Envy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “painful, resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.” 1 Corinthians tells us that love does not envy. True love of oneself will not envy others’ success, outward appearance, or possessions.
In my deep dive into learning to love myself, I never would have before considered myself envious of others. But upon pouring over the definition of envy, I realized that I am envious. I display my envy by comparing myself to others around me. I compare what I look like to others, I compare my definition of success to others, I compare where I feel I should be in life to others…and I find myself being full of envy.
Envy can turn you into a bitter person. You begin to resent the blessings that others have been bestowed. I always wished I could walk into any clothing store and just pick something off the rack to wear like my other friends, but I can’t. As a plus size woman, that is not always an option, I would have to go to a special store to find clothes in my size. But is that truly something to be envious over, goodness no. Upset with the way the media has brainwashed us to perceive what is beautiful, yes! I look around at others’ appearance and wish that I looked like all the other girls, but I am snapped back to the reality that there is someone who wishes they could look like me. God says in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We are all wonderfully made, in the image of our creator. Envying another’s appearance will only make you miserable and you will never be able to achieve what you feel will be perfect. Please know that you are beautiful, just the way you are. Never stop trying to be the best version of yourself, however; God wants us to take care of the body he has blessed us with.
If you have been reading my column for long, you know that my husband and I took a huge leap of faith and started our own business. We will celebrate our two-year anniversary this April. I have been in awe of my husband’s faith and perseverance. He has kept his head down and plowed forward. The Lord has opened his storehouses of blessings and poured them down on us; and we are forever grateful. Even with all this, I still find myself being envious of others’ success. We are working so hard and relaying on the Lord’s grace to sustain us, while others around us seem to have success rolling in heaps to them without any effort. Then I think about how little we truly know what is going on with others around us. What may appear to be instant success for someone is usually years of hard work, dedication, and tears. It is truly rare that anyone achieves success overnight. I am learning to not look at someone else’s success with envy but with admiration of the hard work they have done to achieve their goals. Focusing on our own work, and relying on God’s help, will help me not be envious of other’s success, but be grateful for the blessings we have been given.
I had never had a problem getting older and didn’t have an issue with my age, until my 35th birthday. Suddenly a flood of emotion hit me, and I felt like a complete failure. It seemed that everyone around me was achieving things that I had always wanted for myself. I had been married for a year at this point, and I fully expected to already be pregnant with our first child. That had not happened; instead, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I would never be able to get pregnant and have children. I was bitter, I was heartbroken, and I was so defeated. I had painted a picture of my life in my head that by the time I was 35 I would be married with children, living in the perfect house with the white picket fence. Envy flooded my soul, and I was so angry that my 35 didn’t look like others’ 35. It has taken me a long, long time to come to terms with the fact that it is not God’s plan for me to become a mother in the traditional way. I have had to spank my own legs for not being thankful for the blessings God has poured over me. I will be 42 in December, and I am still working with coming to terms that my life will look differently than I imagined it would look like, and that is okay. I have this Bible verse on repeat in my mind — “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to his powers that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 God will do more with our lives than we can even ask or imagine. I know he is at work within me, and I am finding comfort in that fact.
Love will not envy! Loving yourself does not envy others around you in any way. Falling in love with yourself forces you to look at God’s blessings in your life and forces you to be more thankful. Pouring your energy into being thankful will take away the time to be envious. I will choose to be thankful.
This week’s recipe is a delicious new take of chicken stir-fry. It combines the classic chicken stir-fry with tropical flavors, and it is a crowd pleaser! Grown-ups and children alike, will love it! As always, feel free to use whatever vegetables and proteins work best for your family. Make the recipe yours!
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30