By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
Throughout our lifetimes, there will be times when others appear to be reaching destinations faster than we are. For some, this comes in the way of career-launching and success, but for others, it seems to be moving more rapidly in the form of relationships. Typically, in your early twenties, more of your peers will be single, but as twenties become thirties, there is a shift where marriage and families become the norm; for some, they are left waiting for their turn, longing for their turn, and perhaps jealous for their turn as well. Yet as followers of Christ, what should our response be if we are the ones struggling with jealousy when it seems everyone else is receiving your heart’s dream before you?
Envy, jealousy, and coveting can be detrimental to the soul if left unchecked, but part of handling jealousy maturely is first coming to terms with what you are really jealous of. For many, it is the envy that those around you seem to be advancing faster than you are, and the desire to be at the same milestone in life. For others, it is the coveting of having a life partner. It is important to find the root of what exactly you feel envious of and handle it in a fashion where a bitter root does not begin to grow, and you do not hurt others or yourself in the process. It is also vital not to let the green-eyed monster take reign in how you interact with those you are jealous of. Chances are that if you are vulnerable enough to share places where you feel your life is lacking or wish to see change, those around you can uplift you with encouragement from their own waiting journeys.
Don’t Condemn Yourself for Longing
At times, there is a guilt attached to feeling jealous or even acknowledging that we desire something. In order to not hurt others, make them feel bad, or sometimes just to hide the hurt we feel, we stuff down our own feelings. It is important to remember that there is no shame or guilt in longing for the dreams God has placed within your heart. If He put the desire to be in a relationship within you, then there is a reason for that. What is imperative is to place these longings, desires, and temptations to feel jealous of others before Him. He already knows what we are going through, and in bringing it before Him, we can find freedom in the surrender. It is in placing it before Him that we can also allow Him to speak to our hearts of the reasons why He has not brought about that season in your life or comfort that it is indeed coming. Don’t let the enemy shame you for longing for good and holy things, and don’t bottle up those hopes away from God either. Believe He does indeed have a plan for hope and a future.
Rejoice with the Rejoicing
The Word of God brings us to a gentle reminder of how our hearts should respond in action as well. Romans 12:15 shares, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” When we choose to do life with others sincerely, it means that we agree to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. When it comes to the struggle of jealousy of those you are doing life with, you can rejoice with them and still ache for your own life and heart. You are not exclusively bound to only rejoice for them or only to struggle in your wait. In the same vein, those around you can mourn with you in the moments where you feel weak and cover you with words of encouragement in the journey. How much more joy will there be then when all are in a season of joy? Being vulnerable and open in healthy communication about how you feel can open new doors of rich relationships and soothe the feeling of being completely alone.
Remember God’s Timing
So often, we hear the reminder to “trust God’s timing,” yet how often do we genuinely allow that to become belief? Psalm 139 reminds us that before a single day came to pass, He had every moment planned out. He knows the course set before you, and He knows what is best for you and when. Believe that He is a good Father who knows precisely when, how, where, and what is best for you in not just finding a mate, but in every area of your life. Dare to surrender to Him these longings, and recall the times where He has been faithful before. Isaiah 60:22 conveys it clearly in, “When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” It is by His call that all that exists came to be, and it is by His timing and call that the seeds planted in your heart of hope can come to pass as well. He does not make you wait as a cruel punishment, and those around you who have come into the season that you long for ahead of you are not more favored than you. Ask God what your role is in this season. Perhaps He is waiting on you to take the initiative towards something that will lead to a relationship, or perhaps you are called to be in a season of prayer for your future spouse as they are being prepared. God knows exactly what is best for you at the best time, so take Him at His Word.
Jealousy can be a beast to wrestle within the mind and heart. It can be easy to let bitter feelings root in seeing everyone else participate and enjoy things you have waited so long for, but believe that your season is coming. Go before the Lord with a surrendered heart, open ears, and trusting spirit that He has a plan and that it will ultimately be for His glory and your benefit. Invite Him into the feelings of envy you are struggling with, for you are not meant to endure such times alone.
Related Resource: Check out our FREE young adult podcast Big Pond, Little Fish! Host Alyssa Roat joins other young professionals in a podcast exploring life, career, family, friends, and calling from the perspective of a young Christian fish trying to make a splash in the world’s big pond. All episodes are at LifeAudio.com. Check out episode one here:
Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Anthony Tran
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys leading a high school girls’ small group, cooking, and spending time in tree houses. Her latest books, Dear Young Sparrow and Unveiled are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan.