Just last month, the She Speaks conference took place in North Carolina, and boy—did my heart ever long to be there. This conference, started by Lysa Terkeurst, provides guidance and support for those who feel called to communicate God’s word and truth through writing, speaking, or leadership in some capacity.
Authors and speakers attend. Publishers attend. Editors and agents are there, too. For an inspiring writer or speaker, it’s an experience that provides the kind of guidance and inspiration that can keep you going for months. God is there, speaking through so many Godly women who are faithfully fulfilling their calling.
However, being super pregnant and on the other side of the country, the stars simply didn’t align for me to attend, and I’ll be honest—that was a tough limitation to accept. Reading posts in the COMPEL forum after the conference set my fomo into high gear.
Before I knew it, that insidious, sometimes subtle green monster began coiling around me, evoking feelings of envy and even something resembling panic.
Did so-and-so get an agent?
What if someone pitched an idea similar to mine??
I’ve missed my chance because I wasn’t able to attend this year!
The comparison trap comes calling, and we all know where that leads: either unnecessary insecurity at the thought that someone might be more talented than us or unfounded pride at the thought that we might be more talented than someone else … both routes are icky and paved with loathing and lies.
Wide Open Spaces
Maybe you aren’t an aspiring writer, but I’m willing to bet there’s at least one area of your life where that ugly green monster of jealousy threatens to swoop in and steal your joy and security.
What if her kids are smarter/more well behaved/more successful than mine?
What if she throws a more impressive birthday party than I do?
What if she has a more prestigious job than I do?
What if her husband is more successful than mine?
You and I know full well the life-sucking ability this type of internal dialogue affords. In no time, we’re viewing each other as potential threats. In the oxygen-deprived depths of the comparison trap, it’s so easy for us to feel as though all resources are scarce. As if there’s only room for one great writer or one greater decorator or one great party planner or one great marriage.
But you know what, dear reader? There is another way to navigate the unattractive, sticky route of jealousy rising. You and I don’t have to choose insecurity or pride when the seductive green monster whispers in our ears that someone else is a threat.
Can I remind you of a most comforting truth that God has been pressing in on my threatened heart lately?
There is room.
There is room for you, and there is room for me.
There is room for your co-worker. There is room for that acquaintance whose magazine-like wardrobe threatens to throw you off your game. There is room for your friend who could give Joanna Gaines a run for her money.
There is room, my friend.
Secure in Him
It’s a hard truth to admit, but jealousy is a very real and often prevalent emotion we experience—one that goes beyond the realm of junior high and bickering over boyfriends. Though interestingly, we spend precious little time discussing or even acknowledging its reality as we grow older.
But this intense emotion, if not taken to the Lord and dealt with properly, is bound and determined to come out and manifest in some way in our lives. We are far better off to simply acknowledge the hard and sometimes ugly truth that we are jealous of another’s circumstances or good fortune.
And as believers, the excellent news is that we are not obligated to succumb to such an unpleasant feeling—we are secure in Christ! We have everything we need, at all times, to fulfill the unique calling God places on each of our lives.
It’s so easy to lose sight of this security, particularly in our Internet and social media-saturated world. And yet, no matter what amazing experiences and opportunities your Facebook and Instagram friends may be having, your purpose and place will never be thwarted or threatened.
I love the words of Psalm 16:5—
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure (NIV).
Another “life verse” to which I’ve clung is Psalm 138:8—
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, Oh Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands (NIV).
And of course, I know many of you are familiar with one of the most often-quoted verses, Jeremiah 29:11—
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV).
From Old Testament to New, the scriptures are full of promises regarding our security in Christ. And if we are willing, we can sink into and rest in these promises. We don’t have to allow the enemy to use jealousy as a means of creating separation and division in our relationships.
With our eyes firmly fixed on Him, we are able to view each other with love—as brothers and sisters in Christ. There is room for each and every one of us, because our security is in Him alone …
… and it will never be shaken.
Choose to Celebrate
Years ago, Andy Stanley preached an excellent sermon on the topic of jealousy and, most importantly, how we can combat it. His words have stuck with me ever since.
Simply put, the anecdote to our envy is to celebrate. Celebrate another’s success, good fortune, happy circumstances, or whatever the case may be.
That green monster is going to do its best to shut us up and have us ignore another’s pleasant circumstances. Yet we have the ability to wholly and utterly neutralize the ickiness of envy, simply by choosing to celebrate with one another.
So over these next few weeks, I challenge you to jump in and choose celebration—the next time you feel that tension rising, stop and celebrate with your friend, neighbor, co-worker, whomever.
When you are overcome with the urge to ignore another’s success, don’t. Don’t ignore, don’t scroll on by as if that picture or status update didn’t exist, don’t stuff it down (it won’t stay down, anyway).
Celebrate, knowing that there is room. You are so secure, so loved, and so seen in Christ. No one and nothing can threaten that!
Give it a try, and see what happens. I have a strong feeling that those heavy-feeling chains will fall off in an instant. You will reap the benefit of a lighter heart and knowing you helped encourage a fellow journeyer along the way.
Be blessed, dear reader, be blessed.