In our ultra-techy world, it’s easier than ever to keep track of things. We have devices, apps, and programs galore to help us note how often we’re eating, drinking, shopping, or burying our noses in social media.
But I’d like to ask you a question you likely won’t find in an app or tracking program: how often do you struggle with feelings of jealousy?
This tech-saturated culture of ours acts as a double-edged sword. Not only can we keep track of our own lives, but the lives of others as well. Where once we had to physically meet together or chat on the phone in order to hear about each other’s successes, now we need only hop online to see the high points of hundreds of our friends.
Near or far, acquaintance or closest of friend, we’re daily presented with the wins of others. New jobs. New babies. New marriages. New homes. New successes. Happiness for days.
If we’re not guarding our hearts, this steady stream of “perfection” can twist our insides into the shape of that great green-eyed monster of jealousy.
But I was reminded not too long ago of the other side of the coin—the other side of all those “wins” we see everyday on social media:
We have all lost something.
A dream. A relationship. A career. An expectation of what this life would be. We simply don’t see each other’s losses in such a bold, apparent way. No, far too often we are busy covering them up, filtering them out, or maybe even pretending they don’t exist.
But the truth, sweet reader, is that none of us make it out of here unscathed. Living in this sin-fallen and aching world, the pain and loss get all over each and every one of us. No matter how pretty the filter.
The Apostle Paul aptly describes the broken state in which we all find ourselves:
“Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.” Romans 8:20-23 (NLT)
This is our present reality, our “life between two gardens” as Lysa TerKeurst so beautifully puts it. It’s easy to forget this truth when we’re scrolling through pictures and posts that look like “Eden.”
But I want to encourage you to remember this: when you see someone with a “win,” you don’t know all the loss that’s preceded such a win. You don’t see the places that still ache, in spite of the good news or happiness shining from a picture.
So I ask you, can we just celebrate with one another?
Can we recognize and acknowledge the pain of living in this fallen world, and let that reality springboard us into a heart of celebration and joy for the good things that have happened to one another?
Satan tempts us into the chains of jealousy . . . but Christ calls us into the freedom of celebration. And the choice is ours to make!
The next time you feel the spindly, sticky fingers of jealousy trying to wrap around your throat, try these 3 things:
We can use that “ick” feeling as a warning light that lets us know something in our hearts is off track. Treat it as a signal to stop what you’re doing and run to the Lord in prayer. Don’t gossip. Don’t dismiss. Take it all to your Heavenly Father. He longs for us to pour out our complaint to Him, no matter how big or small.
Jealousy and comparison quickly blind us to all the good and gracious gifts we do have in our lives. Take a moment to drop to your knees in a prayer of thanksgiving and call back to your Father all the gifts He’s placed in your life. Gratitude changes everything.
Finally, choose to celebrate. I know, dear one, how much easier it may be to scroll on by, or withhold that compliment, or pretend not to see . . . but I can promise you this: if you will choose to click “like,” or speak that encouraging compliment, or give praise to another person, your feelings of jealousy and inadequacy will vanish. It’s so simple, yet so powerful.
Romans 12:15 admonishes us to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” and I pray you and I have the courage to do just that. May we reject the enemy’s lies that clamor to keep us locked up.
So today, why not choose to celebrate the wins of others? The only thing you have to lose is that green-eyed monster dragging you down.