A few weeks ago, I shared something with a group of (in)courage readers here—something raw and organic, something a bit stream-of-consciousness, but still pressing searing hot into my forehead for several weeks prior. I couldn’t not share it with someone, and these gals were the recipients due to nearest online proximity that day.
This was something simmering in my heart, particularly how it related to community and the friendships birthed from it: JEALOUSY. Ugly, schoolgirl-feeling jealousy. It’s embarrassingly easy to feel jealous of the skinny minnie in cute jeans at church, or the mom who has that amazing house with the high-end kitchen appliances. But I confess that where I—until recently—felt it run rampant in my heart was on the good ol’ Internet.
I’ve been blogging for five years, and I had never really struggled with feelings of jealousy until the past few months. Watching other lovely bloggers who have a true gift with words do amazing things with their platform, who seem to feel so confident in their voice and their audience, who seem to make blogging look so easy, who seem to have shown up to the field out of nowhere and immediately start hitting homeruns out of the park…
My mind wanted to freely and wildly applaud for them with standing ovation, but deep down, my heart hurt. It hurt because I wished blogging were so easy for me, too, but really? It hurt because I wanted this jealousy clean and free from my life.
This temptation toward jealousy hit me like an unexpected wave in the midst of rolling water, and it left me choking a bit, complete with that icky saltwater taste in my mouth. But right when I thought it’d overcome me into inaction, Jesus met me exactly in my time of need.
When I sensed that wave of jealousy heading near, he’d point me to something He said in the Word, or to something a friend bravely wrote on her blog, or He’d simply orchestrate my day so that all I could do was lean into His calling and just be.
Here are the particular things that have helped free me from this recent, unexpected bout of jealousy.
Specifically, the verse that came to mind time and time again was Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This doesn’t speak specifically about jealousy, but it had been my heavy labor, and this simple verse was my reminder to find rest from the waves in Jesus. And that I would find that rest when I come to Him.
2. A good word.
This post by my friend and fellow (in)courage girl Emily Freeman spoke volumes to me. It reminded me that God had given me my slice of calling to steward, just as he’s given you, and you, and you. He is calling me to do well with what He’s given me. And if I’m really honest, I can admit that I really like my slice. I don’t want any more. It’s abundant.
3. Say thanks.
To be offline, away from where the waves come crashing toward my heart, and instead list out the many, many blessings in my life. The tree in my yard blooming pink. My kids playing with the cardboard boxes. The light hitting the floor just so as the sun rises. A literal list of gratitude lifted my heart and freed me from a temptation towards jealousy.
Finally, born out of thanksgiving came a heart free to give. It wasn’t much—a simple offer of advice, time to listen, clean counters or laundry folded with no expectation of thanks, a shout from my rooftop of another friend’s stellar online work, a happy answer to a question. Once I was released from jealousy, I focused more on how I could serve rather than fester an ugly spirit of wondering why I wasn’t being served.
It was freedom to enjoy what was already given to me in abundance, then finding creative ways to share it with others.
It’s human to struggle with things like jealousy, but what’s superhuman is the ability to rise above it. And thanks be to God, we’ve been given that strength in abundance, right when we need it.
How do you struggle with jealousy?
by Tsh of Simple Mom