1 Timothy 6:6 – But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Sometimes things that appear to be good aren’t. Besides, that green grass on the other side is going to need to be mowed more often than the shorter dull green grass.
Why do we think we have to keep working harder to buy the things we want when they’re not good for you? With me, I enter the candy department of a grocery store and chocolate calls my name. Chocolate isn’t bad for everyone, but it’s not good for me because it causes acid in my stomach and inflammation of my joints. So, chocolate may appear to be good for you when it isn’t for everyone.
We can get ourselves in a lot of trouble if we’re always looking for something better. There is always a price to pay for our bad choices. We may think we can do everything, and go anywhere, but if you’re a person who struggles with emotional pain, we have to be careful. There may enter a person in your life who seems to be honest and looking for a new friend. Yet, if you investigate their background, you might find a wake of hurt people in their past. But how do you know if that new friend is alright for you? And how do we know that greener grass is better for us?
Being content with what we have can form a protective shield around us to keep us from always looking for something better.
Let’s say you have a nosey neighbor that lives in the apartment above you. This neighbor seems to be watching what you’re doing all of the time, and they even ask you what you’ve been doing or are going to do. It could be that they’re just being friendly but being too friendly can often push people away. It may even feel like they’ve overstepped your boundaries. Every time you open your door it seems that this neighbor is right there. So, what do you do? Do you consider moving? What if that green grass of not having that nosey neighbor may end up in the new place with having a neighbor who yells at you, who keeps their tv too loud or knocks on your door all of the time to ask for something. You can see what I mean. The grass on the other side can often have weeds intertwined that you can’t see. And those weeds could do you in.
Becomingminimalist.com posts the article, “The Unmistakable Freedom of Contentment: How to Find This Unmistakable Freedom,” provides us with some ways to find contentment. First off is practice gratitude. A grateful person is one who has learned to focus on the good things in their life, not the things they lack. Another way is to take control of your attitude. Your happiness is based solely on your decision to be happy. One more that I like is stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing your life with someone else’s will always lead to discontentment.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. It is great gain to be content. That means that being content can bring about the reward of peace and balance in your life. Always looking for more will only cause you to think less of yourself and the life you lead.
2 Corinthians 12:20 - For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
Jealousy. That old, ugly head just keeps popping up.
You have this friend who has had a rough life so:
Then, you learn that they’re successful and no longer living a rough life.
Jealousy. That old, ugly head isn’t just popping up, but it’s blocking your eyesight.
You raise up an angry fist and say, “I wanted them to succeed, but what about me? Why do I have to endure another season of hardship and pain while they don’t?”
It’s a funny thing watching your friend finally succeed, and still you’re not happy about it. You’d think you’d be the one who is clapping their hands and cheering them on to victory. But you’re not.
The reason why might be that you can’t reach your goals unless you champion someone else to reach theirs. Even if it means you’re now the one failing.
Push aside your angry words, and fist raised up in anger then:
This is not only the way to victory for them but for you, also. So how do we move past jealousy and be proud of someone else? Here are some of the suggestions you’ll find on joegirard.com in his article, “Be Proud, Not Jealous.” Think positive thoughts about other people whose success is likely to invite envy; also, replace jealousy with admiration, and envy with pride.
It won’t be easy to get rid of jealousy, but it will be worth it. All that energy you wasted when you were angry can now be channeled into moving forward. Take a look at the Bible verse above. The apostle Paul was writing to the church in Corinth. They were having trouble with anger and jealousy. God helped that church to move past the way they were feeling and acting. He can do the same for us to help us become proud of someone else’s success. That way you can continue to be there for your friend. After all, there are still moments while you are moving toward your goals when you stumble and fall and could really use someone to be there for you and encourage you to keep going and not give up. Be the person who stands by their friends whether you’re the one in a season of rough times, or a friend is in trouble. Tell them you’re proud of them for not giving up. Then you can be proud of yourself for not giving up either.
James 3:14 - But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Let’s face it. We all have things that we wish we had. We have situations that we wish we could change. We would like our bills to be paid and some left over for recreation after that.
I don’t think that it’s wrong to want to strive a little harder to change things. But there is a slippery slope that we can find ourselves going down if we’re not careful. And what is it?
Envy. But not just a little bit of envy over what you want that others have. No. This kind is bitter envy. We want what others have and we fixate on it. Think about all day and dream about it at night.
But when we wake up, we find that nothing has changed. And before we even walk out the door in the morning, bitter envy is already whispering in our ears.
If you’re generally healthy, you might have bitter envy over the coworker who was promoted instead of you. Or, the new car parked across the street from where you live.
And if you suffer from chronic pain or an illness you may be envious for others’ health, but it only covers the top layers of your heart.
It grinds and pulls. It makes your body ache when it’s not aching today. The physical envy over chronic pain weighs on you, but you can get it back under control when you try to focus on something else.
However, when someone has emotional pain, what they envy may not just be things others have, but being envious of their peace of mind and enjoyment of life regardless of their situation.
You don’t see anxiety tied around their necks like a noose. You don’t see PTSD following them everywhere they go. You don’t see worry attached by ball and chain to their ankles.
Except for the usual concerns the emotionally well person is able to move forward with their lives and reach for their goals.
So how does a person let go of bitter envy and not let it control their lives anymore? The article, “A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Envy,” on becomingminimalist.com provides some ways to do so.
Just as the Bible verse above says, even if you harbor bitter envy you can make it worse by denying it. And don’t boast about yourself and what you have unless it comes from gratitude and not selfish ambition. You will soon find that your life will be filled with more joy and ugly envy will slip away.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.