Her text was in all caps: I GOT MY DREAM JOB! I felt something in my gut twist. I tossed my phone down and turned on the water in the shower. I hated feeling this way. I wanted to text back, I am so happy for you!!! I knew the right thing to say but knew my heart felt the wrong thing. This feeling was so painfully familiar: envy.
For me, envy has always been a struggle. But on any given day sloth, pride, greed, and anger can infiltrate my soul like an uninvited guest that I keep letting in the front door. Sin works like that, doesn’t it? I don’t want it to poison my life, but there is something slightly appealing about it. The taste of sin satisfies my bent heart. I hang onto sin because, in a convoluted way, it gives me power. When I nurse my jealousy, it makes me feel justified, right, and strong. I run through imaginary scenarios of why this or that person doesn’t deserve the opportunity they have been given. I can do this with strangers, institutions, churches, and friendships. I can find anything to be envious about.
Oftentimes, the frequency of my jealously can fluctuate. I’ve been able to manage it enough so that it doesn’t ruin my life. I use my own accomplishments, busyness, and adventures to keep my sin under control. But I keep opening the door and letting it invade my inner world. I hold onto it just in case I need it to feel strong again.
If I’m being honest, I don’t want it gone. But it’s also honest to say, “It’s slowly rotting my soul.”
The water was hot over my body. I needed to be cleansed. Like kneading bread dough, I played the stories out in my head again and again. But this time, instead of using sin to give me strength, I saw how terrible it was turning my thoughts. I saw how much I had let envy tangle me up, contort reality, and drive me to dishonesty. I didn’t want to just say the right thing to my friend. I wanted to feel differently. I wanted to be different.
I want to purely celebrate people. I want to believe that another person’s achievement doesn’t diminish my worth. I want to cheer loudly, clap hard, and be the first one to stand up for others’ dreams coming true. But before I can do that, I have to choose another way. I have to close the door to sin. I have to refuse to let sin consume any part of my soul. I have to treat my deceit, lust, resentment, and gluttony like the poison that they are. No sin can give me power, strength, or security. No sin can save me, hold me, or love me back.
I let the water wash over me and wept. Lord, have mercy. It was sad to see how much I had let sin roam freely in my soul.
I’m often afraid to trust that God will meet me in the middle of my mess. It’s hard to hold onto Jesus instead of my jealousy. But I believe there is a better way. God promises the way to freedom is through Jesus. Do I believe Jesus is enough? Timidly, but with assurance, I do believe this. Perhaps it would be safer to say that I’m learning to believe Jesus is my strength, stronghold, and constant; I’ve let sin take residence in my soul for far too long.
For today, and I pray for tomorrow, I am putting my foot down. I am closing the door to the unwanted, slithery, creature of sin that so easily takes up space inside of me. For far too long I’ve put my hope in my ability to manage, maneuver, justify, tone down, and tame my sin. But that’s not the life I want. It cripples and cuts me off from my true source of love. Love is always within reach, but the choice to stand up to my sin or nurse it is always mine.
The real question remains for each of us: What kind of life do we want? Do we want freedom or a soul warped by sin?
I dried off and texted my dear friend back, YOU DID IT! I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! I said the right thing, and my heart began to feel the right way.Leave a Comment
Kim Gibbens says
Thank you for this honest truth. You are not alone in this journey of learning to believe that Jesus is enough.
It could have been me writing these thoughts only instead of feeling envious over a friend’s new job, it would be listening to people share about their grandchildren ( I have 2 grown children with NO interest in having any- my son is married and my daughter is in her third long term relationship) and listening to people share about their children’s very successful jobs (my very intelligent, highly educated daughter tends bar as her career in a biker bar). I know I should be grateful they are all happy and healthy, but instead I see it as a reflection on me. In my mind I obviously wasn’t a good enough mother. And these feelings are so very hard to stop. I pray today I will just love them all for who they are.
I understand – it’s hard to be happy when you have empty arms waiting to hold a child or grandchild. I’m there with you and I too, feel it’s punishment for not being the mother I should have been. So, I try to embrace this cross, love others’ grandchildren when I’m able and carry on. Unfortunately, I feel that our children’s decision will ultimately bring a sadness in their later years that will be their cross as well – and so we pray – for now and the future – for peace and mercy. Love you, my friend.
Anjuli, this is so raw and honest! It makes me wonder what sins (besides this one) I’m inviting in my front door. Time for some self reflection and prayer. Thank you for sharing this.
Maura Michael says
Wow! You put words to exactly how I feel some days.
There is breath taking beauty in vulnerability. Thank you for sharing. Timidly but with assurance!!! Oh, this speaks to me. This paragraph: ❤️
“I’m often afraid to trust that God will meet me in the middle of my mess. It’s hard to hold onto Jesus instead of my jealousy. But I believe there is a better way. God promises the way to freedom is through Jesus. Do I believe Jesus is enough? Timidly, but with assurance, I do believe this.”
Caroline Goff says
Thank you so very much for this! Your honesty. I struggle with jealousy and envy so often. I feel that I am always in a battle to push it down, hide it, fight it. It leaves me feeling so ashamed of my failure to acknowledge all Jesus has done for me. So ungrateful. And those feelings lead me to pull away in shame from God. I am so glad Jesus is my always present ally and mediator. And so grateful for his grace and mercy as He is with me in my struggle. And I am so grateful not to be alone.
Thank for your honesty! This hit me in my gut. I struggle with this too.
When my sister announced her pregnancy, I phoned and squealed and all of the things a future aunt is supposed to do, and then I put down the phone and cried for a week straight. I wasn’t jealous, but I have always wanted kids and well… life hasn’t worked that way for me. I told a trusted friend about it and she helped me see that my feelings were okay and that it wasn’t envy at all, but fear and grief.
