Choosing Joy Instead of Jealousy

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by Lindsay Harrel

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. It’s that emotion no one wants to feel, because it makes us feel icky inside. Plus, only terrible people have such tendencies, right? Unfortunately, no. As a writer, it’s a feeling that will most likely strike at some point in your career.


I was recently doing a Beth Moore Bible study on King David and one lesson focused on jealousy – specifically, that which King Saul had toward David. Beth pointed something out that really struck me. She said that jealousy initially comes because we perceive a threat – and from that threat comes fear, which leads to jealousy.

It makes sense, right? When a guy is dating a girl and she’s friends with another guy, it’s easy for the boyfriend to become jealous. But why? Because he perceives that other male as a threat, and he fears his girlfriend leaving him for this other dude.

But even more than that, he fears that in comparison – at the core of who he is – he isn’t enough.

And when we become jealous of other writers – our friends – isn’t that exactly what we are afraid of too? That we may never be good enough to be agented, or published, or multi-published, or award winners or whatever?

When I stopped and examined this in my own life, I realized that was exactly what I feared. But that didn’t just mean I worried I wasn’t good enough – it also meant I wasn’t trusting God.

Because if I was, I’d stop looking to the left and to the right. I’d just look at Him.

I’d stop being so concerned with WHEN He was going to allow me to reach certain milestones and start being concerned with WHY He has me on this journey and WHAT I can learn from it.

I’d stop praying constantly for deliverance from my unagented, unpublished state and instead start LISTENING. If I did, maybe I’d hear the questions He’s whispering to my soul:

“Am I enough for you?”

“Will you trust me enough to wait for the plans I have for YOU – not her or her or her – but YOU?”

“Do you trust me to make you into exactly the person I want you to be – not who you think you should be?”

Thing is, we don’t always get it right. Like Paul, we often do the exact opposite of what we want to do. We FEEL the exact opposite of what we want to feel.

So yeah, you may feel pangs of jealousy from time to time. The questions isn’t “will you?” but “what will you do with them when they come?”

Will you embrace the jealousy, letting it sink into the core of who you are, until you become consumed with self-hatred and loathing? Until you become so discouraged that you quit?

Or instead, will you choose joy?

Friends, it IS a choice. The cool thing, according to Beth Moore, is that once we confess the feeling instead of ignoring it, God’s grace allows us to rid our hearts of the junk.

And that’s when he has room to fill up our hearts with His grace, His love, and His kindness instead.

What a beautiful replacement.

Your Turn: How do you deal with the green-eyed monster?

Lindsay HarrelLindsay Harrel has a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in English. She was a 2013 ACFW Genesis Finalist (Contemporary Category) and is published in the Falling in Love with You anthology from OakTara. She works in marketing as a copywriter and has worked in the past as a business writer and curriculum editor. Lindsay lives in Arizona with her husband and two golden retriever puppies in serious need of training. Connect with her on her blog or via Facebook or Twitter (@LindsayHarrel).

Comments 0

  1. I recently heard the same thing: jealousy stems from a perceived threat. “Perceived” being the important word to remember. I love what you said here, Lindsay, we need to stop wondering when, and start looking for the why. If we’re not seeing what God is doing in our hearts and minds on this journey, then we’re missing the point. Just think about all God has taught you in the past couple of years! It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve come a long way from when you started (as have all of us). I love what Joyce Meyer says: “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I was!”

  2. Terrific post, Lindsay! Thank you. I once did that Beth Moore study on David, but I’d forgotten that wonderful nugget of wisdom concerning jealousy. The way she’s described it makes sense to me and — yes — when I think about jealousy in my writing life it does seem that there’s a perceived threat and fear underneath it. I’ve found that confessing the emotion when I encounter it and then praying for the person I’m jealous of helps me work through it best.

  3. Wonderful post, Linds! It’s so hard not to fall into the comparison trap… which is a straight, slippery slope straight into the pits of jealousy. But, when we discover who we are in Christ, WHO we trust with our dreams and our future, and even who we choose to be when life doesn’t go according to plan, we can truly rest right where we’re at, even if it’s not the more comfortable place to be. Great thoughts here! Love your perspective!

  4. Hey Lindsay!

    I did that same Bible study years ago. Life changing. Studying David’s life helped heal me of so many hurts.

    Thanks for the reminder of how jealousy creeps in. I was so jealous of friends going to writers conferences this year and I couldn’t. I was about to fall into the trap but the Lord showed me how His plans for me are perfect. I need not worry but be grateful for all I have.

    Lessons learned.

    Thanks for this post!

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