Envy: A Dangerous “Friend”

“I wish my hair/smile/body looked like hers.” “I wish I had that big, beautifully decorated house.” “She seems to travel to the coolest places all the time. I wish I could afford that.” “Her family always looks so coordinated and picture perfect on her social media. Why can’t my family be like that?” “Why can’t my income be larger so I can have/do all the things she gets to?” “Her spouse is always so attentive and flirty towards her when we all get together. Why can’t my husband be more like hers?” “Why is it everyone has a man but me?”

It’s no secret that women generally, prefer shopping more so than men. We meander through every aisle, sometimes visiting multiple stores, looking at everything offered in an effort to find the most beautiful, the best value, or the longest-lasting items. We love telling people about how much we saved on a good deal. According to Bloomberg, women make more than 85% of the consumer purchases in the United States, and reputedly influence over 95% of total goods and services purchased.

Contrary to what you may believe in your own home sometimes, we women actually have a lot of influence over our loved ones in other ways too besides finances. The saying, “happy wife, happy life” as well as “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” both allude to the influence we can choose to gift or inflict onto our spouse/boyfriend and/or kids. And, yes, they have that same influence over our lives. But, right now, we’re talking about me and you.

We also learn from the statistics mentioned above that the shortcomings of Adam and Eve that caused their downfall in the Garden of Eden, are still as prominent now as ever. After all, it was Eve who not only consumed the forbidden fruit but then persuaded her husband to do the same in a perfect land. A PERFECT world where none of the statements at the beginning of this post would be relevant. Eve already had EVERYTHING she could possibly want. The scripture in Proverbs 23:1-3 tells you that it is wise to ‘Consider carefully what is before you’. Eve had a abundance of food before her. She and her beloved were literally made for each other and Adam only had eyes for her. She lived in the greatest place on earth but she was so focused on the one thing she didn’t have that she lost sight of the abundance provided to her.

“Well, I don’t get jealous of other people that often,” you say as you try to justify your envy. “I’m no worse than anyone else and I’m mostly content with my life.” This message must be for your friend, not you, right?

Sis, it is often a very painful journey when we start really looking in the mirror of our heart. Stepping back and allowing God to expose the real us to ourselves can make us angry, depressed, or even put us in denial. I know that’s how I felt when God showed me my struggle with envy. Honestly, at the time it was more of a flaw I accepted as part of my personality rather than a spiritual fight to do what is commanded in the Bible.

If God wants to expose your similar flaw then get ready. We will blame advertisements for bombarding us. We blame our lack of education or apathetic bosses for why we’re not further ahead financially. We blame exs for not being who we wanted them to be and the blame game goes on and on.

Ultimately, the only way to overcome envy is to stare at your complacency and consent towards the ugliness of envy right in the face. Then you must confess to your Father your willingness to let envy enter your heart and ask His forgiveness. Don’t forget to forgive yourself too though. Then be ready to fight because the enemy will throw everything he can at you to win your heart back into an envious game of comparison. Envy steals the joy that is given to you through your blessings. Choose wisely.

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