“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16
Amidst my frustration He gently whispered these words, “Josie, eyes on your own paper, too much looking in that direction causes you to look away from Me…”
Eyes on your own paper, I thought to myself, I was told that once before… It was somewhere between 3rd and 5th grade. My best friend sat in front of me, a row over, and to the left. A seat that was perfectly in line enough for my eyes to meet her quiz answers with ease. She knew that I did not study, and she moved her paper over so that I could copy all of her answers. Unsurprisingly, we were embarrassed and ashamed the next day when the teacher gave us both ‘F’s’ for cheating on that quiz. She advised us to always keep our eyes on our own papers…
Recently, as a newer mom and well, just being blatantly female, I noticed how much time I really spend looking at other women’s ‘papers!’ I look at how they dress, what they have, how they raise their kids, etc. etc. etc. Before I know it, I’m on a downward spiral of spite and envy, convinced that my body is atrocious, my house is unlivable, my abilities are limited, my efforts are sluggish, my mothering is deplorable and every other woman I come in contact with obviously has it all together! (And lives a beautifully stress free, fully lavish life!J)
Then the judgment sets in.
It makes perfect sense that envy so easily turns into evil. I hate to admit this, but I’ve noticed in my past how the person I was envying soon became the target in which I set my bull’s-eye. It was easier to accept what it was I envied about them, if I could somehow attribute it to something negative. If I didn’t think about it this way, then I would instead turn the condemnation toward myself. ‘I don’t spend enough time with my son. I will never be as successful as her. I will never be as athletic, talented, graceful, smart, skinny blah blah blah!’ Don’t we quickly forget that God’s blueprint for our lives is a one- of-a-kind original not meant to look like anyone else’s? It is a terrible thing us women often do to ourselves and each other.
In grade school neither I nor my best friend benefitted from sharing quiz answers. Unless my eyes are looking through lenses of love, there’s still no good that comes from focusing on anyone else’s life and all that they have within it. Envy is slow burning stick of dynamite, with no other purpose but to completely annihilate relationships, confidence, truth and ultimately love.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30
Hearing His words, “Josie, eyes on your own paper, too much looking in that direction causes you to look away from Me,” finally made sense to me. Duh! Keeping my eyes on Him means my eyes won’t be as likely to travel in other unhealthy directions. So I decided to commit my thoughts to Him when envy starts to show its ugly face. I asked Him how to kick envy’s butt for good and here is what He gave me…
Pause and catch your thought. Think about ‘what or who’ it is you have set your eyes on, rather than the One who is truly worth our focus.
Pray that the Lord would help you let go of the need to compare or envy at that very moment and instead fill you with love and humility.
As hard as this one can be sometimes, find a way to encourage the other person for what it is you desire of theirs, and praise the Lord for Him blessing them so.
Pick love. If nothing else comes to mind, this is your quick ‘two word’ go to: PICK LOVE!
Finally, practice 1-4 until you’re so full of joy overflowing that you actually can’t wait to celebrate with that person, what it was you envied in their life in the first place!
The outcome of implementing these 5 “P’s”
will ultimately result in a 6th ‘P’ PEACE!
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace;and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11