After cracking a contact lens, I was forced to wear my glasses for nearly a week. If I was a hermit, this would not have been a problem, but I am not a hermit! You see, I don’t really love my glasses!
So while I was in the process of getting new contacts, it made sense to also get a new pair of glasses that were public-worthy.
About a week later, I picked up my fashionable new spectacles. As I walked to my car, my vision was not as wonderful as I would have expected from a brand new pair of glasses, but I chalked it up to that funky adjustment period one has with a new prescription.
A week later, still funkiness!
It became clear that they positioned the transition from distance to bifocals too high on the lenses. The only real way to see out of my glasses was to let them slide down my nose, destroying the whole fashion vibe I was going for.
Needless to say, I was a little frustrated with the inability to be able to see and be cute simultaneously!
Do you know what else wreaks havoc on your ability to see clearly? Envy!
Even before Shakespeare penned the phrases “green eyed monster” in Othello or “green sickness” in Anthony & Cleopatra, or the “green-eyed jealousy” in The Merchant of Venice, the Greeks associated envy with being green, pale, and sickly. They believed that the body produced too much bile resulting one appearing “green.”
And guess what, if you allow envy to exist in your life or leadership, it will eventually make you sick. Proverbs 14:30 puts it this way: A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Taking a toll on your health isn’t the only undesirable thing that envy leads to. Envy also…
- Undermines your confidence
- Hurts your relationships
- Decreases your productivity
- Steals your joy
- Feeds discontent and bitterness
- Wastes time and energy
- Ignites the victim mentality
- Increases frustration and discouragement
- Chips away at your self-worth
- Minimizes your ability to influence
- Keeps you stuck
No matter where you look, you will find someone more successful, as well as less successful, than you are! Jealously can pop up literally anywhere! A short list – you can envy…
- Gifts and talents
- Being married
- Having kids
- Material things
- Level of influence
- A job
- An income
- The number of clients
You will envy whatever you deem valuable.
So how do you tame the green eyed monster in you?
1. Dwell on God’s abundance
Lurking underneath envy is the sense that there isn’t enough to go around. If someone else does well, there is less for you to get.
Remember, Jesus didn’t provide just enough food for the 5000 from five loaves and two fish. He made enough for everyone to eat plus 12 baskets leftover! That’s abundance! (Mark 6:30-44)
Do you truly believe that God has plenty for you?
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:10b (MSG)
2. Connect with YOUR purpose
Out of God’s creativity, He has not made any two individuals the same. You are a unique creature, with a specific purpose that only you can walk. Comparing yourself to what others is like comparing green beans to green apples. Let just say that a green bean pie with ice cream or an apple casserole topped with crunchy onions – not yummy!
When you walk in your purpose it will be more fulfilling than anything else you can do and it will bless others and make a difference in the Kingdom in fruitful ways.
3. Focus on obedience over success
When it comes to life, everyone is at a different place in the race. While we are urged to run the race like we want to win it, the starts are staggered, and the routes all different. Trying to evaluate your success based on where others are on their journey is pointless. The important thing to focus on is whether or not you are being obedient and staying on track with your race. That obedience will likely lead to your success, but success is not the goal contrary to what the world might lead us to believe.
Make sure you are measuring the appropriate thing. And with that in mind, you have no way of knowing how anyone else measures up.
4. Be yourself
Envy tempts me to copy you. When I am tempted to be more like you, instead of being authentically me, I become a cheap imitation of you.
Being you assumes that you are sure of who God made you to be. You are clear on your values, gifts, strengths, purpose – who you are at the core.
When you are authentic it is refreshing. It naturally draws people and opportunities your way.
5. Appreciate others
Admiring the talents and accomplishments of others is powerful. Sharing in their joy – that’s good for you! It’s good for them. It is seeing the unique way God has equipped them for their purpose and the opportunities He has blessed them with.
What you bring to the table is different, so is what I bring to the table. Each one of us will be used by God in a unique way. Each one of us is loved extravagantly by God and there is nothing we can do to gain more of His love for us.
Envy has a way of making your vision funky, just like my new specs.
To be honest, we all feel the twinge of envy now and then. You and I live in an age when we are sent messages about so-and-so’s promotion via LinkedIn, we can see the happy successes of everyone on Facebook, and based on Twitter everyone is absolutely killing it!
So when the green eyed monster pops up in you, what will you do?