A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30
I don’t know about you but I’d rather have healthy bones in my body. The above scripture portray’s the fairly (or absolutely- if you will) negative impact jealousy and envy can have on our lives. And my bones felt the pull towards envy decay right off the bat this week. (I find that God has not waited to provide practice opportunities for my “love attribute of the week”. First day of “Do not envy” and it’s go time. Oh let the fun begin!)
Envy/Jealousy versus Contentment Moment #1-with my brother-
As I walked around my brother’s new property I was in awe. Of our creator God. The pink sky I felt I could reach out and touch. The snow covered mountain on my right. The quiet wrestling of trees all around me. Majesty. Apparent everywhere my eyes rested. Majesty. Of a God with such creativity and wonder. Majesty. Of a place to live. It was here where my spirit filled thoughts went to garbage town. It started with one simple question. “Why not me?” I wanted this. I wanted something I didn’t have. And then the compare. “Why does he get “majesty living” and I get “too close for comfort, in town living?”
But right about at this point I stopped the “envy train”. And I blowed the whistle on a discontented attitude. “Love does not envy” was the train’s new direction. “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) kept the mental train on the right track. I thought about all the things about where I live that I have to be thankful for and the train was running full steam ahead. I began to get a burst of excitement when I pictured my brother’s family getting this joy filled gift from God. A place of peace and beauty in the upcoming new season. A place to provide hospitality for others. A place of rest after many busy years. A place to enjoy God and enjoy others. (Now there was no way the mental train was turning back.)
Thank you God for my home. Thank you God for all your good gifts that come from above. Thank you God for providing this good gift to my brother.
Envy/Jealousy versus Contentment Moment #2-with my husband-
I was on a run and praying through what area’s of jealousy/envy I am unaware of in my life. The scripture reading for the day on my Bible App for my phone was Isaiah 56. A portion of it talks about the wicked being those who love sleep. (Bummer. Guess I am in the wicked camp on this one.) Just that morning I looked over at my husband who was resting so peacefully. And I, in turn, threw off my covers with such frustration that I hit myself in the face. It began with a simple question, again, (you would think I would catch the trend here), “Why not me?” I once again wanted something I didn’t have. The grass is greener on the other side…of the bed. Followed up by the comparison trap again, “Why does he get to sleep while I have to get up early to work out, write, and/or have time with God?” Unfortunately I stayed in this discontented, distasteful state until I read the above Isaiah passage. God’s Word is so timely and applicable to our current life situations. It allowed me, once again, to take a good look at myself in the mirror. And in this case, see clearly I had an envy issue. Oh how lovely to see our flaws laid out before us. But oh how gracious of a God to accept, forgive, and give us His Holy Spirit to help us overcome.
Envy/Jealousy versus Contentment Moment #2-with my girls-
My youngest daughter had a timely question, “Mom, what does jealousy mean?” (Oh how she didn’t know she had hit on the hot topic/love attribute word of the week! I was pumped to share! But I had to take it down a notch. Or maybe two. I put my researched data on hold for a moment and entered into her world.) “Well, I am so glad you asked, honey. And why do you ask?” My daughter promptly replied, “My friend said she was jealous I got to go in a hot tub at my Nana’s house because she wanted to go in one.” What a God ordained conversation we got to have about being content with what we have. That Jesus wants us to do our best not to compare ourselves, our toys, activities, opportunities, and gifts to what others have.
Fortunately, the Lord gave my girls opportunities to practice this jealousy concept after our trip to the dollar store. (Can I just say I have a love/hate relationship with this place? At the time I feel I am getting myself or my girls so much for so not much money. Then my elation dwindles on the car ride home as the stuffing from the snake is coming out of the rip and the hula hoop breaks in half after one day of good fun. Now I am forced to sow back together a $1 snake and tape or buy a new hula hoop that actually works. Obviously this recent wound has not healed yet.) Since my oldest daughter was at school when I took my youngest daughter, we just bought her the same things only different colors. Mistake of the century. Apparently. My oldest daughter cried for more time than you would imagine as she envied, “I wanted the mermaid with the blond hair, not red hair! And I wanted a different colored cup!”
We look to Jesus to not fall into the more, more, “Green eyed monster” ways. Into the “I want what they have” thoughts on repeat. The envy. The jealousy. Is. All. Around. Us. Greed and the lust for more is rampant (Luke 12:15). The contented, thankful, enough mindset is not valued and practiced. May we be the light in our world to usher ourselves and others into a contented. Restful. Grateful spirit. For the blessings God has given us abound.
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.” Philippians 4:11
“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5
© 2012 Standing on Peace