Last week, I was reminded of envy. I read about the Longaberger Basket office closing. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the building which houses the Longaberger company headquarters. It’s shaped like a basket and is in southern Ohio.
My friends and I went there a few years ago. One of the thousands of groupies purchasing high-priced baskets to store toys, hair bows, and napkins.
I had basket envy.
I’ll be honest–it was more than basket envy. It was envy of a lot of kinds as a young mom who saw what others had and wanted that life, too.
- I wanted to spend money on expendable things.
- I wanted my husband to earn more.
- I wanted my kids to have name-brand clothes from stores I couldn’t afford.
- I wanted the McMansion my friends were building.
- I wanted……..
The basket building story reminded me that things change. Things once popular become has-beens. Toys and clothes end up at yard sales. Picture-perfect bedrooms aren’t as important as the tears of the struggling teen. Your marriage becomes more important than the money you’re fighting over. And the huge space you once coveted is too big when the house begins to empty.
I’ve seen a lot of families, marriages, and friendships break up over the years of envy. The child who’s not seen because parents wants them to be popular. The girl who doesn’t know a true friend because appearances are more important. The affair that ruined the home that had every luxury a woman could want. The friend group that broke up when hard times came, because envy trumped compassion.
What a cash-crop the enemy has on us when envy overtakes what’s most important–faith, relationships, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you’re struggling with envy, here are 5 things to consider:
- Most things you envy right now won’t be important in a couple of years.
- Your kids learn from you. They pick up on what’s not good enough or what they must have to fit in.
- Envy is the opposite of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5).
- Wanting what others have distracts you from the good you do have.
- Envy is sin. It’s just that simple (Exodus 20:17).
If you’re struggling with envy, I encourage you to release the jealousy of which the enemy wants you to fixate. Yes, that other woman might be going on a vacation, again, with her husband. They might have more money, but you don’t know the sacrifice that lifestyle may have on their family. Their family may look great, but you may not know the tears they have behind the picture-perfect image.
Instead of looking elsewhere for what might make you happy, look around you, today, at things which bring you joy.
A healthy family.
Kids around your supper table.
The messy room, because someone you love is in it.
The simple pleasures of laughter, security, and peace.
I’m choosing to focus on these things today. Because envy still creeps in from time to time. And I’ve got the baskets to prove it.