Controlling the Green Monster of Envy
"It's healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up." Proverbs 14:30 (CEV)
I was the maid of honor. I was supposed to smile. Be happy. Celebrate another.
But I couldn't do it.
I'm sure I faked it well enough. I mean ... I showed up didn't I? I participated in all of the required events and followed through on all of my responsibilities.
But my heart was like ice.
As the date for the wedding drew near, my heart was breaking. I was angry that it was her and not me. I was disappointed that I still hadn't met "that" guy. You know ... "the" guy. The one I desired to spend the rest of my life with — and who felt the same way about me.
I was tired of celebrating everybody else.
Although my mind directed my heart to revel in the moment of another, my heart was in full-scale rebellion and refused to soften. It was a sheer act of the will that made me show up at all of the functions. It was pure pain to stand next to the bride and watch her get exactly what I longed for myself.
I was jealous.
The green monster of envy had taken up residence inside of me.
Jealousy was an issue for me even before this wedding stuff, but I assumed that infectious green organism was tucked away in a back room somewhere.
I was wrong.
That wedding was the key that unlocked the door and unexpectedly let the creature out of its secure location. Now, it was taking over.
Somewhere down deep, the best of who I am wanted to feel joy for the bride. But I couldn't.
It wasn't an issue of mind over matter. It was an issue of my misery overtaking my mood.
I wish I could say I got control of that green-eyed monster before the actual wedding began. But no.
I'm ashamed to say I allowed my envy to eat me alive. I'm ashamed to say that I was a blot on what was otherwise a beautiful day. And I'm ashamed to say that day was the day of my sister's wedding.
I simply wasn't happy for her. I couldn't be. I was too consumed with myself.
I had spent so much time and energy over the years lamenting the parts of my life I disliked, that I'd unknowingly left the door of my heart wide open.
And when that small green beast slipped in, I didn't kick it out. In fact, I hospitably fed it, nurtured it and coddled it with brooding breakfasts, melancholy midday meals, snacks of sarcasm and dinners of dissatisfactions.
I simply did not take my envy problem seriously and work diligently to get rid of it.
I fed it, and it grew. I became an ugly green girl.
That's what happens when we don't nip envy in the bud. Left unattended, it can become a difficult guest to move out.
While it is not easy to deal with this sin of the heart, it is absolutely necessary if you want your heart to be clean and clear before God.
How do you get rid of a jealous, envious heart?
Give thanks. Learn contentment. But most importantly, love others.
"Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud ..." (1 Corinthians 13:4, CEV)
Where there is love, there is less room for things that oppose it.
You may think: How do I love my way out of jealousy or envy when I don't feel love?
You act like you do. In time, your feelings will follow your feet.
Actively bless that person by looking for opportunities to show your care and concern. Encourage, praise and pray for the person. Practice shifting your mind from your own desires to needs of a sister or brother in Christ.
Love so well that envy has no room to breathe.
That day at the wedding, I fell short of God's call to love. But through His grace, I've been given more chances. And with His strength, I'm more able to kick that green-eyed monster out of my heart.
Father God, forgive me for how I have allowed envy to grow in my heart. Sometimes I don't realize how easy it is to nurture jealousy and before I know it, I have turned into a green girl. Help me as I seek to learn contentment and show love to others in a way that pleases You. Wash my green clean with Your precious blood. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Galatians 5:26, "Let's not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other." (CEB)
Romans 13:13-14, "Let us walk properly as in the daytime ... not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." (ESV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How has envy of another person or a situation affected your ability to experience joy?
What can you do to love your way out of a place of envy? How can you encourage the one whose presence usually brings your green monster out of hiding?
What will you do today to practice thankfulness and to choose contentment?
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