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Dealing with envy

If you’re anything like me, your social media feed is probably full of friends (and even some random people) with pictures or updates of weddings, babies, new homes, new jobs etc. Again, if you’re anything like me, you might ‘like’ some, ‘love’ others, and on the odd occasion, even make a comment. And this, after you’ve thought to yourself, ‘please, not another perfect family picture!’

That might seem like a harmless thought but recently I’ve been thinking. Is it possible that beneath my snide comment on the side (albeit to myself) lies something a bit more sinister- envy?

You see, whether it’s envying someone’s seemingly perfect marriage, new baby, job, or home, the bottom line is that when we look at what someone else has and start comparing it to what we have, we run the risk of becoming ungrateful. If we’re envying someone else, it’s almost like saying, God hasn’t blessed me like that person, so He hasn’t blessed me enough.

This post is not meant to berate anyone, so I want to share how I try to deal with envy.

I count my blessings
It may sound so simple, and that’s because it is! We have so much to be thankful for, and when we start to list them one by one, we realise that we don’t have much to complain about. Of course, there’ll always be something we want that we can’t have, or have to wait a while for, but it doesn’t in any way diminish what God has already blessed us with. Today, I thank God daily for my husband (that was some answer to prayer), my job, my family, friends, good health, provision and my home, just to name a few. If you think hard enough, the list is endless.

I actively rejoice with the person I feel envious towards
This one takes practice. But it’s not about pretending either. Whereas before I would scroll through social media making comments to myself, now instead of ignoring people’s posts, I take out time to congratulate them, and wish them well. Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice, so I’ve learnt to celebrate other people’s successes.

I use whatever I might feel envious about as motivation to sort out a particular aspect of my life
For example, if someone has just gained a qualification that I’ve always wanted to get, instead of thinking how perfect their life is, I see it as motivation to get off my backside and do what I need to do to make it happen. It’s not about competing with each other but about making sure that I’m living my life to the full, using my gifts and being the best person God has created me to be.

I talk about it
That’s part of the reason I wrote this post. I voice it out to myself, or talk to someone else. I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, and I find that talking helps me acknowledge the problem, get other people’s advice and see things more rationally.

I focus on the eternity
Having an eternal mind set has made the biggest difference to me, when it comes to dealing with envy. Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we begin to think differently from the world, we realise that we don’t have to be in competition with anyone, or join the so called rat race. When I remember what’s really important in the grand scheme of things, I start to focus less on what I have or don’t have, and focus more on how I can extend God’s kingdom. I constantly remind myself that when I die, all that would matter is what I did with the gifts God gave me and how I used them for His glory. I look forward to hearing ‘well done, good and faithful servant’.

In life, we don’t always get what we want, and there will be situations we’re not able to do anything to change. When this happens it is worth remembering that God has a specific plan for each of our lives, and if we are patient and trust Him, we will soon begin to see the bigger picture. We may never understand on this side of eternity why some things never happen, or take longer than others, but that’s where trust comes in. Jeremiah 18 details the story of the potter and the clay. God is the potter, and we are the clay; He can do with us whatever He wants. But we can rest assured in the knowledge that our God and Heavenly Father only wants what is good for us and will only give us the absolute best.

How do you deal with envy in your life?

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