As teenager, I remember distinctly thinking, “When I’m an adult, I won’t be jealous anymore. I won’t care that I get left out of things occasionally or that my best friend has another best friend and sometimes she does more stuff with her than me. When I’m an adult, none of that will matter.”
Boy, was I wrong.
I’ve come to see that jealousy is a huge issue, particularly among women—especially single women. I think it’s different than the feeling I get when one of my friends gets engaged or married or has a baby. That feeling is more indicative of envy because I’m wanting what someone else has.
But jealousy is worse.
Jealousy is a feeling of hurt that makes us overly sensitive and upset about a situation that is out of our control.
Jealousy whispers things like, “Whatever. I don’t care. I think she’s stupid for doing that anyway.” The reality is it’s driving us crazy that our friend might gain merit or status that we don’t have.
For me, it can be something as elementary as a group of friends getting together for dinner and not inviting me. Then the thoughts start in my head that they didn’t really want to be friends with me in the first place and now they’re plotting against me at this special dinner.
I easily forget I live in a community of 20+ single women and, of course, we can’t all fit in someone’s apartment at one time. I’m guilty of trying to make it work and my friend Ashlee bluntly told me, “You can’t have everyone over at one time. People will get left out and they’ll get over it.”
Obviously, Ashlee’s learned to be free in this area more quickly than I have.
I’m a sensitive person by nature and my jealousy can rear its ugly head in a snap. It usually happens when I’m out of devotion mode, have busied myself with other things, and tried to get friends to fill an empty void that I know only One can fill.
When I’m spiritually empty, I get upset and hurt and jealous over the silliest things. I start to wonder who’s doing stuff without me; I start to think everyone hates me. Then I have to laugh at myself, especially when I get on Facebook and most of my friends’ statuses say, “Enjoying a quiet evening at home.”
I used to think I was the only one who struggled with jealousy. I really did.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I openly talked about it with another friend. We both admitted our struggle with it and we guessed a lot of our friends do too. It’s hard to be a single missionary for many reasons, but I think the hardest reason is that we don’t have anyone to communicate with like our married friends do.
I’m tired of being jealous, but I’ve realized it’s an area in which He’s trying to free me.
Little incidences here and there make me see I can’t do it all or be with everyone at the same time. And, really, sometimes it is nice to just have a few people over and enjoy the conversation.
I may not ever fully recover from this jealousy sickness because I believe it is one of my many thorns in the flesh, something God will use to remind me that the Gospel is bigger than my selfish heart could ever dream.
If you have a friend who struggles with jealousy, will you email them this post to encourage them?