Hello and welcome back to the Sunday Series my beloved reader!
I realized recently that according to our analytics, we have almost 1,000 people reading the blog every single day! Can you say "wow?" I can't even process that many people! I still remember when we were averaging 100 readers a week... sometimes I wonder if those original readers are still tuning in all these months later.
Our blog has grown and changed so much throughout these months, but I find myself returning to similar messages and thoughts from when I first began writing months ago. Today's post is no different, as I really want to revisit the topic of gratitude.
Last year God showed me the connection between envy and gratitude, and it transformed my life.
I have always struggled with comparison, jealousy, and envy my entire life. I have spent many moments in heavy prayer, asking God to remove jealousy from my heart, only to return to it hours later.
I felt envious when I would see women on Instagram traveling through Italy, or laughing with their beautiful babies. I would feel envious when I saw women with smaller noses, thinner legs, or clearer skin. Envy crept into my bones and swallowed my heart to the point that I felt threatened by the success of others! Sad, I know.
It seemed that anytime I had a personal insecurity about myself, my body, or my life, I would find myself envious of other women who seemed to thrive in the areas I was lacking.
Instead of appreciating the things about my life and body that were wonderful, I would find myself dripping with envy for the blessings of others. It made it impossible to be happy for others, and even more impossible to feel inspired by the victories of others without resenting their success.
Thankfully, God intervened.
He has relieved me of this painful burden by mercifully revealing to me the truth: my problem is not being envious, it's being ungrateful.
Many people believe that the key to walking away from envy is turning away from things that make you envious. This is partly true, but the problem is that we can always find something else to be envious of.
Protecting our hearts and minds is certainly important, but I also believe that we should be equipped to have normal relationships in this world, and the fact is that normal relationships are FILLED with opportunities for jealousy to enter.
Instead of isolating ourselves from the success of others, I think we should address the core issues that cause us to feel jealous: ungratefulness and insecurities.
God showed me that the envy in my heart erased my ability to adopt a grateful spirit. I felt so insecure in my life, body, heart, and relationships, that I found myself believing if I only had smaller feet, longer hair, or more money like so-and-so, I wouldn't feel so darn insecure!
But that was not true.
The answer to my insecurities was not MORE items, blessings, or things: the answer to insecurity is first and foremost a relationship with Christ and a spirit of gratitude.
The more we adopt gratitude, the more we will feel secure in our lives, our bodies, and our relationships. The more we embrace thankfulness and appreciate the things we have going for us, the less we will be able to allow insecurity and ungratefulness to enter our hearts.
Honestly, it's not fun to be envious all the time! It makes life so much harder, and it makes our hearts feel heavy. Envy prevents us from feeling secure in our lives, and encourages us to resent the success of others.
But most of all? Jealousy and envy are a big fat insult towards God and the blessings he has brought in my life. I am so privileged, blessed, and nurtured, that it is truly RIDICULOUS of me to look past all of those blessings and treasures to greedily desire the lives of others.
Greed, insecurity, and a bratty ungrateful attitude will NEVER result in happiness. It will never result in peace, and it will never bring us closer to God. A heart filled with insecure greed will only lead us further into a pit of despair towards our lives, and away from any form of celebration for the success of others.
Scripture says "count your many blessings, count them one by one," for a reason. This wisdom tells us that we must be grateful and we must not forget the good in our lives, because when we do, we allow our hearts to harden and our minds to become angry.
Instead of feeling envious and then correcting myself, the spirit of gratitude prevents me from being envious in the first place! Instead of seeing the blessings of others and coveting them, I now feel inspired by their blessings, or even excited for those people!
I know, it's totally crazy: I never thought I would be able to feel excited or inspired by other people's success because I always felt so threatened by it. But through gratefulness and God, I am happy to announce that now I truly feel inspired by the beauty and success of others.
But am I completely cured?
Absolutely not! New insecurities crop up every day, and along with those come a host of new areas for me to feel envious about. But the difference is that now, I know my jealousy sprouts out of a place of insecurity. Instead of fighting this battle blind, I now have a strategy.
The strategy of gratitude is the only thing that can prevent envy from taking hold. It is a salve to our insecurities, and the answer to my prayers. I have found that the more I reflect on all the ways in which I'm taken care of, loved, treasured, and known, the more my insecurities wash away.
Most of all, gratitude erases insecurity because it reminds me of all the ways in which I am absolutely secure.
I have been blessed with health, love, and more than I could ever need to survive and thrive. My blessings far outweigh the struggle and pain in my life, and every time I return to gratitude, I feel my entire spirit releasing, my insecurities washing away, and my heart relaxing.
Gratitude is the antidote to an envious heart.
My journey with gratitude is not over, but I am sure thankful that it has begun. We don't have to love everything about ourselves, but I do think we should work towards being grateful for all the blessings in our life, even if it's just our two legs and two eyes.
An entitled and envious heart will never be at peace: there will always be more resentment to fester and more objects and desires to consume.
Join with me today in saying goodbye to envy and hello to thankfulness. Instead of being driven by insecurities, choose to be driven by gratitude. Be thankful today for the people in your life, and begin treasuring the practical sides of life.
Challenge yourself when you begin feeling ungrateful and always remember to adopt a spirit of thanks. It's not easy, but it's worth the battle.
Thank you for sharing your time with me today my friend, I wish you all the best on your journey, and am continually praying for my own growth in this area.