Have you ever stood in a hallway, giddy with hope as the team results are posted?
The white 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper hangs neatly on the painted concrete block wall, double-sided tape securing it well. Your finger runs down the list of names. Your heart thumps wildly as you scan the list.
Surely, I’m on here.
Your finger finds its way to the bottom of the list.
Your smile fades.
Your name is missing.
You’ve not been chosen.
Your heart sinks as rejection soars. Then, you begin to resent those names well on their way to list-making and team history.
Envy makes its entrance.
You snort with a retort, “Surely I’m better than Sally Sue.”
And you walk away, hurting and burning from rejection’s flicker, fighting against envy’s blaze.
It can happen on a team, with an award, as you seek a promotion, or maybe even in a place of ministry or the church.
Do you battle envy?
It’s an ugly thing, something we’ve likely all wrestled with at one time or another.
Envy and I wrestled years ago concerning an award. I “just knew” my project had sealed the deal as I walked into the banquet with a proud excitement. But another name was called for the award. The smell of “sneer” filtered through the air.
Petty, really. So.not.God.
Other situations shook me as well. They certainly didn’t “feel” petty. Maybe your situations don’t either?
I look back now and think why? The “winners” weren’t the enemy. Their success wasn’t either. The devil was (and is).
I wasn’t wrestling with “them”, I was wrestling with the sin that wars within.
Rejection fueled the green-eyed monster of envy. Or maybe it was the other way around? Either way, neither are friends.
The wayward emotional response was simply evidence of envy’s presence.
I wanted to make that team – for me.
By golly, I wanted that award – for me.
Do you see it? Our wants are often “for me”. What’s for Jesus?
Our uproar indicates a heart issue, a need for surgery of the Great Physician kind. After all, outward uproars often indicate inward heart conditions.
Envy isn’t a spiritual friend. It rots to the bone. So let’s do something about it, okay?
Here are 4 ways to combat envy:
1. Compare ourselves only to the plans of One.
God has plans. Why not look to those and trust Him?
After all, the nose and the finger are both important but have vastly different roles. Could you imagine a nose pecking away on the keyboard? Ummm…yeah, err, no. Don’t be a nose trying to peck on a keyboard, okay?
2. When jealousy rolls, sweep it away with “But God says…”
Use the Word to combat wayward feelings. Because feelings? They’re often written with the pen of fiction. Keep ’em in check with a stroke of truth via Jesus.
Pray for “them”, the situation, and ourselves. Then find thanks.
4. Cheer On Others
Cheer for those who “made the team”. Offer congratulations or a word of thanks to the Lord. It’s all good.
Be encouraged. Envy has nothing on God.
As I tell my kids, “Be the best you God has made. No one else can do it.”
So whether we make the team or not, whether we’re “A” listers or “B”, let’s cheer others on in the name of Christ.
Let’s pray often.
Let’s remember and rejoice in the truth of God’s Word.
And let’s walk in God’s plan as we give a swift spiritual kick to combat envy.