Crazy, Jealous, Envious Me…

I absolutely love social media but I absolutely despise the feeling it gives me every once in a while! I don’t know about you but every once in a while, I find myself scrolling down my timelines and feeling bouts of insecurity brush across my heart. It’s like these miniature waves of “envy” come over me as my heart begins to covet what others have in comparison to what I perceive to lack. “Wow, they’re on another vacation in Europe…must be nice”…“oh, they’re on another shopping spree…must be real nice.”  Ever been there and done that?  Ever felt completely ridiculous for doing it?  If so, you’re not alone and congratulations…you’re officially human!  Though the enemy would love for you to feel as though you’re the only one who experiences these feelings, the truth is that you’re not alone.

You see, God knew that we would often struggle with slight bouts of jealousy, envy and comparison because it began with the first two children in the world named Cain and Abel. They had the entire world at their fingertips.  They had parents who were the apples of God’s eyes.  They had the ability to sit, walk and talk with God but it was not enough. One brother (Cain) felt threatened by the other brother’s (Abel) gifts, talents and skills.  Cain felt less loved than his brother Abel and began to compare himself until it rot the core of his heart, and eventually provoked him to kill Abel (See Genesis 4).

Social media has given us an all-access pass into the lives of others and has made comparisons, envy and jealousy more difficult to resist than ever.  We see someone post a major accolade so we post a pic of our new car or award to keep up. Someone’s husband or boyfriend posts pictures from an elaborate dinner party or engagement so we write a paragraph to the world about how our sweetie is the most handsome, wonderful, gifted, talented man in the world!   We tag our location at prestigious events to inform others that we’ve reached VIP status.  We take photos with celebrities and noteworthy individuals to put others on notice that we’ve “made it.”   We do…we do…we do…and do.

Photo Credit: MemeCrunch.com

Photo Credit: MemeCrunch.com

We do all of these crazy things to keep others in the loop only to fall out of the most important loop…our bond with God. While we’re working hard to make sure that others are aware of our rising status, we begin to neglect the status of our heart. Is that really the life that God wants for us?  Does He desire for us to be so attached to the things of the world that we fail to find time to be affirmed by Him?   

“What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

 

How and when did our happiness become dependent on someone’s achievements, and why did we allow it to take root over the joy in our hearts?  Friends, I’m as human as you.  If I knew the answers to all of these questions, I wouldn’t struggle with the same things in my own life and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this post.

You and I are like Cain in many ways because we are often blinded by our ambition.  Similar to Cain, the act of comparison rots the core of our hearts.  It steals our joy and makes us feel inferior.  It convinces us to believe that we have less to offer than others and it provokes us to act out of character. (Ex: declaring our love from the mountaintops of our keyboards just to show the world how perfect our relationship is, when in reality it’s on life-support).

How silly of us to compare months, weeks and years of our prayers and dreams to an electronic 2×2 photo of someone’s life.   How naïve of us to be conned into thinking that someone’s highlight reel is the end of our first take at success and achievement!

Photo Credit: Synonym

Photo Credit: Synonym

I love the feeling of success just as much as the next guy and girl but I don’t love feeling lost in envy and jealousy. I don’t love that feeling of inferiority that makes me feel less than special when I compare the highlights of my life to someone else’s spotlight.  Those are the moments that dim my light and obscure my view of God’s work in my life.  Those are the times when I feel blind and stuck in a rut of discouragement.  I’ve got a book, full of promises for a bright future that’s ripe with hope at every tomorrow and so do you. I think it’s time we cling tight to those words and images.  I think it’s time to let go of the temporary things that appear to shimmer and glitter.

My prayer for you and I today is so deeply heartfelt.  My prayer is for you and I to seek God’s face in all things.  For us to seek to please Him in all that we do and in all that we accomplish.  My prayer is for God’s glory to be the reason that we seek to rise higher in this world.  My prayer is for us to make time to focus on what God is doing in our lives each day.  For us to challenge ourselves to put aside that crazy burning desire to envy the lives and accolades of others.  For us to run far away from the temptation to compare the moments of our lives to others’ achievements.  My prayer is for us to be bold to confess those areas to God and then feel righteous enough to accept and receive His forgiveness.  For us to wake up each morning knowing that we are special, unique and one of a kind, and for us to go to sleep each night full of validation and acceptance.   My prayer is for us not to be discouraged when we see God’s hand of favor at work in the lives of others.  It’s for us not to feel left behind when the propelling hand of God seems to be working at light-speed to fulfill the dreams of our peers—for we have no idea of the costs they paid to see those days come to pass.   My prayer is for us to feel justified and to be confident that God will complete every single good work that He began in us (Philippians 1:6).  For us to know that any and every setback will be used to catapult us infinitely farther than we could ever imagine (Romans 8:28).  My prayer is for us to live as a cheerleader for others even if we’re still struggling to get off the ground.  My prayer is for us to live in humility and remember to encourage others once we’ve obtained the victory.

