towards someone. We retrain our heart and mind how to respond in love.
3. Practice being grateful as we carry our own loads
The bottom line is this… God has entrusted each of us with something to carry and steward that is uniquely for us. When we want what someone else and overlook what’s been given to us we become ungratefully stuck on the sidelines of our own lives with longings that will never be satisfied.