This is one issue with which we all must wrestle to some degree or another. Today, the temptation is greater than ever to compare ourselves to other women, especially on social media. It’s practically impossible to avoid.
As an identical twin, I understand how easy (and dangerous) it is to constantly compare yourself to someone else. It is a miserable way to live.
How do I measure up as a mom, a wife, or a career woman compared to all of these other women around me? How does my body compare? How does my marriage compare? Is my ministry as popular as hers? Do I have as many followers on Instagram? Am I smarter? Am I more wealthy?
Do other women have it better than I do?
Bible Gateway defines envy like this:
The Eng. word “envy” comes from the Lat. word invidere “in—against”; videre—“to look at”), meaning “to look askance at,” or “to have hatred or ill will toward another.” It is a feeling of displeasure and ill will because of another’s advantages, possessions, etc.; a malignant feeling toward another who possesses that which one greatly desires.
Envy leads to discontentment – never to peace.
- Why does she get to be married and I don’t?
- Why does she get to have a more romantic husband than I do?
- Why does she have another baby and I don’t even have one?
- Why are her kids so much better behaved than mine?
- Why does she have her entire life together and I don’t?
- Why does she get an easy, cushy, wonderful life and I have had so many trials and problems?
- Why does she have the perfect body and I struggle with my weight?
Ultimately, the root of envy is pride.
- I deserve the best.
- I am the best.
- I am better than other people.
- I know best.
- I have to be the most beautiful.
- I have to be the most desirable.
- I know better than God does.
- It is my right to have anything I want.
- It is not fair if anyone else has something good that I don’t have.
When we operate in the sinful nature, we operate in pride and envy. These things come naturally and are some of the most dangerous sins. They are secret sins, many times, because they start in our thoughts.
We may be able to hide them for awhile from others, but they can easily lead to a much bigger mess.
Envy makes so many judgments that someone else “has it better,” but we don’t always know the whole situation. And we don’t know the outcome yet, either—in this life or eternity. So how can we measure for sure that their life is ultimately better?
And what if something about another person’s life IS better than mine in this life?
Can’t that be okay?
We truly aren’t able to accurately assess whether someone else’s life, marriage, or children are “better” than ours. We don’t know the secret struggles and pain of others. Especially on social media, sometimes we only see the “airbrushed” version of another woman’s life, not the real thing.
Jesus calls us to a whole different paradigm:
We can’t be grateful when we are jealous of other people.
- But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16
- God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. James 4:7
Jesus calls us to live by the Spirit and to die to our sinful self, our pride, and our envy. Envy will destroy us and our relationship with God and other people. It will make us sick physically. It will drive us toward hatred, resentment, bitterness, malice, and even violence.
And the saddest thing of all,
Envy causes us to be blind to all the spiritual blessings God intended for us in our trials or specific situations. It causes us to miss the gifts we do have and take them for granted.
We often resist and fight against the very things God wants to use to humble us and to help us grow stronger.
What if instead of fighting and scrambling to be the most noticed, the most well-liked, the most popular, the most beautiful to people, the most famous, etc… we took an opposite approach?
What if we decided to be content with nothing but Jesus?
We could determine that we only want:
- His will, whatever it may be.
- His greatest glory.
- His Name to be exalted.
- His praises.
- His assignment for us, however lowly.
- His presence.
- What is best in light of eternity.
Jesus hates when we have envy in our lives because it is toxic for us and our relationships. It’s impossible to love God and people properly when we are busy being upset that we don’t have what they have.
But when we live in gratitude, there is blessing overflowing to every relationship in our lives—even to ourselves.
We all face the temptation to compare ourselves to others and to feel jealous. But we don’t have to sink down into the icky muck.
20 Tips to Kill Envy
- Tear it out of your mind as soon as you notice it.
- Starve it. Don’t give it attention or fuel. Avoid TV, social media, or anything that feeds it.
- Ask God to help you see if these things you are so jealous of could be idols in your heart.
- Focus on the blessings and good things in your own life.
- Start a Gratitude Journal and add to it throughout the day.
- Recognize that your understanding of what is truly good and best is limited at any moment in time
- Trust that God is good and invite Him to bring beauty from every situation in your life.
- Remember that each person’s life and gifts are unique. Our differences showcase God in special ways.
- Thank and praise God that He uses all things, the good and the bad, for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes – so that He can conform us into the image of Christ. (Rom. 8:28-29)
- Yield fully to God’s Lordship. Invite God to do ALL He wants to do in and through you.
- Ask Him to give you what He knows is best for you specifically in each season of your life, even if you can’t see it at the time.
- Accept trials as godly discipline to help you mature spiritually and to strengthen your faith and love for the Lord. (James 1:2-4, Heb. 12:7)
- Examine your heart to be sure you don’t believe toxic lies about God, yourself, or others.
- Sing praises to God and delight in Him.
- Remember that God is the Greatest Treasure in all the universe and He wholeheartedly gives Himself to anyone who seeks Him with all his/her heart. There is no greater gift any of us can have than a close walk with the Lord! And He is fully available to each of us.
- Thank God for the good things other women have. Thank Him for their gifts. Ask Him to bless them for His glory and do what is best for them.
- Forgive other people for having something you don’t have. Release your bitterness.
- Catch yourself if you begin to fantasize about wishing you had what someone else had, or what you may think she has. Take your thoughts captive for Christ and replace them with God-honoring thoughts.
- Choose contentment in Christ.
- Be excited for the unique adventure God has just for you.
If this is a struggle for you, what (generally) seems to trigger envy for you the most? What step can you take this week to starve jealousy and feed gratitude in this area?
If you have experienced God’s healing or have godly wisdom to share, we’d love to hear about that, as well.
Envy by www.biblestudytools.com
Pride by www.biblestudytools.com
What Does the Bible Say about Envy? by www.gotquestions.org