I have read through this book three times now, but I seem to get something different from it each time. I’m guessing that’s because there have been years between each read which means that I am at different places in my life each time I read it. This most recent read-through of the book was a bit different as I read it with my book study group at work and I lead a discussion group based on it. Most of the time when I read through these type of books I have so many highlights, underlines and notes that it looks like a school workbook. This time was no different. The one different thing about this book study is that there was one summary statement that stood out and almost seemed to jump off the page. I love when this happens. It doesn’t happen often, but there it was. The statement that almost seemed to be illuminated on the page. The statement that summed up exactly what hinders me (us) from living the life that God designed me (us) to live.
“Wanting to be like others (envy), and wanting to be liked by others (people-pleasing). These traps are subtle, but they distract and detour millions of people from the purposes they were created to fulfill.”
While I believe that I do not have an issue with the people-pleasing part necessarily, I most definitely and absolutely have an issue with the envy part. True envy comes when you compare yourself to someone else and believe that you need their life to be happy. I think this is an area that many females struggle with, young and old alike. When I was a teenager, before the internet and social media, we only had a few neighbors down the street or a few kids at school to compare ourselves to. For any given female this could mean that you’d have anywhere from 5 – 25 other females to compare yourself to or become envious of. Today, with the internet and specifically with social media, that pool of females moves from 25 to potentially thousands. This can quickly become self demoralizing and what I’m learning can be a total barrier between me and God.
The big thing we need to do is to stop comparing ourselves to others. Comparing is the root of all envy. What matters most is that we are doing what God created each of us to do and that we are making the most of what we have been given in this moment in time. God made each of us unique and for a very specific purpose. A purpose that one we can fill. Envy will lead you to believe that having more or having a different life will make you more happy. The truth is that happiness is a choice, which means that we are only as happy as we choose to be.
What does this mean for you? What does this mean for me? What is the culprit of your comparison; of your envy? For me I believe that it is social media and the internet. I am still navigating through this and trying to figure out how to tackle this issue. My concern is for myself but also for so many other girls and women that face this issue. I don’t have all the answers but to take it a step further, I highly recommend reading the book, Restless by Jennie Allen. I am almost through this book and it is profoundly amazing! I will do a review on this sometime in the near future.
What I do know is that we must keep our focus on Him at all times and continue to refocus daily, hourly, or however often it takes. Take the time to figure out what you’re good at, what your gifts are, what motivate and drives you and ultimately what your purpose is here on this earth. (The Restless book will walk you through this process – AWESOME!)