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Gnarly, but, yes, it’s true! Envy ranks alongside orgies.
“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual
immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” Romans 13:13
I’ve seen the list all clumped together, but my conscience never admitted that envy lays down parallel with a late night sexual circus.
Envy… I experience this emotion almost daily (if I'm being honest).
Orgy… I never came close to experiencing one.
Yet, here I am reminded that sin is sin. Peering green-eyed onto my Facebook feed is no different than a Friday night menage a trois.
Now that I’m made fully aware of the extent of my guilt (thanks to Scripture), what will I do about it? How do I get over my jealous tendencies? How can I find peace within my own successes instead of secretly coveting the success of another?
How will I begin to love myself as God loves me, recognize my own lasting value, and not fixate on temporal comparisons like home, body, vacation… even shoes (yes, Friday night I was envious of a stranger’s gorgeous high-heeled red shoes. I have even since poked my nose around a rack or two looking for a similar pair)!!
Here are 5 ways I've learned how to be happy for others:
1) Tame My Intuitions
Intuition is an inerrant strength in many women, but I've learned that if not used properly this gift can get us into trouble. How?
We can read too much into a situation!
I've decided to take some time to think about my relationships, especially the people I may have a “suspicion” about. Am I sure there is something going on and trying desperately not to miss it? Some have labeled this tendency "discernment", but it can be jealousy out of control.
I must let it go and fill up my schedule with productive activity because if there is time to evaluate my relationships with a magnifying glass then that speaks, “too much time on my hands.”
2) Invite Someone to My Bathroom Floor.
This is often the only spot I find in my home to weep freely behind locked doors. Whether it’s in the shower or in a crumpled heap, I’ve spent some hours on the cold hard reality of squared tile trying to figure out life.
It is the spot where my act isn’t together.
I can still remember being a young teenager sitting in the bathroom with my best friend. We talked about boys, played hand slapping games, filled out Mad Libs, and talked about nothing and everything all at the same time. I’d forgotten about these intimate exchanges until I overheard my own daughter doing the same thing with her friend. It made me stop my hurried motherly walk down the hallway, think back, and smile.
As a grown woman, it'd be weird to invite my friend into the bathroom, but I can find the place where my act isn't together, and invite her there. I'm learning to recognize that this is actually a strength (we are the gender teased for visiting public restrooms in groups). Through shared insecurity and fear we come full circle back to strength when we invite another into that space. When I choose to take a risk and trust vulnerability, I come out stronger on the other side!
Where is your bathroom floor? Who can you invite to sit there with you?
3) Recognize When I Feel Envy.
I'm going to pick on Facebook for a minute because the very concept and location of this medium fosters envy. Think about it. When are you usually on Facebook?
I’m home in my baggy sweats because I have nothing else going on!
When I’m off and running, having lunch with friends, on vacation, whatever it might be, I’m not on Facebook catching up (but it’s in the “good time” when I’ll tend to post) . When I do have a moment to check in with friends on social media it’s usually when I have nothing else to do. Therefore, I’m probably bored, possibly lonely, and when the screen lights up it’s easy to think that the rest of the world left on a cruise.
Facebook moments are isolated moments; a pseudo community. Recognizing this, along with my state of mind while I read, can help alleviate feelings of jealousy or feeling left out.
4) Take Steps Toward My Own Journey
Not someone else’s.
If I'm not spending sufficient time walking the path God paved for me as an individual, I am more tempted to look down someone else’s road with longing and envy. The sad truth is that if I tried to imitate their journey, I’d be miserable.
God has a perfect plan for me. One that only I have the gifts to fill. I might be frustrated in that journey or feel like I’ve taken a side trail many days, but I must choose something today that brings me either back to that God-directed path or a few steps further forward.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good,
not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I must monitor how much time I allow myself to peer into the window of someone else’s journey. It’s not mine. If I am not careful, every day I could find someone who is five, ten, or one hundred steps closer to where I think I should be, but that is crossing over into someone else's path.
The truth is that we all have a story and our unique stories are so important!
I recently had the privilege of chatting with a faithful reader about this very idea. She has a story but doubts that it has worth or value. I encouraged her to begin journaling her thoughts, to think about what message sits within her story that would add value to a reader. I felt so confident and excited for what the journey might hold for her and then it hit me!!
I came back to my own doubt and negativity about my own story. On many days I listen to a chorus of voices who shout that my story isn't important, yet the Spirit continues to insist that I write. My story has to matter. God ordained it! Your story matter too.
5) Love Patiently and Don’t Be Tempted to Boast Myself
Below is a very important verse on loving patiently and choosing not to boast. Let’s be careful not to brush over it too fast. The verse is so familiar we must force ourselves to linger a moment as it relates to jealousy.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
1 Corinthians 13:4
I am trying not to complicate this simple, yet profound verse as it relates to “social media.”
What’s my motive when I post? Am I writing or shooting a photo in pride?
Awareness is the first step. I can’t escape pride completely. Doses of arrogance surge in and out of my blood stream because I'm a sinful human being. I will never fully get away from pride this side of heaven, but wisdom can shrink my desire to boast unnecessarily. Is there a check in my spirit when I'm about to post something? I must stop and listen more carefully. I must learn to say, “I don’t think that’s appropriate right now.” But I add that this type of "self-check" can drive me crazy and then I don't post anything!
Therefore, I believe the critical work should take place on the flip side of this scenario. Just as I have a responsibility to what I post, I have a responsibility to how I read another’s post.
Here is where the patient and kind really takes place. I will choose to recognize that someone else sees what they have to share as good news! Something exciting is taking place in their life. They can’t wait to share it!
I can choose to be excited with them. This is love! This is how I become happy for others!
Find the author at: www.chickswithchoices.com
Kim Galgano is the founder of Chicks with Choices ™ and Dudes with Decisions ™, outreach ministries devoted to help people blend faith with everyday decisions and uncover the unique path they were meant to live. She is an authentic, dynamic speaker, and passionate about reaching the world through CoffeeHouse Chats ™, a safe place for people to connect. Kim would prefer to live an unstructured life in the manner of a wild mustang, but wisely tarries at the foothills of majestic Mt. Rainier, Washington, where she lives with her husband, Adam, and their three children.
Back Cover Copy:
"In an instant, I was pinned against the side of the wall, 15 isolated floors above the crammed city of New Delhi, with more force than I'd ever felt before. His dark, dry lips hammered against mine.....
How could a homespun Pennsylvanian like me nearly be sold into the sex trade? That answer is found in 1,000 seemingly unimportant decisions.
But all too often we ignore our choices. how do you choose?
Within the pages of The Chance to Choose, an unfettered guide to remedy your indecisiveness awaits. Nestled in the Biblical book of Jeremiah lies an often overlooked verse containing a simple, flexible, and very powerful process for decision-making.
The Jeremiah Method ™ contains both structure and freedom, with pages of opportunity to piece together your personal transformation. May this be a safe place to fashion a course for the rest of your life, while learning to choose with confidence.
"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will have rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)