Envy is Not a Solution

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” ~ James 3:13-15 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Envy: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

Last week I watched a German movie on my phone. The title loosely translated: “Envy is Not a Solution”. Although this movie was a light comedy, it truly had a deeper meaning.

The movie was about two friends who reunited for one of the woman’s 40th birthday. They haven’t seen each other for close to 20 years. They were best friends in high school, but lost sight of each other over the years (so true to real life, right?). They both had dreams when they were young, but only one actually archived what she had dreamed about (being a famous photographer). The other woman felt like a failure, because she did not became a doctor as she had dreamed. She ‘only’ became a nurse in a doctor’s office, a wife, and a mother.

Long story short, both were longing for the other person’s life. And they became discontent with their own lives. However, when you looked a little closer, they both should have been content with what they have archived and who they have become as an adult.

I have to admit that I have been envious myself. Sometimes the ‘what if’ question creeps in. “What if I had stuck with my photography when I started. Where would I be today?” “What if I had stuck with writing, would I sell books now?”

Do I live my ‘dream-life’? No; honestly I would live close to the Oregon coast, in a house with beautiful light. But then I look at my life and think: “I am content with what I have. I am loved by God, I am redeemed through the blood of Christ. God had/has a plan for my life. I have a wonderful husband, son, family, and friends that I can trust.”

My life has its bumps, however those bumps help me to encourage others who are traveling the same road. Because of God’s grace, I am able to extend grace to others. I may not be rich by worldly standards, but I am rich nonetheless.

My sweet friends; you might not be living your ‘dream-life’, but God has you on the path He wants you to be on. You may be wondering about the two friends in the movie I spoke of. I am glad to report that they parted with a huge hug, recognizing that both of their lives are blessed. And yes, I am a sucker for happy and sappy endings; in movies and in real life.

“Lord of Heaven and Earth. Thank You for showing me that envy is not a solution. Help me when I feel discontent with my life. You have brought me out of darkness, into the marvelous light of Your son. I am trusting in Your mercy until life everlasting. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”

Content and Photograph Copyright © Iris Nelson

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2 thoughts on “Envy is Not a Solution

  1. Katie

    Thanks for the great reminder Iris. I remember once when I was a bit envious of my friend’s husband – he did a lot of housework and all the cooking. My mom asked me if I wanted to be married to him, and I said ‘no way’! She said everyone is a package, with good elements and things that may need improvement. So don’t be jealous of what anyone else has, because you are not going to like that whole package either! I have thought of that bit of advice often over the years.

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