Art, Faith, Growth, Struggle

How To Beat Envy (It’s Not As Hard As You Think)

Envy

The daffodils sprung up this past weekend while I was away. When I’d packed the car up Thursday morning they’d been all green with promise. Sunday morning when I returned, in my rush out the door to go to church I saw them–blooming buttery soft against the dry, gray mulch. They are the one redeeming quality of our otherwise neglected front beds.

Our flower beds are not what I’d call beautiful. I’ve moaned for years about the various plants set deep in the soil there, right in front of the house. And Every spring as I clip and bag and mulch these overgrown shrubs, I wrestle envy over those perfectly groomed beds I see in the glossy gardening magazines.

But the truth is, when I could be working in the yard, I choose to write. When the house is quiet in the middle of the day for 2 short hours, I don’t run for my rake and trowel. I clamor instead, to my desk, to this space–to write. And so the front beds have looked that way for the 7 years we’ve lived here. I grumble about them, but all the while resist the work of making a change.

Today, I read of another writer wrestling envy over the gifts of others and I immediately thought about my own green seasons, and how in the world I have been able to lay that down enough to be truly content.

The secret to beating envy is this:

Stop looking around and get to work. <–Tweet this

There are a thousand other writers out there whose ability to weave words can easily be declared superior to my own wordsmithing. Sometimes, this fact has been paralyzing. I have nearly drowned  in the waves of discontent and jealousy. When this happened  recently, I prayed for deliverance from this unhealthy pattern–and God did bring me through it. He led me right out like disgruntled Isrealite through the wilderness.

What He told me was simply, do the work–get about the tasks I’ve called you to.

It’s so obvious and yet I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see it, because envy is a malignant tumor over the eyes of the heart.

A heart at peace gives life to the body,

but envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30 NIV)

Beat it back, friends. Get about your business and do the hard work. Admire those who are gifted, encourage them in their own art, and get on with yours. You’ve no doubt been called to a specific task in this season. Serve the Lord faithfully. Your unique gift is needed–your qualifier is Christ.

Set your eyes steadily upon the Lord.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

(Psalm 25:4-5 NIV)

Comments

  1. KimberlyCoyle

    “Stop looking around and get to work.” Good, godly wisdom here, Kris. Thanks so much for reminding me to busy my hands and the eyes of my heart will follow.

    Reply
    1. Kimberly, I have wrestled hard with this myself, and this has been the only effective way for me to come out from under the thumb of jealousy. I pray you are encouraged and strengthened today!

      Reply
  2. Total awesomeness here, Kris. You know I need to hear this, like, every day, right? Several months ago, on the very day I got yet another rejection from a publisher, I read this verse in 1 Corinthians: “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (15:58). That resonated so deeply with me – as does your message here today. The two go hand-in-hand pretty well, don’t they?

    Reply
    1. I need it too, Michelle. Seriously, the Lord is faithful to remind me of this again and again, when I start whining about what others have. I sort of feel like that kid in school, who dares to look around during a test and the teacher says, “Keep your eyes on your own paper”. I love the verse from 1 Corinthians you shared here, and yes, they are of similar message. Thanks, my friend. I appreciate your encouragement!!

      Reply
  3. Wonderful. I was bemoaning my state of friendships, job, life journey etc. last night my husband and I had a long heart to heart before bed. Bless his heart. He listens, he encourages, and thankfully God promises us that we are enough. Contentment is so key.

    Reply
  4. Shelly Miller

    Love your boldness here Kris, its so true. One of the things I enjoy doing the most in life is seeing others recognize and flourish in their gifts, stand back and watch the God glory. But comparison can often stunt my own creativity if I let it. I’ve heard similar messages from my Saviour as you share here. We just need to be about what God has for us and leave the outcomes to Him.

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Shelly. There’s an awkward boldness rising in me lately, and I’m not sure how to get the words out. I appreciate your encouragement my friend. I love what you said here– leave the outcomes to Him. Yes. We cannot serve Him when our focus is everywhere else.

      Reply
  5. Ooh, another good one to add to my arsenal. I struggle with envy nearly every day. A year or two ago I finally figured out that I just needed to get to know the people I envy better – because as I get to know them, I realize that while they have gifts, they have struggles too, and I’d probably rather keep my own struggles & gifts because they’re the ones God has given me and equipped me for.

    Reply
    1. Such insight Heather. And really, it’s true. Nobody is perfect and we all harbor our own faults and shortcomings. It can be a hard fight to keep envy at bay, but really, it comes down to gratitude for what God HAS given us, and embracing that with all of our hearts. So glad you were encouraged!

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  6. Great word today Kris! I think sometimes I allow comparison and envy to choke out the words that God has given for me to share. I don’t want to waste any more time trying to be something that I am not. I want to encourage others to be who they are in Christ, while at the same time being who I am called to be. Blessings!

    Reply
  7. Michelle

    The Lord has been speaking to me of discontent….I didn’t equate it with envy until now. Envy of greener pastures elsewhere has been my mantra for so long. NO MORE! I am content right where I am… right where the LORD has me. Love you, friend (=

    Reply
    1. Contentment is a huge heart-changer, Michelle. I have experienced this myself, and continue to be refined in this area of my life. The worst part is how our discontent robs our own hearts of experiencing true joy. What a waste, right?–and yet, still, we struggle. I’m with you, my friend, NO MORE! 🙂

      Reply

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