Have you ever prayed honest and vulnerable prayers. The exposing kind? Prayers like “Teach me humility.” or “Show me the blind spots in myself.” Or like David prayed in the Psalms, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.” I like to do this every so often. Not very often because let us be honest who loves embracing the hard reality of our not so nice parts? (Just me?) I like to ask the one who knows me better than I know myself, “What do you see?” And it’s generally amazing what follows. Sometimes I’ll feel the Father’s pure pleasure and other times I’ll see my own heart clearer. I’ve felt Him highlight many things and then I’ve sought help to work through them. It’s not always easy but a healthy heart is worth the effort. It’s worth facing the painful stuff.
In my last blog I spoke about my personal battles in overcoming comparison. This is something I feel gets highlighted in me from time to time. And I’m grateful. Knowing the issues gives me power over them. The power to act and make choices that will bring unthinkable joy and peace into my life. And so continuing on in this idea of comparison I have been thinking a lot lately how comparison and envy are close friends. Envy is a powerful emotion. It’s an enemy of our hearts, did you know that? A real life problem that sees us wanting what someone else has and blaming “whoever” and “whatever” for what we may lack. It’s not a girl thing, it’s a human thing. Envy will steal our joy and wreck our relationships.
James says in the Bible,“You covet (long after, envy and strive for) but you can not get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.” (James 4:2)
Ain’t that the truth? We strive after what we are jealous of? What we think should be ours. I often think if I lived alone without anyone around me, no social media, no tv, no yummy mummies, nothing; if it was just me what and who would I be? Culture and people are shaping us for good or for bad and it is important to recognise when our emotions, especially envy is driving our behaviour? Because it’s the jealousy that causes the fight. The internal battle and the external unrest with the world around us. The old saying is true, “Jealousy makes you nasty!”
And the thing is, what do I gain from feeling hard done by, because I don’t have what you have? How is my life enriched in any way when I dwell here? It’s not. Jealousy takes and it demands. And I don’t want to give it that kind of room in my life. Jealousy breeds victims and I know that I am not a victim. I’m victorious and strong. I’m not an orphan but chosen. I’m not a poor man but rich because of what I have been freely given by God. I deserve nothing and lack nothing. That is the reality and the truth. But yet we fight this and we let envy take up way to much real estate in our hearts. And then (as if all the other stuff is not enough?) we wonder why we’re unhappy, unfulfilled and depressed? Blaming God and people for what we think we should have or what we think we deserve or what we believe is our “right” only leads to disillusioned behaviour. It leads to competitive striving and dangerous isolation. It shapes us into strange version of ourselves. Warped images of the people we are destined to become.
And so how do we kick that Green-eyed monster to the curb? How do we evict him from our hearts and take ownership for our own lives?
CELEBRATION. (Honour. Acknowledge. Enjoy) Celebration kills jealousy. Every time. This is our weapon. So why don’t we use it?
We need to celebrate the things in people that we are jealous of. It is that simple. The success of others. The strengths of others. The stuff that we have started to envy. The things we think we deserve. The house we wish was ours. The body we long after. The platform someone else has the privilege of standing on. The families that inspire us. The people who have gone ahead of us. The ones who are excelling in their sphere of life. The people who are deeply fulfilled within themselves. The prettier ones. The more confident ones. The wanderlust travellers. The romantic lovers. The list goes on and on. There is no other way around this. And you may think this idea of celebration is hard, but honestly dealing with the heavy hearted and unhappy state that jealousy brings is way more difficult. Celebration is the very thing that will bring freedom. I know this to be true.
So celebrate today. (What are we so afraid of?)
Tell yourself you are awesome. Look for the good in your life. It is there. You just may not know it yet.
Tell your husband or wife that who they are and what they are doing is incredible. Celebrate their success and promote them in every way. There is far to much competition in marriages and it’s killing intimacy and friendship. We are not in competition with our spouses. (Come on). We’re in a partnership, when they win, we win. It’s a team effort. So celebrate them. Privately and publicly and in your own heart. You honestly have nothing to lose.
Tell your colleagues and friends that there is gold within them. Call it out. Speak it further. Unleash forensic praise and tell them what you see. Literally tell them, through whichever medium you choose, that you see huge potential in them. Speak into the very things you envy. And watch it lose it’s power. Get a kick out of watching envy get evicted from your heart. You’ll be amazed at the freedom and joy that follows.
We’re so scared of telling people that they’re amazing in case it diminishes our own worth. Let’s step out of the fear and into the full and beautiful life God has for us. Life that is marked by freedom. Freedom from comparison and envy. We can be free from the clutches of envy and the destruction it produces in our hearts but we have to be willing to overcome our own insecurity and realise that there is power in our words if we would use them to celebrate.
Take a step towards freedom today and celebrate with everything you’ve got. Your heart is worth the effort. You heart will thank you for it.