Envy is not ordinary issue. It is painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. (Merriam-Webster) Have you ever blame other people for feeling miserable? Something like “If only they weren’t so intellectual or talented then I wouldn’t feel so bad around them! If I only have the attention like my parents give to my sister!” So I listed several ways to overcome envy.
Avoid Comparison Trap- old US President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There are two different things happen when we compare ourselves to other- either we feel bad about ourselves or we become big-headed. Comparing is no use, because it is the ground for inferiority and superiority. It distorts our vision until we could no longer see ourselves in the way that God sees us.
Discipline your Thoughts- Let’s get personal, I want you to look on the mirror and think very slowly, just take your time to think of something you don’t like about yourself- big eyeballs, skin, height, poor memory, haircut, anything. Then think of someone maybe your sister, a friend or classmate that carries the qualities that you wanna have desperately. Like intelligence in Mathematics, talent on playing musical instrument, perfect figure, sense of humor, romantic relationship, possessions, good parents and popularity. By thinking those stuffs how did you feel, thankful or terrible?
Thinking negative thoughts about our reflection or abilities can bring dissatisfaction in our hearts. As cliché says, “Your life today is what your mind conceived yesterday.” Our perpetual habit of thought can manipulate our response to envy. That’s why Paul urges us, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Spirit-filled- for some thinking envy is not a sin and not that really big deal, Solomon the wisest man ever lived on earth wrote in Proverbs 27:4, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Jealousy in other words, is envy. It has potential to be much more vicious. No wonder why Paul in his letter to Galatians ranked envy along sexual immorality, idolatry, drunkenness and many other more. He warned the people that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So how can we fight against it? The answer is actually in the following verses, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Let us not become envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-24, 26)
My second year in college is really frustrating. I mean it, because I am really no good in dealing with numbers. Then God bring me a friend, a dean lister who mentor me in Statistic. I really appreciate her. Yet my insecurity started in the borderline of admiration, “she was so smart” that leads to least envy, “I wish I am like her.” Till I thought she was a hazard to my self-esteem. Like I feel useless around her, etc. Because I’m afraid that I might build a thick wall between us, I started to pray every time I saw her. During the process I realize that envy usually takes place because of something I hate about myself. I hate being brainless in Math! That made me question God, why do you create me like this? I’m just glad God doesn’t use His voice with lightning and storm to answer, He just spoke gently in my heart, “because everything I created is one of a kind.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that we are created unique so that there’s people who can stand strong in weaknesses and they also have weaknesses so we can stand as their strength?
Max Lucado wrote in his book, When God whisper Your Name, “There is correlation between the way you feel about yourself and the way you feel about others. If you are at peace with yourself- if you like yourself- you will get along with others.”
You are loved and one of a kind.