“Who does she think she is?” I thought angrily. I was looking through a friend’s endless smiling photos with my crush on Facebook. I went to another friend’s page, where I saw that he was currently enjoying a wonderful and exotic trip out of the country. “Lucky him!” I fumed. “What did he do to deserve that?”
I went from page to page, getting more and more annoyed. All these people’s lives seemed 10 times better than mine, and they didn’t even “deserve” it! I thought, “Does God love them more than He loves me?” Thankfully, my angry thoughts came to a halt and I began to calm down. I knew that notion was a lie, and I knew where lies like that come from. I glanced at the clock and gasped. Had I really just spent three hours on Facebook? It happened again—I was ensnared in the jealousy trap!
What happened to me? Why did I allow myself to get sucked in again? Perhaps like me you have felt jealousy at some point in your life, and it can be a difficult feeling to overcome! But fear not—there is hope! Using the following simple process, you too can escape the jealousy trap.
The first step is to define jealousy
Jealousy, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is an unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has. Have you ever been jealous of something you didn’t want for yourself? You may not want your sibling’s bad cold, but you definitely wish you could get out of doing chores like him or her. As Christians, we know that jealousy comes from our adversary, Satan, and our own human nature. Jealousy is a tool Satan uses to distract us from building a healthy relationship with God: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16 , English Standard Version).
The second step is to find your triggers
What triggers you into a fit of jealous fury? Is it being around peers who have more musical talent than you? How about being around those who appear to be more spiritual or righteous than you are? Maybe it is simply being around happy people in general. Whatever it is, find your trigger, and guard your heart with a vengeance during those times. Additionally you may even have to avoid some situations altogether. For example, if you find yourself feeling jealous of anyone more muscular than you after watching five hours straight of The Biggest Loser, or find yourself becoming jealous of couples after watching Say Yes to the Dress reruns, then you may want to cut those shows out of your life. One of my triggers is Facebook, so I try to only log in only when I have a purpose, because I realize that logging in at my leisure can be hurtful to me. “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (Proverbs 14:30, English Standard Version).
The third step is to gather your “escape tools!”
The three favorite escape tools that I use are prayer, meditation and faith. When I walk into a room of bubbly singles, I say a quick prayer to God, and every time I do this, I end up having a great, jealousy-free time. Prayer is a way to realize your weaknesses and ask for God’s help and involvement in your situation. Next, when you meditate on God’s way of life as found in the Bible, you are given a peace of mind from God that calms you down. The final escape tool I use is faith. Faith includes trusting that you are loved and cherished by God and that He can completely transform the desire of your heart from one of jealousy to one of love. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13, ESV).
Though the “green-eyed monster” of jealousy may seem impossible to beat yourself, it will be a successful battle with God.