How to Stop Envy from Eating Away at Your Heart
- Anne Peterson Poet and Author
- 2017 12 Jan
The words just tumbled out of her smiling mouth. And though they were happy words, I felt anything but happy.
“I’m going to have a baby.”
There she was pregnant with her third, and try as we did, I could not get pregnant again. And why is it that when you want a baby, it feels like they are everywhere?
Envy. We’ve all felt it. And even though we try our best, it’s hard being happy when we are fighting off the green monster of envy.
Envy is something a lot of people struggle with. But how do we deal with the green eyed monster?
First of all, how is your heart?
God tells us to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Read Romans 12:15. Are you able to rejoice with those who receive what you want?
How do you feel scrolling through the newsfeed on Facebook? Do you hit “Like” or seethe within?
Or how about those Christmas newsletters we sometimes get through the mail? Are you weeping or rejoicing? Sometimes we do anything but rejoice.
Envy suffocates wishing someone well, because we keep thinking that should be us.
Contentment is possible.
Often when we feel the envy coming on, we need to refocus. We need to remember what God has blessed us with each day, and stop comparing ourselves to others. No one wins with comparisons.
Read John 21:22. When the disciples started asking Jesus about their fellow disciple, Jesus did not thank them for bringing it to his attention. Instead, he said, “You, follow me.”
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So often we’re concerned about what is happening in the yards of other people.
We need to tend to our own yards.
God is redeeming those of us who have put our trust in Jesus Christ. Day by day, he is working on our characters. The end result will be looking like Jesus.
God chooses how he works with us.
Read Isaiah 55:8-9. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and consequently his ways also differ. And yet, we continue to try and figure out with our finite minds why others seem to have the longer end of the stick.
We try to take on what was never ours to take on, figuring out what God is doing. And dare I say, sometimes we even let God know that he is not being fair. We stand there with hands on our hips—the very hands God made.
I can think of one person this pleases—the enemy of our souls. He loves discord, he loves dissension, and he loves it when we are discontent.
Envy and love do not coexist.
If we are envious of our brothers, we are not loving them, or God.
Satan knows that. He is ever ready to point out anything that will cause us to complain, and then he will list all the reasons we have a right to be angry. To be dissatisfied.
Can’t we learn from the one who did the very same thing?
Satan was once the most beautiful angel (Isaiah 14:12-14). But that was not enough for him. And who was he comparing himself to? The mighty one, the everlasting God. And as Satan looked at him, instead of awe, Satan was discontent. Serving God was not enough—he wanted God’s position, so God cast him out of heaven.
What can we do when we are envious?
1. Thank God for what you do have. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Is it a car you want that you cannot afford yet? Then thank God for the one you have that is still running. Thank him that you can get it fixed, yet again.
2. Praise God for who he is. Get your eyes off of what is physical and seek out the one who is invisible, the one over all. Praise God for being God, for being sovereign. Praise him for being the great provider. Read Philippians 4:19. Praise him for his timing which is perfect. If you have a legitimate need, he will provide. He’s promised.
3. Rejoice with those who rejoice. The more we practice, the easier it will become. And when you feel a shade of green coming on, go to God. Tell him how you feel. He can change the hearts he made.
4. Give something away. This may seem like a stretch, I know. But thinking of someone else will get your eyes off of you. Ask God how you might be able to meet someone’s need. Warning: You may feel like you’re going to break, but you won’t. It’s just some part of you that God will sand away. A part you don’t need anymore.
If we take steps to follow what God asks us to do, it’s a win/win. We will grow in our walk. We will exercise our muscles of faith. And lastly, others will see in us, a glimpse of our Savior.
And deep down, you’ll know, you pleased God. And he’ll rejoice with your obedience.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author of fourteen books. Some of which are: Her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, children’s books and poetry books. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still ‘Grandma’ to her three grandchildren here, and one in heaven. To find out more about Anne you can visit her at:
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 12, 2017