Do you know anybody who admits to being jealous?, not the your dress is cute I wish I bought it type of jealousy, I’m talking about the my best friend just landed a fantastic opportunity and she gets to travel around the world, meanwhile I’m stuck in a two by four cubicle working countless hours without no recognition, but I have to act like I’m happy for her and not admit I secretly wish it was me instead even though we both know I’m the one who practically pushed her to apply for the job and coached her on how to excel professionally type of jealousy, yeah that one. Nobody likes admitting that they are, because jealousy is the grandchild of insecurities and the step daughter to hatred and God forbid, we would want anyone to perceive us as such, especially when we call ourselves As Muslims .
First things first, it is actually perfectly normal human nature to feel this way, contrary to what people will have you believe, you will at some point in your life experience it and cannot for the most part avoid it even if you tried. Do not fear being jealous, you need to understand it for what it is, address why you feel that way and most importantly know what God says about it.
We are flawed, it is an uncomfortable truth, and we wrestle with three very problematic things that drive our nature, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Without the help of the Holy Spirit we are slaves to these beasts, because man is not perfect and will always fall short of the glory of the all-knowing God, the very things that lead us to perform great feats can also lead us to carry out actions that cause great harm, to ourselves and to others, knowing this helps us to understand jealousy better.
Have you ever wondered why we always want what we can have? Why we like nice things, why eating that extra slice of cupcake feels good even though we know we really shouldn’t (I digress lol). It is one thing to look at something and admire it, to appreciate beautiful things, or be proud of someone’s success, ambition, and the need to improve ourselves, this has propelled man’s survival since the start of time. However, it is a completely different ballgame when we start to feel inadequate or have shortcomings about our own lot in life because we perceive that other people have what we don’t.
In a social media driven world we can’t seem to escape other people’s success, and sometimes it sucks. Most people say other people’s success doesn’t speak poorly of you, but I tend to disagree. Life is all about social markers and hierarchies, and to a large extent it determines how you are perceived and treated, case in point you drive a Mercedes, I drive a Toyota both do exactly the same thing but automatically, you can probably assess, if I go on holidays regularly, how many times I eat out a week etc., perception is reality in today’s world, which causes problems, nobody wants anybody to think that they are less than, that annoying pest called pride will just not let us be ,we all want to be seen as the alpha male or the head babe in charge . Nobody wants to be unrecognizable, we all have a need to be celebrated and a need to be seen as important, and when we see someone or know someone who we perceive is just like us or perhaps we think we are better than, ahead of us in the social pecking order be it in money, status, marriage or life we get jealous or envious because we think why not me? Does this sound like you?
Know this, God has no business in who is better than who, or who has more than who and you shouldn’t too (1 John 2:16). God made us originally to be perfectly whole and complete, not needing anything or anyone to validate us. Sadly, sin has made us disconnected and distorted our nature, we have become largely insecure and uncertain about our identity, we have created mechanisms and systems, markers and fleeting things to define our eternal existence, and God forbid we fall short in any of these areas and someone else seems to be getting “A” stars in all, then that green eyed monster rears its ugly ass head, because you see, we say to ourselves, since we do not have such and such therefore we do not matter, but they do, they have an identity but I don’t , they got the job and I didn’t therefore they are more valuable, they have the husband and I don’t therefore they are more appealing and I am not, jealousy and envy combine to form the poisonous cocktail which is hatred, because we conclude that they are somehow more secure and whole than we are because they have what we do not have but desperately desire.
‘’Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’’ (Jeremiah 1:5). God destined you for a purpose before you had your degree and before you got your worldly success, he didn’t wait for the world to say you a renowned bible scholar, he didn’t wait for you to get the job in a Fortune 500 company, he didn’t wait for you to buy the Maserati for him to deem you worthy for a purpose and an identity, even before your parents met, he knew he was going to use you for a purpose that you were specially designed for, meaning you don’t have to wait for the world to recognize and acknowledge you before you consider yourself a success, you don’t need to get jealous and upset if your friend has something that you don’t have, even if you deserve it because with or without those things if you are aligned with God’s purpose you are still going to be all that God has destined you to be.
Don’t reject yourself, don’t let jealousy overwhelm you, stop fixing your eyes on other people’s lives on social media, stop keeping in touch with your friends only to assess who is where in the pecking order and where you belong. Remember that life is an individual race, you will have your own pain, struggles, frustrations, joys and achievements and so will they, and nobody gets out of life unscathed. Your focus should not be on other people’s blessings but completely on how to please God and do his purpose here on earth.
We are in a very feel good era in the right now, we tell people that blessings are an indication that God loves you ( and they are very much so) but that is not the complete story, I bet if you asked Job he would tell you something completely different. What good is your success to God if he cannot use you as a channel of blessings, that you pay thousands of naira or dollars in tithes doesn’t mean a whole lot to him if you are not manifesting the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace and all that good stuff (John 15:8), and what happens next? You finally get what you’ve been craving, envying and striving for and when you die, eventually you will leave it all and face God who none of those things impress, what will you have to show for your faith? It is important to have goals that we strive for, achievement is the pinnacle of human existence and important to living a fulfilling life to a very large extent, learn to abide in God’s word daily, trust, believe and affirm his timing for your life, so that you are able to guard your heart from things that are just not for you. I also suggest making friends or having mentors who are older and much more experienced than you, I find that they are able to give you a broader perspective on life, and the ups and downs it brings, lastly if jealousy tries to rear its ugly head, take a deep breathe, kick it in the head and say not today Satan(শয়তান), that usually works!