My Relationships/Teen Relationships Jealousy Doesn’t Look Good on You… Or Anyone by Cassie Sadie When I think of jealousy, I imagine someone as green as the wicked witch of the west. Yikes! Couldn’t be me. But when I’m honest with myself, I know I sure do have way more of that nasty green inside of me than I’d ever want to admit. Someone whips out the newest iPhone? Gosh, I want that updated camera! A couple walks by me, laughing and holding hands? I now need to fall in love in less than 30 seconds. I scroll through Instagram and see an influencer in Paris…again? I start planning a trip I have absolutely no budget for. You get the point. It’s worse though when it’s not just strangers on the streets or celebrities with millions of followers. Often, these people with such seemingly perfect lives, or at least aspects of their lives, are our own friends, peers, and family members. Suddenly, their lifestyle seems so much more attainable because we know them but even further out of reach as it’s not our own reality. So close but yet, so far away. Social media sure doesn’t help things, showing everyone’s highlight reel and shoving others’ best looks and popularity down our throats. But the truth is jealousy was prevalent way before our generation. Just open the Bible to the very beginning. As early as chapter 3 of Genesis, Adam and Eve clearly envy God’s knowledge and want it for themselves. We see how well that went! In the very next chapter, Cain is so resentful of God’s preference for Abel’s offering that he kills his own brother! That’s the danger of jealousy. If left to dwell and fester in our minds, not only does it make us unhappy, but it can lead to poor decisions and broken relationships. Surely we wouldn’t do anything as drastic as ya know, murdering a loved one (or anyone, for that matter) or bringing sin into the world, but the extreme examples prove a point. There’s a reason jealousy is often called the ugly green monster. It isn’t cute. In fact, it’s polarizing and brings others and ourselves down. What’s really attractive is joy, contentment, and peace. Yes, in a sinful world, it’s natural to feel envious at times. But our feelings should never define us. It’s high time we stop letting them. Instead, if a jealous feeling points to something we can (and should) change, then we should channel it into energy to work harder to achieve that goal. If it points to something we can’t (or shouldn’t) change, we should brush it off as quickly as it came. But how can we experience these and not get caught up in the fact that many people, including some we see almost every day, are (at least seemingly) more attractive, richer, more popular, holier (because yes, you can even be jealous of holiness), smarter, more talented, and the like? 1. Be Thankful Time to put on that attitude of gratitude. A thankful heart is the perfect medicine for a jealous mind. Make a conscious effort each day to notice things you’re grateful for and offer it up in prayer to God. He does more for us than we can ever imagine, thinking of us every single millisecond of every single day, and crafting every bit of our lives for our ultimate eternal good. And how do we often repay him? By wanting aspects of a life that wasn’t meant for us, that we’re protected from by the vision and genius of a loving, all-knowing God? The very least we can do is thank Him for the blessings he showers upon us. Additionally, in conversations with others, it’s all too easy to complain and speak in negativity. Instead, try mentioning things you’re thankful for, not in an obnoxious or prideful way but ideally about things the other party can relate to. As a bonus, positivity will only make you more enjoyable to be around. 2. Pray If you are experiencing envy, give it immediately to God. Pour out your heart to Him, honestly and openly. Whether you perceive your struggle to be over something big or small, He longs for you to share all with him. If you only ask, he will help you. Offer any struggle with jealousy (or anything else, for that matter) to Him as well. No matter the size of the burden, Jesus can use any suffering for the good of souls. No need for your pain to go to waste. Let it be redeemed. Focus on Your Own Path This is where the phrase “stay in your lane” comes into play. Live your own life, and don’t get caught up in others’ business. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Strive to change your perspective to see others as souls to be loved and not a competition to be beaten. Because in the game of life, there’s only one way to win: to become a saint. There’s no limit to the number of winners, and in this game, you reach your goal by helping others win too. Know that God has a plan uniquely in place for you. When you truly believe that, there’s no reason to ever be jealous because everything you have or don’t, are or aren’t, is ultimately for your benefit. In this culture of unhealthy competition to prove who has the “best” life, let’s instead strive to live the life most like Christ. Let’s take our gaze off others, off our phones, and even off of ourselves, and set it on our God. For it’s only in Him that our lives have real meaning.