Combating Jealousy

The thought, “Is that what 34 is supposed to look like?” went surging through my thoughts as I stared at the Instagram photo before me. The influencer had just turned 34 and naturally had to post about how gorgeous she looked on her birthday. I turned 34 recently, and instead of looking like a mature woman, I feel like I could pass for a geeky, 18-year-old kid. Instead of rejoicing that the influencer looked beautiful on her birthday, I found myself irritated that I couldn’t look the same way. Looking back on those foolish moments, I laugh to myself that I was ever jealous in the first place, but selfishness is a constant battle. The comparison trap is no laughing matter.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7b ESV

The Comparison Trap

Social media enjoys showing me photos of what my life should look like, everything from perfectly imperfect styled food photos, succulent planters, and influencers who seemingly display perfection. This tends to make me discontent and unhappy that I do not have whatever my "current desire" is. My outer shell is not perfect. My home does not look like a magazine, nor do I have any sort of popularity. So envy starts slowly, seeping into the darkest corners of my heart.  

It is amazing how women can get so easily caught up in the comparison trap. It doesn’t matter what the perceived disparity is. We often compare ourselves to other women. The comparisons can come in many forms; looks, wealth, possessions, creativity levels, cooking skills, motherhood, etc. There are even Christian ladies who struggle with jealousy in ministry. 

We often look to the world to find answers on how we can overcome this issue, and we are directed to love ourselves more. If we look at the pattern of Scripture, it says the opposite. We already love ourselves too much and think we deserve better. If we are emptied of ourselves and focused on Christ and serving others, we wouldn’t have the time to get jealous over other women. We would rejoice in what the Lord has given us, but we should also rejoice in how other women have been blessed. If we take our eyes off of our King and allow the world to dictate our mindset, we will be unhappy and discontent.  

While I struggle with jealously over physical appearance, my biggest struggle is comparing myself with women who have a deep knowledge of God’s Word and a gift of expression. I often feel sorry for myself when I read articles written by women who are deep thinkers and who can discover the hidden manna of the Bible. I long for that depth in my walk with the Lord.  

How To Combat Jealousy

What does the Lord expect us to do with these feelings of insecurity? The account of Peter’s conversation with the Lord in the book of John always pricks my conscience: 

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’

John 21: 20-22

This conversation reminds us that it does not matter what anyone else has or does; we have to decide to follow Him regardless of what we see around us. What is wonderful is that when we stand before Him at the Bema, He will not judge us by the standard of others. He will judge us by what He has given us to do.  

Here are some practical ways to combat the sin of jealousy:

  1. Rejoice in what you have been given.
  2. Praise God that He knows what is best.
  3. Serve others.
  4. Memorize Colossians 3:15-17.

I pray that we will seek to cultivate a heart of gratitude, a thankful and happy heart for what we have, and rejoice in the gifts that others have in Christ.   

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11 NKJV

Now What?

4 comments on “Combating Jealousy”

  1. Thank you Haley! I stopped watching home reno shows a number of years ago and it was a great help. . . but with FB all you have to do is scroll and someone, somewhere is getting a new kitchen. LOL It is definitely a trap and I do constantly go-to thanksgiving in order to block those thoughts. I am going to memorize that verse!

  2. Beautiful and much-needed article, Haley!

    I think social media makes it especially hard not to compare ourselves with others. But I love the verses you focused on, esp. the one in Colossians! And it strikes me that when we compare ourselves to others and choose to feel jealous and inferior, it’s like we’re saying to the Lord “how You made me isn’t good enough,” or “what You’ve given me isn’t good enough.” How that must hurt His heart.

    Thanks for your candor and encouragement. ❤️

  3. Oh Haley, that was so BEAUTIFUL SAID~!!! If we're honest with ourselves, we all struggle with that particular sin. But you pointed us to the answer.... following Christ regardless of what we see around us.

    I am SO THANKFUL that God brought you and your family into "our... Dale and me"... lives years ago. What a joy you and your family have been to me. I kind-of cried "happy tears" when I saw your name posted here and read what you had to say.

    The answer (I've found to be so true as I get older).... JESUS is the reason we live and have our being. Love you forever~!!! Love your whole family~!!!

    All because HE loved us first~!!!

  4. Haley, thanks for the well-timed reminder of how easy it is to get caught in the jealousy trap! Just got out of a conversation with a coworker and felt it. Such great suggestions to combating it too!

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