Its graduation season again!! Yaaay to all the graduates of 2017, congratulations ya’ll. It’s an awesome time of celebration and joy for everything you have achieved, university is not the easiest, I know.
As much as I love to celebrate others, I can’t help the gnawing feeling/thought at the back of my mind that reminds me that it’s another grad season that isn’t my own. It’s not that I’m not happy for others, it’s just that I always wonder when my time will come. The Holy Spirit told me that the gnawing feeling deep inside was actually envy and if it continued I would grow to become a very bitter woman. Of course I argued, “I’m not envious Lord just a little impatient”, I reasoned with Him. But He said that as long as I fail to genuinely celebrate others without wanting to be in their shoes my heart is not in the right place.
The American heritage Dictionary defines envy as a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by another’s desirable possessions or qualities, accompanied by a strong desire to have them for oneself.
I believe envy is caused by being dissatisfied with who or where you are in life. It does not believe that you are good enough and that your life is exactly where it’s supposed to be at that moment. I also believe that pride is another cause; you think that you are better than the other person and so you are more worthy to get what that person has. Envy is one of the works of the flesh, Paul says in Galatians 5:21 that those who practice it will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The author of James in James 3:16 says that “…where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” So basically jealousy is the root of every other evil among brethren.
Envy causes dissatisfaction in your own life. An envious person is never satisfied because they’ll always want the next best thing. The person it hurts the most will be you. It definitely is not fun walking around with a grudge in your heart against anyone who is doing better than you.
So having said all the above, how do we deal with envy?
- Acknowledge it and repent
It’s amazing that we have a Heavenly Father who is patient, kind and merciful. He promises to forgive us when we repent with all our hearts. He also promises to be with us so that we don’t have to struggle on our own, let Him know what is in your heart and how hard it is to deal with it and ask for help. He is always faithful and ready to listen and help His children.
2. Feed your spirit and starve your flesh
We have already established that envy is one of the works of flesh. This means that if we feed our spirit man by studying the word, meditating, fasting, praying and worshiping we will be able to overcome the flesh. Set time where you do your Bible study and talk to God. Bring every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
3. Be grateful for who you are and for your portion
Celebrate who God created you to be; thank Him for your family, your background, your looks, your unique gifting and talents. Thank Him for choosing you and loving you just as you are and be sure to not compare yourself with others. Celebrate where you are in life; every stage is important and no life experience is wasted. Have fun in the season that you are in and trust that the next season will come eventually. Trust that God has great plans for you and He is always on time; if what He promised hasn’t happened yet then it’s probably not time for it.
4. Look at earthly achievements with an eternal perspective
To be honest half the things we are envious about have no importance whatsoever compared to eternity. Ask yourself if what you are jealous of will matter a few years from today. Nothing is worth losing your soul over.
5. Pray for the person you envy
Yes, pray for them! Genuinely pray for their increase and speak a blessing over them. Eventually you’ll be surprised that you don’t feel the same way you used to; your heart will start overflowing with love for the other person. It sounds silly but it is so true; it definitely works for me.
Remember that there is no formula; these are just some of the few ways that have helped me in my journey. Pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. And if you have experienced envy before, feel free to comment below and tell us some ways that have helped you get rid of it; you just might save someone’s soul!
I honour you.