We’ve all felt that green monster envy rear up inside of us. I particularly find it hard to fight when I’m scrolling through social media.

Look at her gorgeous house.
Wow, her hair is absolutely perfect.
What a beautiful family she has!
How does she stay that skinny?!

On their own, these observations are probably not sinful, and I imagine that there is careful attention to angles and curated content to project the best images. I imagine that there are complications behind the cheesy smiles and perfect hair. But that doesn’t keep me from what they portray to the world. I find my soul sighing for what it does not have, discontent increasing as I look at my own body, my own home, and my own situation in life and think that it is not enough.

I want more.
I think I deserve more.

And so instead of rejoicing with a friend over her soon-to-be born child, I find myself wallowing in anger and self-pity. Instead of thanking God for His financial provisions this month, I find myself grumbling about the unfairness of people my age and younger buying houses and having lots of kids when Ryan and I live in a small rental with a bathroom too tiny for 2 grown adults to stand comfortably inside.

But soon, God’s rebuke pierced my heart over my envy. James 3:16 says that “where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Instead, God calls us to have wisdom and to see the world differently, Instead of selfishly chasing our own agenda, He calls us to be humble and set aside our desires to bring peace and love to others around us. Instead of lives consumed with envy or spent obsessing over our ten steps to success, our lives should be dedicated to obedience to God and serving others.

One dear friend has been illustrating this so poignantly to me lately. Her precious twin daughters may not survive the health issues that they face, but my friend continues to bless God for everything He has given her and depends daily on His grace to help her through this painful trial. Her focus is not on what she wants from God or what she thinks she deserves, but rather, she is content to put her trust in Him who knows what is best for each of us.

I set aside my phone and busy my hands with meal prep. I really do have so much to be thankful for. My house may not be big, but my fridge is full of delicious food. I may hope for crazy kids to run underfoot while I make dinner, but I am grateful for the quiet moments to listen to a podcast or discuss theology conundrums with Ryan. My possessions may number fewer than the people I follow on social media, but I am rich with friendship as I have so many wonderful people I love and trust in my life.

And suddenly, I feel my heart lift as it swells with praise to my God. I find it much easier to have joy for my friend’s miraculous pregnancy after years of infertility or my classmate’s success because God has truly blessed me beyond what I deserve. It may not be easy, but no matter what the circumstance, I can find joy and praise God because He uses each one to make me more like Jesus, and this sanctification is far more precious a gift than a new car, a beautiful home, or a perfectly proportioned body.

Amen.