People say admitting your issues is the first step in recovery. It usually comes after mass amounts of denial. We all have acceptable sins. The sins we classify as easier to express. The sins that are easier to deal with. The ones that come with the least amount of shame. The ones where the image you spend your days carefully crafting can still survive. I’ve spent years walking the tight rope between carefully crafted identity and failing fragile facade. This has led to sin of all kinds, distractions, and drowning myself in sorrows alone. When you spend more time hiding yourself than you do seeking God you lose your footing. You become discontent. You become shackled to chains that were broken on the cross. How this looks can be different from person to person but for me it was the green eyes. Eyes coated with envy. Envy of things that I wanted that everyone else around me seemed to have. You can't love people rightly when you’re too busy wanting and idolizing the very people they are. I wasn’t jealous of material things. I don’t want people’s families, fame, or fortunes. I most envied freedom. The confidence to be yourself. The strength to be vulnerable. The love for self that allows you to walk without shame. The beauty of really believing what God says about you. The faith to know that your prayers matter. The fierceness to trust the giftings of God. The hope that makes you trust Godly community. But I wasn’t that woman. I’m learning to be her but it took me awhile. Envy has robbed me of a lot over the years. Envy has no place in relationship. Envy weighs your heart down even when the things you envy are things you should rightfully desire. Envy paralyzes your command to love.
Scripture says, “ ….love does not envy or boast” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Loving people requires you to be genuine and you can’t do that when you’re envious. Even when the things you’re envious of are good things they change your view of your surroundings. Have you ever had the need to subtly insult someone? To be petty? To exclude someone? To throw shade on their victories? This is envy. It may be difficult to articulate. It may be even harder to accept but acknowledging the deceit in your heart is a required step towards freedom.
Envy unchecked becomes a slow catalyst to a constant flow of unloving decisions. Envy jades our hearts toward people we are commanded to love. If I envy you I stop encouraging you for fear your success will overshadow mine. I stop fighting for you so I can remain a champion. I stop being your cheerleader because I’m no longer on the same team. I stop being a safe confidant because I’d rather tear you down. I stop being dependable because I abandon your need for support. I stop being sacrificial because I’m more concerned with my feelings than your well being. I stop bearing your burdens because I want you to cave under pressure.
None of this is how we were created to deal with God’s creation. We are called to pursue one another in love. Pursuit of love is active. It is diligent. It is a constant will to do better and be better. Fight to be open and honest. Trade in your green eyes for Christ eyes. Be ruled by love and not envy. Seek to love others enough to confess your envy and to let it go.
No Envy. No Lies. Just Love.
- Jenean Elizabeth