Some words make me sad. It was a Saturday morning, I sat in my regular coffee shop in town with a friend making patterns in my cappuccino froth while she slurped the end of a smoothie through a chewed straw. Halfway through our conversation a cute girl we know, I forget her name, walked past us with an impressive entourage of well-dressed people in tow. My friend watched the girl as she waltzed past us. She turned and whispered to me, “Wow, I wish I was her.” Yes, my beautiful and down to earth friend seated in front of me said uttered those words, and they made me sad.
“I wish I was her.”
Why do we always want to trade in our lives for somebody else’s? Why do we look at what someone else has and want it so badly we can’t even like the person who has it? Why do we spend hours in front of the TV watching other people’s lives and intensely desire them. Why do we look at the neighbour’s car and imagine how successful we would feel if we drove it?
Bet this has happened- it’s a Friday night, you log onto Facebook and see an old friend at a party and think- “I wish I had friends like that.” Or maybe, you go to the beach, notice your colleague has lost a lot of weight and comment “I wish I was thin like you.” Perhaps your brother gets a promotion and you don’t, doesn’t something inside you say, “Hmm, I deserved it more.”
Come clean, this is what caused my friend to make that comment, and we all struggle with it- it’s the twisted cousin of the green monster, and its name is envy.
Envy is sneaky, it’s like a student who tells himself everyone bunks lectures so it’s ok. It isn’t. Envy has become such a common part of our vocabulary and our culture that we see it as permissible, expected, even humorous.
Here’s the truth: nobody has a perfect career, body, partner, child or life.
The Bible speaks about issues of the human heart, and in the book of Psalms 73:1-5 it says: “No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying…”
The Bible may be onto a few things there:
1. When you are good hearted, God is able to bless you with more good things.
2. You can miss all the good things in your life because you are not paying attention to them.
3. We have a choice- either we can look to God and his goodness or look to people and feel envious and inadequate.
Us humans, often we get so busy feeling sorry for ourselves and whining about what we don’t have that we don’t notice the envy growing in our hearts. When we allow envy to become a habit in our life it pulls us apart in a constant game of comparison. The victims of its clutches lose their confidence and joy. It can be very difficult for all those who are close to you if you are always unsatisfied with your life, and this habit will affect your relationships. One of the worst consequences of envy is we stop being an inspirational and encouraging person. Surely, nobody wants that!
Envy is stupid. God has made each and every one of us quirky, cute and a one of a kind. There is no reason why anyone should look at what other people have and let it make us feel not as good. No ways, don’t let this get hold of you! God has a plan for our lives which is more exciting than the Never Ending Story and more adventurous than Star Wars.
You know what I did in that coffee shop? I stopped my friend and asked, “Do you actually mean that?” The question made her think. “You’ve got loads going for you…” She hesitated. “Plus, we wouldn’t be friends if you were someone else.”
She agreed, “Yeah, you’re right, I guess I don’t really wish that. I’ll keep what I’ve got!” I laughed and smiled, those words make me happy.