“You must make an enemy of envy today. Today. By tonight, because it will eat you alive.”
― Jerry Saltz
We’re about to get real here today, is that okay? Okay. Have you ever wanted something so bad that you worked so hard for it, prayed so long for it, tried and tried everything for it but you still ended up waiting for it? Then, have you seen (in the middle of your waiting, trying and hoping) someone who didn’t seem to want the thing you wanted as bad as you did get it so easily? Like, exactly what you wanted or even better? Woooh! I’ve been there. It literally breaks your heart, though, I’m not so sure it’s supposed to.
Still, why does it almost always happen that way? That is, you want something so bad and its arrival seems to delay for you, but the same thing happens for another and, as your luck should have it, your set of eyes are in first class for a front row seat to watch it all happen for them. Surely, God isn’t cruel. To even go there is going way off base and missing the point. So why does this happen?
I’ll use a scenario that happened, 2000 some’ years ago.
“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work. Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went. He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’ They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’ Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’ He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’ (Other versions read: Or is your eye envious because I am generous?) Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” Matthew 20:1-16 MSG
Sound like a page out of your own life?
Well, in my case, when I started a YouTube channel, I’d look at all the Kenyan YouTubers out there, watch them and wonder why they had the viewership they did. I laugh about it now, but it wasn’t good. I flat out had to process my emotions (I was sorely entitled) so I had to cut YouTube to write my book. When I came back to YouTube after finishing my book, I had a fresh pair of eyes. I knew that everyone has someone – their tribe, their voice, their calling. And the same channels that used to break my heart would make me laugh, entertain me and leave me blessed because my eyes were whole. Like the labourers that were working from morning, the YouTubers didn’t have to change – I did. We were in this thing together and if anyone understood the amount of work that goes into shooting a video, planning it, editing it, the whole shebang, it would be them. Only difference was I wanted their reach so bad it poisoned my eyes. I wanted what they had, but I was still in the building phase of my journey. Even now, I have such a clarity of my why that’ll inform what I’ll talk about and the content I will share.
I love how this quote put it.
“Envy is a confused but important signal from our deeper selves about what we really want. Everything that makes us envious is a fragment of our true potential, which we disown at our peril. We should learn to study our envy forensically, keeping a diary of envious moments, and then sift through episodes to discern the shape of a future, better self…. The envy we don’t own up to will otherwise end up emitting ‘sulfurous odours.’ Bitterness is envy that doesn’t understand itself.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
You can say that again Freddie!
The point? I guess first of all, don’t deny your envy. And second, examine it. Third, since envy is simply just corrupted admiration and aspiration, channel joy for those who are where you wish you wish you’d be or are trying to be in your life. Easier said than done, huh?
So then, what is God’s heart for us when He allows us to witness someone’s breakthrough, victory and blessing firsthand? Well, for us to rejoice in it and with them. But jealousy, comparison and envy leave no room for love, rejoicing or any other virtue possible. It’s easier for us to mourn with those who are mourning but can’t we exchange our experience (of waiting, delay and longing) to rejoice with those who are rejoicing too? It’s God’s heart for us and we would desire the same if we were the ones celebrating a success or victory that we were longing for.
“Jealousy and envy is the #1 blockage to promotion.”
― Bill Johnson
If you think it hurt to read those words, try hearing them. Ouch! You’ll never get what your jealousy or envy can’t stand to see another have. It’s the sad truth. That’s why rejoicing in the success of others will cause you to be a partaker and sharer in their blessing. It’s more spiritual than we would like it to be, but when you rejoice in the blessing of another, you will be encouraged that God answers prayer, that He is faithful and will always come through for you in His time, and you will be able to have a front row seat to what success looks like. This is important to God as it qualifies you for your own blessing and breakthrough. He wants you to come out on the other side as an encourager and a blesser that people can look up to to point them to Him.
God is not holding back that which He has promised or that which you desire from you like you think.
God hides things for us, not from us.
Think of it like in a scavenger hunt. What’s yours is yours and will remain yours until you are ready. No one can steal your inheritance or that which He has for you from you. And even if they were to, God restores, bigger and better than before. He is not flaunting the success of others in your face to hurt you but to encourage you that yours is coming too. Good things take time, but the best things take even more time.
More importantly, a great blessing needs a seasoned receiver so maybe instead of being jealous and envious of others, we can learn to ask God to prepare us and grow us to be able to handle the blessing well instead. It’s hell to keep. You’ll find more haters, detractors and tougher battles ahead and God will need you to show love and compassion to your enemies. So your heart needs to be in the right place.
I want to create a culture in my life that loves the way success looks like on others.
This is what I want for my life. And it’s what I want you to have in yours.
Encourage, help, and open doors for others and you’ll find no destiny door closed to you.