This is my prayer for you and me today, and for the rest of our lives.  The next time you feel a surge of jealousy, envy, bitterness or comparison begin to rise, stop it dead in its tracks by taking a moment to thank God for what you have. Then, follow it up with a prayer that asks God to bless that person double for the crazy emotions in your troubled heart. That might sound like the dumbest thing in the world but I bet it’ll silence the voice that tells you to compare yourself and to indulge in envy.

Be encouraged to encourage yourself today!

Love,

~ETE

=)

10 Comments
  • Alex O.
    February 11, 2015

    Erika!! This post could not be more perfect for the current rise in social media! It IS true that social media causes jealousy and insecurity which can in turn result in depression and the likes. It’s so sad how one’s achievments and adventures can cause such crazy sentiments in ourselves. This phenomenon is so true that CNN did a segment on it in Spring/Summer of 2013 called, “Does Facebook cause depression? The answer was yes and they wont over the exact reasons discussed in your blog. And it IS true that I am very guilty of just that! I am going to be honest and admit that it is the primary reason I deactivated my facebook account. I was getting “annoyed” which others’ posts of happiness: successes, engagements, babies, vacations. What about me? It’s ridiculous! People have a right to want to share their successes and joys with friends and family and we congratulate them and wish them continued prosperity.

    It was then that I grew in my spiritual journey. I did turn to prayer to vent to God my insecurities. While I was happy for this person’s success and joy, I didnt think it was fair. I felt so guilty for feeling that way! I learned that I and everyone else has a purpose in the Lord but many of us don’t realize that. We dont have an accurate understanding of our identity and we compare ourselves to others and feel as though we always fall short. When we don’t become who we THINK we are SUPPOSED to be, it makes us critical of ourselves and our lives. We feel insecure, judgmental, FRUSTRATED, and unfulfilled. We become self-absorbed, constantly having to think about ourselves and what we should be. Reading Stormie Omartian’s “Power of a Praying Woman” helped me see this. She noted all this and said when we are insecure about who we are and what our purpose is, it means we do not trust God with our lives. We just have to remember “not to confuse success in the eyes of me as being the same success in the eyes of God. Men and women of the world glory in their accomplishments. Children of God glory in the lord.” I remind myself of God’s plan for me in Jeremiah 29:11.

    I dont mean to make this entry a diary entry but to show you how real it is and how right you are. And yes we are only human. I am still on another form of Facebook. Instagram! Another avenue to show off achievements and beauty and joys and travels. Things that I may question myself for lacking. Despite my journey and what I KNOW, I still tend to fall back into the “why not me.” LOL…but it wouldnt be a journey if it was that easy to come out of and as you so beautifully, we are only human. I just turn to that one and only person who can change my situation in a minute and thank Him for all that He has provided me with because it has not gone un-noticed. LOL, it also made me feel better to know that “Erika the Encourager” has fallen victim to such sentiments as well! I so appreciate you sharing this! Love ya!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      February 11, 2015

      Girl! It was a challenge to post this one. I wrote it a few days ago and when it came time to edit and prepare it to be released I began to have this internal dialogue. “Ummm, am I really feeling this?” “Someone’s probably gonna send me a text or an e-mail asking if I’m okay if I post this…” lol. The thoughts were endless because I didn’t want to be judged for being transparent. Then, I woke up and saw your response and felt so thankful for sharing this one.

      Our young adult pastor Nick Nilson shared a great message this past Sunday that talked about the same things. His message really hit home for me because like most young lawyers, I have a mile-long list of things I want to accomplish however, often times the things on that list are only there so that I can say “I did it first” or simply for the sake of doing something “big” and “awesome.” However, none of those things really matter if I’m not doing them with the right intentions. They mean nothing if they’re only about puffing myself up and making myself look great.

