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,
Laura 


17 comments:

  1. A most encouraging reminder. Each of our lives will take a different road by God's design. But you are right - we can look at social media posts and long for something more. May we keep our eyes on the Lord and live our days according to His plan for each of our lives. Blessings!

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  2. I agree, social media is great in many ways but it can also be dangerous and I think there are times when we need to take a step back. It's important to remember that people deliberately put the good bits of their lives on there and often it doesn't tell the full story.

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    1. Exactly. I try to remember that as well. We never really know what goes on behind the picture. Thanks Lesley.

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  3. Laura,
    Thank you so much for writing this post. I can so relate! I live with a life-altering chronic illness, which needless to say, does not allow me to enjoy a lot of the things which I once did, BUT GOD (two of my most favorite words!) has given me some amazing opportunities to bloom right where I'm planted, and I give Him ALL the honor, glory and praise!

    But, I, too, have learned that I MUST take a break from social media, not only for my sake, but also for the sake of my hubby! Because when I am on there too much, oh my, how that green-eyed monster rears its ugly head as I see all that others are doing, which I can do longer do. I know that sounds petty, but it's the truth. The fun in the sun. The vacations and cruises. The parties and get-togethers.

    But I know deep in my heart that the Lord has me right where He wants me, just easier to think that on some days compared to other days!

    Thank you again for this post. It helped me realize that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

    God Bless You,
    Barb Camp
    www.castingyourcare.org

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    1. Hi Barb,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing! I think everyone probably struggles with this at some time or another. But it can be hard to recognize, and sometimes even harder to admit! Thank God for His love and work in our lives no matter what we have to deal with!

      Bless you Barb,
      Laura

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  4. Laura... when I read the first few paragraphs of the post, I recollected an incidence in past. My daughter (9yrs old) had come home, little upset. After the first outburst of cries, she asked me, "Why had God not made me fair? Why do I have brown skin?" My answer to her was, "God is the best sculptor of all. He chooses the shape and colour for everyone after considering thousands of options. And then selects only the best that is most suitable for the person He is making. Just like how you choose your crayons to colour the picture" And it really made peace with her.
    I wondered, how did I come up with this answer! Inner voice echoed, "From prayers!" Prayers indeed have strengthened my belief in God that whatever He chooses for me, is the best thing for me; whether I like it at the moment or later!
    Thank you for providing handy tips to over come those "J" (jealous) feelings!
    - Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    http://mocktailmommies.blogspot.in/2017/08/dinner-time-investments.html

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  5. You are so right! I can relate to this well and finding a way to have a healthy relationship with social media when you struggle with jealousy is so hard.

    I don't have all the answers, but I agree that a break sometimes helps. Sometimes you need a long break. Sometimes you need to stop completely to find Him first.

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  6. Sometimes I have to come back to words that I used to say to my boys when they were all young and someone was complaining about inequity in the universe of our home.
    "Everyone has different blessings."
    I need this reminder. Thanks, Laura!

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  7. Thanks for the encouraging reminder, Laura! You're so right, social media isn't necessarily bad, but there can be bad about it. I've learned to avoid checking in on days when I'm already prone to envy or sadness or frustration that social media feeds tend to exacerbate. I've also learned to just tell God what I'm seeing and thinking as I scroll, even just praying for each person who posts at times. That changes my perspective : ) As my friend Kate Redmon pointed out on her blgo recently, it's hard to idolize someone you are praying for sincerely!

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  8. Laura, what a great post. I have struggled with envy and jealousy because of social media, on occasion. It's usually triggered by something you described...when others have gone to an event I would have loved to have been at, but couldn't. You're right. We need to be proactive when those feelings creep into our thoughts and hearts. Removing ourselves from the trigger (social media) is a great suggestion.

    As I pursue a calling God has given me, I am also having to remember to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and Him alone. Whenever I've turned my gaze to those who are ahead of me on the journey I end up feeling frustrated, and "less-than." God's timing for my journey is perfect. When I lean into the truth and trust Him, that's when I can shake off the talons of envy and jealousy.

    I'm your neighbor at Holley Gerth's today. It's so nice to meet you!

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  9. I struggle - and it's a battle. I remember when I was little, I'd asked for a guitar for Christmas. My brother got the guitar. I got a big stuffed bear. It was like someone he got my dream, and I got something I didn't even consider. I felt unheard and unloved. Seeing other people receive gifts we asked for sometimes feels like that. Yet, I've learned a couple of things. People struggle in ways we don't often see. On facebook, sometimes, we really don't know enough about our "friends" lives to know their struggles - and that, I think, is where we neglect relationship with those God gives us. Someone's high (vacation) might be in the midst of, or after having lived some very low lows. Highs don't happen at the same time. No one should have to justify a time of blessing or just a blessing, but jealousy provokes that kind of response - a "do you deserve it" response." God has really worked with me to understand and value the differences in my path - and not let another's "high" moment when I'm in a low, or another's frustration that I experienced a "high" moment steal the joy of discovering and living this path God has set me on. Your post would be so good to discuss with a bunch of women over coffee! Thanks for sharing your heart and your insight! Shalom in your journey this week, Laura! ~ Maryleigh

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  10. So very true. I struggle with what I see on social media so often that I have to take nights off just to refocus. I know every life is different, but I find myself yearning for what I see. Thank you for this timely reminder.

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  11. These are great tips. Social media is great for so many reasons, but difficult for other reasons, and finding the balance that keeps us connected, but doesn't hurt our heart, can be a tough boundary line to understand. Thank you for sharing - these are great suggestions!

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  12. I'm a big social-media-break-taker myself. It's a gift to just focus on my life and the glory He's put in front of me each day. :) It's fun to rejoice with others too, but sometimes it's just good for your heart to sit it out, isn't it? :) ((hug))

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  13. I found this on Writer Wednesday. Thank you for your honesty here! I think this is something we all struggle with. I have a long list of things I wish I were more successful with, especially blogging. Thank you.

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  14. Yep, I'm totally guilty of the same thing, especially with regard to some people I don't think are "deserving" of those good things I don't have. God is always quick to remind me of the amazing things he's done for me.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!