Fast forward a year, and I’m in absolutely love with my niece and partially filled my longing for kids by working as an early childhood educator!
Nicolle Aparicio says
You are wonderful. You just said what has been lingering in my own heart, far too long. Thank you. God bless you! -Your sis in Christ, Nicolle
Ooof. I know this internal battle all too well. Especially in seasons of struggle and transition, which seem to be the only seasons I’ve had lately, it is hard to rejoice with those who rejoice. I do wonder if part of the struggle can be the failure for people to also “weep with those who weep” well… Not to say that envy is not still a sin to be reckoned with, but often my envy stems more from my own grief and disappointment and it takes work to process those raw emotions instead of hardening my heart with envy and cynical criticism. Thanks for this honest piece.
W. Mason says
Thanks for your honesty I have been there. I thank God for the strength he gives when we are obedient. God bless you.
Gail Noe says
Thank you for being so honest and letting yourself be vulnerable. Jesus is so much greater and He is conquering your soul with His love.!!!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Envy can eat away at your soul. I know someone who is was envious of another having more than her. As our kind Salvation Army Offer give us bag all the women for Mother day one time with goodies in it. To let us know we were as women loved in our Church. She was envious of her friend and what she had in her bag. She thought her friend had more in her bag than she had. Even though her friends had different things in her bag. She texted me to ask me what I got in my bag. Told me what her friend got. She thought her friend got a better bag than she did. I knew then the Envy or jealousy was setting in. I told her what I got in my bag. I was just so happy to get a bag. That our Church the Officer had thought to give me a bag. Especially when I was not a mother. No never going to be that she never left me out. It was Mother day she did the bag for with the goodies in them which was nice of our Officer. But I wouldn’t have been one bit annoyed if not got a bag at all. Because I was not a Mother. My Officer had just given them to all the Mother’s in our Church. Saying it was for Mother’s day our Offer was giving them out. The fact I got one made me smile and thank God all the more. That my Officer had not forgotten me. Infact she gave to all the women in our Church. For Mother’s day. But this person was letting it eat at her the thinking her friend got a better bag than she did. When she didn’t. We all got the same amount of stuff in our bag may be a few things different. But most were the same. She the person was letting it eat her up so much that it was making her spiritual soul rotten. Not nice. I said when she ask me what I got in my bag. What I go in it. As if I didn’t she would had kept annoying me to find out. Then I said I am so grateful to get a bag me not a Mum. I did say this to her as she wouldn’t have listened to me. I even thanked God I got a bag me not a Mum. So I did. But she was wrapped up in thinking her friend got a better bag than her. I said don’t let that annoy you. What she got in her bag. You got a bag. She wouldn’t listen to me. I said it in a nice way it is not worth getting annoyed over what your friend got in her bag or I got in mine. You still got a bag. God would not want something like this to annoy us. That it make your soul rotten. So in this case the best thing to do. Is stop and be thankful for everything. Plus even the things you have been given as gift. Look at people in our world and Churches who can’t afford and people who get nothing that are struggling. Be thankful on to God for everything. Don’t let it rot your soul. God would not want that. Keeping you all incourage in my prayers. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Thank you for sharing. Sin does sneak in and keeps us tied up. Praise God for his son, Jesus! He died for my sins and the sins of the world. I need to lean and trust in him. Love like him. Create in me a clean heart and renew in me the right spirit.
Beth Williams says
Envy is a big tool of the devil. Look at Face Book & you see the “perfect” lives of friends & family. Knowing your life is anything but perfect. It can be easy to get down & upset over another’s good news. Why hasn’t God done _____ for me-you fill in blank (give me children, good job, Etc.) Truth is He alone know the path He set for you. He has plans for you-plans to prosper you-to give you a Hope & a future! We just need to trust His perfect timing. Meantime we need to kick that envy sin to the curb & tell him NO MORE!!
Becky Keife says
Oh, friend. Your honesty is making way for the light to shine into the dark places of your heart — bringing freedom for you and for others. Thank you for inviting us in.
While reading this I realized just how much I struggle with this. I understand when you say you maybe don’t want to give it up. That really hit me. I know this is what is happening to me and I’m allowing it. I Don’t want to give it up. It does play a roll in my life. I honestly don’t want to be this way. You gave me a lot to think about. Thank you
When I was married, my ex husband’s twin sister was jealous of me was what she admitted to me. I never really believed her but now I think she was. I struggle with my own envying over varying things and I envied her success and some of the same things she was jealous of in me. I have prayed about, asked God to guide me through and learn from the challenges caused by it. What I have learned is by my forgiving offenses I have committed toward them and loving people for their strengths and weaknesses I am better able to love God. She doesn’t like me and that’s alright. I love God more. That’s what matters most.
Theresa Boedeker says
So powerful. We do have a choice. Not many months ago I called my sister and was complaining about a person, a person I had a right to complain about. Or so I thought. My sister listened for awhile and then said, “Why can’t you let this go? What are you getting from complaining about this person?” Ouch! Yes, I was feeling more righteous than them (I would never do that), I was feeling wronged (and wanted someone to hear all the many ways), and I was getting strength and power from looking down on them. I wanted to deny I was getting something from all my complaining, but I couldn’t. I had a choice. I could let this person rob me of my choice and waste all my anger and energy upon, or i could humble myself and love them through God’s eyes.
I struggle with this too. Thank you for your kind words to remember to always choose Jesus and love. I appreciate you friend!
I DB says
Great article ❕