      I honestly don’t think the temptation to make comparisons and envy others will ever go away because we’re human. However, I do believe the journey will become a bit easier as we work on getting our heart in the right places and get our eyes off social media, lol. I believe that God has things in store for us that are bigger than we could ever imagine. I believe that we are so close to seeing those things come to pass. I believe that we’ll be blown away by what God does in our lives when we redirect our focus to Him and away from the world.

      I absolutely love how transparent you were in your response! You wrote as if it was just you & God, and I believe it’s going to bless someone immensely after they read it. Thanks so much for always sharing chica! I love you! <3

  • Nina
    February 11, 2015

    LOVE! As always, your posts are so well-timed. Your instagram namesake is true: ‘Erika the Encourager!’ Yes, you truly are an encouragement and I so appreciate you! Love you sister!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      February 11, 2015

      Thanks so much sister! Friends like you keep me encouraged to be an encourager! I love you!

  • Courtney
    February 11, 2015

    You aren’t crazy, you are human. Thank God for His grace and mercy! We all struggle with wanting to be further along than where we are. I know I do and have! We are bombarded with images that could make us doubt ourselves however if we shift our focus to realizing that someone else receiving their blessing is evidence of Gods ability to do the same for us for He is not a respect or of persons. (Romans 2:11) What God will do for one He will do for another. And that is good news! As I have grown older I do my best to remember its important to share in the joy of others because a hidden part of blessing is responsibility. We gain new and unexpected responsibilities with blessing. And oftentimes we don’t know, as you wisely stated what others go through to get to where they are. Additionally, some people just inspire jealousy by being competitive with us. And I’ve found if we manage those relationships better it helps us overall. By being thankful, supportive, and prayerful we can rejoice in the blessings of others while we anticipate our own. Thank you for the word!!!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      February 11, 2015

      Thanks for sharing this friend! This was so good and hit so many important points! I especially love the part where you touched on responsibility. Though it was a popular phrase back in the day, it still holds true “mo money mo problems.” We often want more money because we think that it will allow us to do more things and go more places. However, it also means we have more responsibilities and more things that carry a cost–often a high cost. In light of this, it’s best to do our best to remain patient and stay the course by keeping our heart aligned with the things of God and not the things of the world (power, influence, status, material possessions, etc…). Those things aren’t all bad but when our heart isn’t in the right place, those things become bad for our heart. In due season and in due time, God will bless us with the desires our heart that we seek. As you shared, it’s good to begin practicing celebrating others in the meantime. God bless you for sharing this with us!

  • Roselyn
    February 11, 2015

    Such a Beautiful and an honest post. You shed so much light on a hidden insecurity we all go through. For girls a major insecurity is being single. When we see others getting married, or showcasing their relationship on social media, this can erupt a lot of questions which brings doubt and unworthiness. Thank God for his wisdom and love because when we spend time to know his heart through the word and prayer we begin to learn and realize that one’s singleness is actually one of the best times in a person’s life, and not a death sentence as we may feel or think sometimes. This is because you can use that time to identify and know who you are in Christ. What I now call “rite of passage” a time which God uses to mature you as He prepares you for marriage. A foundation needed to have a solid marriage is knowing your happiness comes from the Lord and not from man. For the guys it is also usually career centered, the pressure of society makes men want to be entrepreneurs or have a career with a “reputable title” nothing wrong with these but allowing oneself to be consumed by the view of what should, based on society’s view of success, hinders guys from seeking God’s face for direction and purpose. Just as men admire a good woman who has a deep relationship with the Lord ” the Proverbs 31 woman” as many identify as a good woman, women also admire a man who has a strong relationship with the Lord and is not caught up in the cortex of societal pressure. A man who walks in faith and trust the Lord as his source of guidance, and advisor. May we all grow together and base our success through Joshua 1:8″ Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”seeking God for direction, not being lazy but putting in the needed work on our end in the physical through our God given wisdom and resources. Jealousy, enviness, bitterness are things that makes us anxious, I pray when we are caught up in anxiety we may be reminded of God’s promise in Philipians 4:6 and call on him to work on our heart.

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      February 11, 2015

      So real & so true Rozzy! I’m challenging myself to keep God at the center of everything I do. 2015 is not the year to be bogged down with envy, jealousy or bitterness. God has so much greater in store!

  • Anonymous
    November 11, 2015

    lol! absolutely true Erika, thank you for the encouragement

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      November 11, 2015

      🙂

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