Last year my friend and I got Gold Class movie tickets as a Christmas gift. We got ourselves settled into the comfy couches (DO NOT go when you are tired unless you’re just wanting to pay for a nap – waaaay too cozy!) and took a selfie – as you do – and checked-in online, tagging the friend that had given us the tickets so they could see us enjoying them.
A friend of mine, married with two adorable kiddies, posted on the picture saying “oh to be single again”!
Ok, firstly, pretty sure married people are allowed to go to the movies too! But that’s beside the point.
This is not an isolated type of comment. I get these kinds of things all the time “you make me wish I was single again too” and other such statements. Normally I grimace politely and bite my tongue (nothing more difficult for a jealous person to work through than a person who has what you’re jealous of being jealous of what you have) – but this time I couldn’t resist and I wrote back to her “really, you’d trade your husband and kids in in exchange for going to the movies with a girlfriend?! I don’t know that you’ve really thought that right through!”
Now, of course (I guess?) that’s not what she was saying – she’s just expressing a wish to be enjoying what we were enjoying at the time – but that’s what jealousy is actually revealing in our hearts.
Jealousy is the warning light that alerts us to a degree of mistrust in God’s plans, purposes and provision in our life.
Think about it. When we are looking to others’ lives and thinking “I wish I had that” or “why can’t I be like that” we’re effectively saying what God has given to us – to be or have or do – the work He is doing in us and the works He has prepared FOR us – are somehow inferior or ‘wrong’. When we are jealous, when we say “I want THAT for me” we are implying that “THAT” is better and by natural flow on, what we have is worse.
To personalise it to my circumstances, to desire to be married or to have children is not, in and of itself, wrong. But to desire that to the detriment or disdain of what I have NOW is to move into an unhealthy space in my thought life and heart. It’s to suggest that God has somehow got it wrong. That the plans He has for my life are not good ones (contrary to the promise of scripture – Jer 29:11 etc) even if they’re challenging, that the work He is doing in and through me is ‘less than’, that His love and provision in my life is deficient in some way.
For reflection … in relation to your jealousy triggers, what do they highlight of your mistrust of or disappointment in God’s plans for your life or this season? How could you reflect on your current situation differently to see God’s provision – even in the mundane of ‘normal’ life – and His preparation of you for His purposes in and through you?