I recently was given the honor to be a groomsman in the wedding of one of my best friends. It was such a beautiful ceremony. I loved being able to lift my buddy up and celebrate the biggest day of his life. It was the first time I wore a suit in over a year, so I was amped to tear it up on the dance floor during the reception. Everyone loves doing the cupid shuffle and the cha-cha slide. But as a single young adult, it was game time when the slow dances started. I found a friend and asked her to dance. Fortunately for me, she said yes. I spent a minute trying my best not to step on her feet before she looked at me and said, “don’t you feel a little sad?” I couldn’t comprehend the question. I looked over at the newlyweds and smiled. “How could I be sad? Look at how happy they are.”
It’s true, I couldn’t have been happier at that moment. I was on cloud nine, almost disgusted with the thought of having any negative feelings at that moment. But I knew my dance partner was wishing this was her day. The reality is that everyone experiences jealousy. This was just the first real time I saw it in someone and was able to recognize it.
I really would love to say I never felt that way, but that experience urged me to reflect on my own relationship with jealousy. At 21 years old, it’s nearly impossible not to compare yourself to others. There have been countless times I’ve looked at other young adults and thought:
I wish I had that brand new car.
I can’t believe I wasn’t picked to lead that project.
I wish I was in a relationship like that.
I hate that I don’t have that skill.
I wish I were that smart, funny, (insert any trait).
I spent many nights on the edge of my bed praying for these things, hoping the jealousy would go away if I just got what I wanted. There’s a passage in Proverbs that will catch your attention if you’ve ever felt like I have:
“A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” - Proverbs 14:30
But how can you even find “tranquility” in this age of social media and comparison? Life in the digital world is a competition and let’s be honest, if you aren’t Olivia Rodrigo...you’re losing!
The best way to fight jealousy is gratitude.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Jealousy for me is an ongoing struggle. I often have to remind myself that God is so generous to me. Practicing gratitude takes on a form of worship in my life. I take the things I envy in others and flip it over to reveal the joy in what I have.
I am grateful I have a car that works and gets me where I want to go.
I am grateful I am given the opportunity to support and love my peers.
I am grateful for the relationships I have in my life with my family and friends.
I am grateful God has given me the ability to learn from others and enjoy diversity.
I am grateful God made me the way He did, I am in need of nothing.
The next time you feel envy bubbling within your bones, take time to list things that you’re grateful for. It’s much easier to be jealous, but to find God’s peace, take that time that you typically would use being frustrated, and use it to pray and thank God for all the things He’s blessed you with. I challenge you to pull out a pen and paper and list everything you’re grateful for right now. Invite God to be a part of this time and for Him to open your eyes to see how He’s been moving in your life. It might be hard to start but soon you’ll begin to feel the clarity and joy that comes with practicing gratitude.
Aspiring to inspire the next generation. Being an enneagram 7 means I don't know any of the other enneagram types.