Do you sometimes look at others and envy the lives they appear to have? You may imagine yourself living as they do, married to someone like they are married to with children like theirs. You may also find yourself a little jealous of their possessions, their freedoms or their general circumstance. If you carry it too far, you may even find yourself actually wishing and praying for what they have.
Here are some GOODreasons to notenvy:
You have no idea what is going on behind the scenes
Some people are so adept at disguising an otherwise horrible life as picture perfect. My life has twice been that very story. I appeared happily married, when in fact, I was either fearful for my life and the lives of my children or serving as the beard for a very sick individual. Both men wanted the ideal of an all-American family. I fulfilled the role and played it to a tee. So much so that no one believed me when the truth came out.
Doing so is counterproductive to fulfilling your own dreams
The people you envy may, indeed, have the idyllic life they portray. This is inconsequential to you. If you concentrate so much on having what they have, whether it is the perfect family, the best home, the fastest car, the latest electronics, whatever, you are wasting time, energy, and desire that you could be using to achieve your own dreams.
You may wind up feeling like a failure
Failure, or feeling like you will never measure up, is completely counterproductive. Instead, look around you at what you do have and love it, embrace it, show gratitude for it. These feelings will propel you to a level of satisfaction you will never achieve otherwise.
You are on your own path for a reason
Remember that God is still in charge, understand that perhaps some of the things you see as shortcomings are actually lovely little lessons he would have you learn. So embrace your weaknesses and lack-of's and build on them.
The outcome might not always be what you expect
Praying for something you don't have, that you envy in others, can have crazy results. I had a friend who was a young mother, but had to deal with an erratic, painful, and often inconvenient cycle. She envied her friends who were regular and, with a vacation approaching, she prayed that she could get through it without the pain of a surprise period. She did. But in its place, she got a pregnancy. Of course, she was delighted, but had to laugh at how her prayers were answered.
Envy robs you of what's really important
Focusing on the things you want takes you away from what really counts. I worked with a man and when I initiated a discussion on faith, he pulled out his wallet and grabbed a fist full of currency. "This is my God." Another man I knew said to me, "If God wants me to join a church, I will. Just as soon as he makes me a millionaire." A family I knew was so focused on becoming successful in order to have things that they neglected their children. Working more hours to provide your family with what you think is important robs them of what is more important - your time.
It will never be enough
Once you get that taste for something better, it could turn into a lifelong habit. Always looking around and wanting what others have and never appreciating what you have once you have it.
Often, the innocent pay the price
If you are so focused on having the best, often your spouse, children and friends pay the price. They realize that they are on the back burner and somehow things will begin to boil over, whether it is a strained marriage or children acting out or some other repercussion.
You risk losing gratitude for what you do have
If you persist, you may acquire the attitude that life is not fair and why should you be stuck in this awful life. Why don't you have what others have? Why you? You lose gratitude for all the blessings you do have.
It draws you away from God
The bottom line is that envy, jealousy, and covetousness are sins and are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
There is a solution, should you find yourself in this situation. Gratitude. That is the long and short of it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your life for you and your family. But when it becomes your focus and it is done in the spirit of envy or coveting, it is time to forsake and move on. Simple gratitude for all the blessings you have can be expressed to those you love and to God in your prayers. In return, you might be surprised how life will improve. Your perspective will change and free you up to focus on and accomplish more of the important things in life.