The Dangerous Effects of Jealousy
As I sat across from her drinking coffee, I couldn’t help but think about how I have looked at her in the past. I have been jealous of her. Flat out ugly jealous. She seems to do life with such ease. Even the way that she loves Jesus seems flawless. Easy. Fun.
Oh, I’ve felt awful about this. I’ve asked the Lord to change my heart about her. About how it seems like her life is better than mine. About where my heart is tempted to go when I look at her and the opportunities she has. And you know what God has shown me as I’ve continued to bring these thoughts and feelings to Him?
She’s beautiful. She’s gifted at the calling he’s placed on her life. I can honestly say it’s brought me joy to watch her walk in this gifting. She’s showing other people who God is, and I get to watch. And all the while I’ve been jealous, she’s been cheering me along, reminding me of how God has designed and equipped me to live out this crazy life that God has called us to. She’s shown me Jesus. And I almost missed. Jealousy almost stole this from me.
As God continues to break down the walls of comparison in my heart, I’ve come to see that I have beauty in me, too. It’s not the same as this friend, and it shouldn’t be. I have a calling over my life with purpose and gifts that are unique to me. And you know what? God needs us both! He needs us both to declare loudly and boldly that He has room for us all and that we play a special part in showing the world His beauty. That we are a part, but He is EVERYTHING!
Is jealousy stealing from you? If it has, let me offer a word of encouragement. Galatians 6: 4-5 (MSG) reads, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
What creative work does God want to do in and through your life? Each and every one of us gets in on this opportunity to use what God has given us for His glory. There is no one that God excludes. When we spend time camping out with jealousy, we miss the opportunity to walk in our calling, but we also miss the opportunity to see God at work in those around us. It’s going to take us all ladies! Let’s get to work!
Wife Step: Prayerfully consider where jealousy may be rearing its ugly head in your life. Ask God to forgive you of this, and then ask God to reveal what He may be asking of you, based on the beautiful gifts He has given you. Also, ask God to show you how you can encourage your sister’s in Christ to do the same.
Amy Walkup is in the final stages of completing her degree as a professional counselor. She is passionate about sitting with others in the midst of their pain and difficulties in order to find the place where God is working to bring restoration and transformation. Amy desires to see women, men, and families transformed by the grace of God. Living in rural Minnesota with her farming husband and two sets of twins, she continues to learn more about the grace of God and how this grace allows God’s children to be made new.
I’m not who I was when I got married.
It was less than three years ago when I stood at an altar in front of a cross and said, “I do,” to vows we wrote and vows we borrowed. And in less than three years, I have become a different person.
My heart has changed. I’ve grown closer to God. And I’ve learned to love myself more. I have very different interests and concerns than the girl who stood in a white dress at 24.
My husband isn’t the same person either. His passions have grown. His friendships have changed. The goals he has for himself and his family are vastly different than they were three years ago.
Maybe you’ve changed a lot since your wedding day, and maybe your husband has too. Maybe there have been some beautiful changes and maybe some that aren’t so lovely. And while sometimes the changes are positive ones, other changes can be difficult.
Some changes threaten to steal away the promises we made on our wedding day.
When we base the commitment to our husbands on how we feel he has changed for the worse or for the best, we are putting our hope in a pretty shaky foundation.
But God. Our God never changes.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
When we put our hope in Him, and we plant our roots down into Him (Colossians 2:7) in our marriages, we stand on the firmest foundation there has ever been.
You’re not who you were when you got married, but God is the same God today as the day you made a vow to Him and your husband.
There are no coincidences and no accidents in God’s Kingdom. He works everything out for our good. Don’t believe me? Read Romans 8:28. He is working your marriage out for good, too.
Don’t let differences distract you from the divine gift God has given you in your spouse.
When marriage gets hard and the fights feel never-ending, we look up. When we wonder who in the world we even married, we look up. When we think maybe we should have married someone different because we ourselves are so different now, we look up.
We’ll never be the same as we were the day we wore a veil and cut a cake, but we can make a decision to hold on to the same feeling of honor and respect we had for our husbands that day. We can take those promises with us no matter how many times we change in this life. We can continue to look up as the world around us and inside us shifts. Because our God never shifts.
When we get married, we aren’t only agreeing to love the man in front of us for who he is that day, but for who he will be every day after that. Because we won’t always be who we are that day, and neither will he.