When was the last time you went a day without looking at someone else’s life and wanting some aspect of it? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and felt truly comfortable at the reflection staring back at you? We all struggle with envy. In today’s society we are encouraged to embrace our individuality and just be who we want to be, yet we still find ourselves wanting to be somebody else. If you look around, our world is filled with people trying to suppress little green monsters whispering into their ears. But what if we can never get it to shut up? Only God can help us defeat our jealousy when it threatens to consume our every day lives. To better understand the beast that envy is, I’ve broken it down into three main parts:
- Girl Hating On Girl Envy : I go to a very conservative, Christian college in Grove City, PA. Let me tell you I have never found myself surrounded by so many naturally good looking girls, some of who don’t even need a stitch of makeup, in my entire life. I am a girl who can’t even imagine not at least wearing mascara to my 8am, and I find myself seeing these girls who do absolutely nothing with their appearances showing up to class looking like Grecian goddesses. It is so easy in our culture today to compare ourselves to other girls and hate ourselves for not being what our warped idea of beauty is. We are forced to stare at airbrushed magazine spreads and see commercials with women who are covered in makeup, yet we still strive to emulate their “natural” look. There are so many days I get up and my hair won’t fall the way I want it to, I have a huge eye booger that I have to dig out, and I can’t find anything in my spacious closet that I think will impress other people. We forget that we all have those days and that everyone is just as self-conscious as we sometimes are. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”- Psalm 139: 5. We can recite that verse or verses like that until we are blue in the face, but we still have to believe it. God truly did make us look the way we do and to Him we can be nothing short of beautiful. Just because you feel like you are not as skinny as the girl sitting next to you in class does not make you any less the beautiful, authentic creation God made you to be.
- Competitive Friendships: This the type of jealousy we are sometimes embarrassed to admit we have. For example, this is being envious when your friend on the track team with you beats you in the race. You are happy for you friend, on the surface, but inside you are jealous and annoyed to not be the one who came out on the top. The same is true when your best friend gets a boyfriend and leaves you to be alone with no one to even watch Bridget Jones’s Diary You are so happy for her and you believe she deserves such a great guy, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking but don’t I? Why can’t it be my turn? It can be so hard to learn to be genuinely happy for our friends sometimes and realize that their good fortune is not supposed to make us feel bad. We are called to be the type of friends who love people enough to put our selfishness aside to be truly happy for each other. This is something I definitely still pray about a lot, but God can help give us perspective to put others above our envious tendencies.
- Who’s The Best Christian Envy: When we’re such good Christians don’t we just want everyone to know? We all want to be the one who is the best camp counselor, young life leader, and has the deepest prayer when a group circles up to pray. We strive to be the women in our church that little girls look up to. We can find ourselves spending more time being jealous of our friend’s spiritual gifts instead of focusing our time to decoding our own. God has blessed us all with our own individual distinct gifts. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone is the same God at work.”- 1 Corinthians 12:4. It is important for us to remember that God has purposely given us our gifts for a reason. Sulking at VBS because you were sent to work in crafts instead of teaching the motions for the worship songs does nothing to further His kingdom. Every gift is just as important as the next. We can only be truly happy when our skills are used to glorify Him.
So the next time that the little green monster starts invading your thoughts, ask yourself a simple question: Do you want to be used in an awesome way or do you want to wish your gifts away hoping to be someone else?