It's human nature to want to be special. To want to be remembered. To want to be different. To want to be the first at something. The only person super good at something.... Gotta love jealousy. I'll tell you a secret: I can be a very jealous person and want a lot of glory for myself. I can get very jealous very easily when people tell me they want to start writing books or, worse yet, get them published. I may smile and say something along the lines of "that's great" when what I'm really thinking is, "Yes, isn't that just GREAT? This is supposed to be MY THING!!!"
That's greedy, though. I know. And it's being jealous. So let's tackle jealousy. We must first understand something, though.
Jealousy Is a Sin
Nothing good comes of being jealous (Proverbs 14:30). But how do you deal with it, then? How do you get over wanting to be special and remembered? How do you get over yourself when you want all the glory, and somebody else is getting it? What do you do?
The Desire to Be Remembered
We all have this desire to be special, be loved, be envied, be remembered, etc. We also like the idea of being in control of our lives and going by what we want. We give ourselves the credits for our success and want to make success happen on our own so that we can be envied and raised up by others. And we need love. Humans are created that way--to love and be loved. There's a problem with that, though, a problem we've created.
We think we can take care of ourselves
We think that all of the success in our life comes from us working hard. We think we can control our lives, be who we want to be or who we feel we are, and our lives are our own. Well, we all have free will and can make our own decisions, but we are all under God whether we like it or not (Psalm 103:19). That's part of the problem with jealousy. We think we're in charge, and when God's plans aren't exactly how we think they should be or want them to be, we get mad.
We need love
We need love, but the problem we've created because of our sin, is that we look for it in the wrong places. We don't seek God for love. We go to about everything else.
We have the desire for power and the desire for love. Oftentimes this provokes jealousy when someone else has more power or more fame or more attention. We all want to be special in our own way, and we want to be remembered. We make the wrong choices when trying to fill these desires, though. We think the way to get power and love is by doing something that will make people give you that.
I know I've been guilty of feeling that way. I want to write a book so people will give me a bunch of attention, and then when I see others wanting to do that, I want them to back off because DUH, they'll steal my spotlight then. But God has been patient with me and showed me what I really need to do when I think I'm in charge of my life and when I want love from other people.
Submit to God
So most people are not going to like this because most people like the idea of being in charge, but the only way you can overcome that is by submitting to God. I used to want to be in charge, too. There are still days I battle that, but I have learned over time of witnessing God's faithfulness, His ways are the best ways (Psalm 18:30).
His ways are also not our ways (Isaiah 55:9). On the Fourth of July, I wrote about how our country is getting all prideful trying to do whatever we want. That will not lead us down a good path. We have to submit to God because He will direct us to what is right (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The thing is, we are not in charge. We can make our choices here, but God is still God, and everyone is going to know that (Romans 14:11).
How does this relate to overcoming jealousy? Because by surrendering to God, that is when you will have a good life (Psalm 107:9). That is when your longing for love will be fulfilled because God is the only one who can fulfill it. You won't have to be jealous if you're not the most liked because the Creator of the Universe LOVES you.
When you live your life for God, you will be blessed (Luke 11:28).
Now about wanting to be remembered. First of all, you probably won't be. You'll eventually fade from people's minds over time; it's rare for people to be continually remembered over the generations. And even if you were, the world WILL end. There won't be any remembrance of this world then. So what matters then? That you were a follower of Christ. That's the title that matters.
I remember one night in my basketball game I made a ton of points, and that was on the school announcements. I definitely did not mind that, but as I began to really think about that...
A few years from now, nobody is going to remember that I was a basketball player. They won't remember that night where I scored a bunch of baskets. They won't remember that for generations to come. It definitely won't matter at the end of the world.
But boy did it make me feel good when people were making comments about that and having the satisfaction that I did that. But there again, I want the satisfaction of being in control and receiving the love of others.
You don't have to worry about doing crazy things to your appearance to validate your worth. You don't have to accomplish things to receive love. God already loves you so much (John 3:16).
The only way you can get over yourself is by focusing on God. This is why I love Proverbs 3:5-6 and try to live by it daily.
I think the biggest problem with jealousy, and even what causes jealousy, is when we get our eyes off of God. When we start comparing. When we start buying into Satan's lies. When we start rushing His timing. When we want the control. When we rely on ourselves.
God is for you (Romans 8:31), so why do we care what the world thinks of us? We don't need to.
Overcome Your Jealousy
Here are some of my tips for getting over your jealousy.
- Get over yourself. That's the first step. Get your eyes off of the world, and get your eyes off of yourself. Now how do you do this?
- Talk to God. When I'm in an emotional rut with happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy, whatever, the first thing I usually do is take it to God. I did this just last night. I just sat in my bed with no music playing for once; I just sat there and told God everything that was on my mind. Sometimes that varies. Sometimes it's deep things like what I'm studying in the Bible. Sometimes it's little things like what I'm going to do about my book. He hears it all and cares (1 Peter 5:7). It was cool because as I talked to Him, I got goose bumps. Not where I shivered but just lightly on one of my arms, and it wasn't because the temperature changed.
- Read His Word. God has plans for you - good ones (Jeremiah 29:11). And when you step out in faith and obey Him, He will bless your faithfulness (Ephesians 6:8). Be grounded in His word so that you will be reminded of His promises and faithfulness. It is the only thing that can truly encourage you (Psalm 107:9).
- Work for the Lord. Start taking steps to tell people about Jesus, and whatever it is you do, do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Know that God has a unique plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11), and you will be rewarded for following it (Ephesians 6:8).
Remember the promises of God. In my Fourth of July post, I put just a few of them. I also wrote more about fulfilling your dreams here and here. Do you struggle with jealousy? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.