to envy or to edify

I’ve noticed something interesting about people. It is something that’s been growing in my spirit for quite some time, and while I have made every effort over the years not to take it personally, in recent months I have become increasingly aware of just how small some can be.

We all have struggles and trials, and yet for some reason, these truths don’t translate into a sense of empathy nearly as often as I personally believe they should. The desire to see others lack, or have a little less than ourselves, for whatever internal motivation, is unnerving. Regardless of our blessing, our friends will often be faithful to point out how much they wish they had what we have. And, to shine a bright light into their true heart for us.

My desert season was a long one, made survivable only through times of prayer, internal work, miraculous breaks in the “rain,” and a very small circle of loyal friends. They became my lifeline. Especially when, as God began to do a mighty work in my life, many around me began to express jealously, and less-than-excited-for-me statements, that often stole my joy. For a while I would choose to downplay the good things God was doing in order to not “brag” or seem “too happy.”

God forbid we experience God’s blessing now and again.

Very few people are fully aware that those around them work just as hard, and face just as many challenges, as themselves. Maybe more so. We spend so much time occupied with thoughts of what we wish we had, that we can miss out entirely on what God has for us now. Or, where our current situations are intended to take us. Often, we can entirely miss the reason for the season we are in, and the blessing God had planned in its wake, because we spend our energy on envy of those who seemingly already have what we are striving for.

When you say with an eye roll how skinny I am or young I look, perhaps you don’t know how hard I have worked to take care of myself. Or, how it wasn’t that hard for a while because there was barely any food in the house. That bold smile might just have been the moment I was choosing joy. The family vacation taken was the very first one ever, experienced shortly before my oldest graduated high school, might just be our last all together. Perhaps that romantic trip was a thank you for endless tears and struggle. Possibly that diamond necklace was a gift from years and years ago, and that outfit you envied was actually a supremely good deal I got at the second hand store because the last time I allowed myself to pay full price at Bellevue Square was 20-some years ago…

Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. Job 5:2

Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. James 3:16

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30

I struggle with envy at times; it’s an easy thing to do. But more so I strive to be excited for others, to choose to lift up, support, encourage and celebrate with those I am doing life with. I can’t think of a faster way to lose sight of our blessings, rob ourselves AND others, than in choosing to envy over edifying.

Don’t miss out on your blessing while missing out on your blessing…

 

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