Friday, August 25, 2017

The Twinge of Jealousy

I wasn’t really thinking about much of anything as I scrolled through my Facebook feed…until I saw more vacation pictures, and I felt that familiar twinge.

It seems to come out of nowhere, but it must be simmering right under the surface because it rises up suddenly and grips me from the inside.

It’s those feelings of jealously and envy I don’t even want to admit to you. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.

But something different happened today as soon as I recognized those feelings.

I felt like God was reminding me that my road looks different than someone else’s. It may not be as pretty as the pictures I was looking at, but it is no less important.

And I felt myself relax.

I hadn’t noticed when my body tensed up, but jealousy and envy will do that to us. It takes control of our senses and tries to tell us what we feel is true. Honestly, jealously and envy are such bullies. {Tweet this}

When I felt God’s reminder wash over me though, I felt peace. My body relaxed as the tension drained, and thankfulness replaced discontentment.

It didn’t used to happen this quickly for me. I would stew in thoughts of comparison. I would continue to scroll through others’ perfect-looking pictures and think about it for hours, making myself feel even worse. But, I’ve learned that’s not the way I want to live.

God is teaching me that my calling is unique. He has me in a place that is just where I’m supposed to be right now.

It may not be what I had planned, but I know now that where He has me is where I want to be, because any other place would be my will, not His.

God’s plans are not always easy, but they are better than I imagined. Even when the road is rocky and difficult to walk, He has good things along the way that only He could have planned.

God’s plans for each of us are different. They may look similar and we may walk along the same path for a while, but God’s plans are always unique. 

Our life stories will never be identical because He creates each of us with an identity all our own. {Tweet this}

Still, social media has a way of making us forget this. So, how can we keep from falling into this trap of comparison and jealously over and over?

Spend time in prayer and God’s Word.

Access to social media is so easy, but it can’t be the only place we spend our time. I believe that as I’ve grown in my faith journey, I’ve learned to sense God’s presence with me. As I pray and read His Word, I don’t wonder if He’s with me. I know He’s with me.

God’s presence in our lives has to be greater than the presence of social media in our lives. {Tweet this}

I’m not anti-social-media. It has its good points, but like anything, it also has its bad points. If it’s where we spend most of our time, it gets harder to differentiate between the two.

Change your perspective.

How we look at our circumstances makes a difference. If all we can see are the difficulties and what we don’t have, we end up living with a negative perspective of everything. 

But, if we can make a conscious effort to look for God’s blessings in the midst of trials, we will begin to see the good, despite the bad. We will still see the dark storm clouds and our trying circumstances, but it won’t be the only things we see.

Take a break from social media.

I started to learn this lesson a few years ago when there was a conference I would have liked to attend. I scrolled through the conference pictures and comments most of the weekend, even though my feelings of jealously and envy were growing quickly and affecting my mood and attitude around my family. 

I finally wondered Why am I doing this to myself?

What I want to focus on is those around me and the life God has blessed me with, and not let pictures of someone else’s opportunities ruin it.

That means sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from social media. Avoiding the constant updates on what everyone else is doing keeps me from becoming jealous and irritable, and makes me a more pleasant person to be around. Something I’m sure my family appreciates.

What’s been your experience? Do you struggle with jealousy and envy with social media?

In Christ,