Photo by Ronaldo de Oliveira
“Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.” Job 5:2 (NLT)
Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in your stomach after hearing someone’s good news or success? I have.
Have you ever tried to be happy for someone for their blessing and couldn’t?
I wasn’t aware of the sinking feeling in my stomach until God put a finger on it.
On a Wednesday afternoon, I received a call from my mum. She was ecstatic on the phone. I was having a not-so-good day(to be honest, a year). I picked up the phone wearily. She said, “Your sister has bought a new car, she just sent me pictures.” I couldn’t hide the sarcasm in my voice as I said, “well, good for her! ” Mum being mum told me, “It’s good to be happy for others even as you wait for your blessings.”
After getting off the phone I was so offended because she had stated I was jealous of my sister. Yet the feeling in my stomach said another story.
That night I had a dream, I was walking on a long dusty road. I was by myself and could feel the loneliness of the journey. There appeared a young man about my age. He had these striking green eyes. I couldn’t stop looking at his green eyes(God has a sense of humor). As he took my hand I felt his grip; it was weak and unimpressive. We walked together on the dusty road but before we reached where we were going, we parted ways then I woke up.
When I woke up I couldn’t shake off the dream. It was so fresh and alive in my heart. I went into prayer and asked the Lord what was the meaning of the dream. He gently said, “ you have been partnering with a spirit of envy. you have been envious of your sisters’ blessings and comparing your life to theirs. “
As much as I wanted to pretend envy was beneath me. God had me by the throat, I couldn’t pretend anymore.
Finally, that sinking feeling in my stomach had a name- envy- I had been struggling with envy.
For a while, I felt like God had put me on the front row seat to my sisters’ lives. I had watched them get married and get children; get jobs, start businesses, while it felt like was running around in a wilderness.
I remember weeping on the floor as I let all those things I had locked deep in my heart come out. I got honest with God and with myself. I also asked him to help me not partner with envy. But celebrate the season my sisters were in as I went through mine.
With time and much prayer, I could look at my sisters’ blessings without the sinking feeling in my gut. I was consciously making a choice to not partner with envy but to choose love.
If you’re struggling with envy, here are a few things to help you:
Acknowledge it. Acknowledging that we are envious is the first step to getting free. God will not heal us from what we pretend isn’t there.
I love what James 3:14 says but if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
We partner with truth by acknowledging we are struggling with envy. It’s easy to rename envy we can call it “offense” “discouragement” or “competitiveness”. But when we finally say, “God I’m struggling with envy help me,” then God can graciously help us walk out His truth.
Celebrate Others. Learning to celebrate others in their winning moments is crucial. It will help us not to fester jealousy. Romans 12: 15a rejoice with those who rejoice. I have learnt a funny thing about life. Sometimes in my season of mourning and heartache, others seem to be in rejoicing. I have to get out of my mourning clothes and rejoice with them. it’s not easy but grace is available.
It’s not easy being a bridesmaid again at another of your friends’ wedding. It’s not easy celebrating your friend’s success when you are wondering when your time will come. It’s not easy going to a sibling’s baby shower when you are praying for a baby.
We can be too preoccupied with our lives that we miss out on what God is doing in other people’s lives. Envy can lie to us that we will be happy for others when our blessings come. However, it becomes a never-ending cycle of everyone is blessed but me.
Yes, your time will come but right now it’s theirs and you can celebrate them.
Awaken yourself sis and celebrate them. Send them a message and tell them you are happy for them. Saying it out loud cancels out the envy trying to wiggle its way into your heart.
Count Your Blessings. The psalmist said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2
Praise I have learnt is a cure for envy.
When we forget how gracious God has been to us we begin to feel envy over other people’s blessings. Be intentional in acknowledging God’s goodness in your life. Thank the lord that your blessing is in progress. See what God has done for you lately and praise him for that.
It’s very hard to be envious of their blessings when you are preoccupied with praising God for yours.
Like the weak grip of the man in my dream, jealousy and envy are a weak response, there is a greater response and that is love.
Paul says, “Since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? “1 Corinthians 3:3b
We have to remember we are people of light and we have been set free from some things. When we choose love over envy we display the kingdom of God and not the kingdom of this world.
Father, thank you for your kindness in pursuing my heart. You will not allow me to settle for envy but will call me to love. Thank you for your grace that lifts me up and enables me to choose to love others instead of feeling envy. I choose to partner with love and to rejoice with others in their success because I know you are a good father and have blessings for me too at the right time. In Jesus name Amen!