Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Five Ways to Control Envy

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. 
~ Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

Reading this passage of scripture, I got to wondering what motivates me. What motivates me in my marriage? In general? I couldn't help but wonder if that scripture is a gentle reminder to keep my envy in check.

Anytime we're motivated by jealousy we're merely chasing the wind, because those things that we seek outside of God's will for our lives can't fulfill us; they simply leave us empty and craving for more.

Common sense will tell us that the wind can never be harnessed; neither can a lust for this world. It seems that regardless of what my goal is or what object I hope to achieve, that finally reaching that goal or grasping that object only leaves me hungry for more and wanting the next best thing that I see.
Jealousy is a dangerous thing that can creep up unnoticed in any area of our life including our marriage. It brings on stress, a feeling of inadequacy, and sadly it takes our eyes off of our Father's will for our lives. That's why it's so important to always keep it in check.

What if you're husband is a hard working man, but you suddenly notice that your friends husbands are hardworking, attentive, and sensitive men, not to mention the fact that they like to bring flowers and chocolate home to their wives?

Does that mean that your husband should or could be doing better? Does it tell you that he needs to step things up a notch? Could he send you flowers more? Do more dishes? Help more with the kids?
What it should tell you is that God is blessing your marriage in His own way. By following His lead we find contentment and peace.

Many trainers believe that blinders (also known as winkers) are beneficial to race horses because they encourage the animal to pay attention to the race ahead. One of the biggest distractions in a race can be the crowd, another would be the other contestants.

In much the same way, we are far more productive when we focus on the plan ahead rather than checking out the competition and the crowds that they draw.

Comparing our husband or our marriage to someone else's is futile because we're all living out our own story. We've all come from different places and we're all dealing with our own set of circumstances, therefore the stories unfold in each their own way.

By controlling our envy, we can focus our energy in four ways:
1. Focus on God's will for your marriage and seek to serve Him
2. Realize the gifts that you both have and what you bring to your marriage
3. Do not compare yourselves with others
4. Be aware of the dangers of envy and avoid any sign of it

With that said I should add one more given to us in a letter from Paul to the Philippians. I always consider this the "one thing I do" piece of advice. It's valuable!

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:14b-15, NIV
You are loved by an almighty God,