Envy is something nerds often experience.
Envy over the Blu-Ray collection of another nerd.
Envy over the Xbox Live Gamerscore of another nerd.
Envy over the greater encyclopedic Star Wars knowledge of another nerd.
Envy isn’t just reserved for nerds and their nerdclinations, though. Everyone, nerd and non-nerd alike, experiences envy at some point or another.
When we’re younger we envy the possessions of other children. We see that little Timmy has a better truck or little Suzy has a better dollhouse (granted, Timmy could also have the dollhouse and Suzy could also have the truck). We see the possessions of others and we envy them, we want them, we wish we had them.
As we get older we still experience possession envy. We see that big Timmy has a better actual truck and big Suzy has a better actual house. When a friend pulls up in a new car or a family member tells us about their exotic vacation, envy can start to well up within us.
As adults, though, not only do we envy others’ possessions but we start to envy their lives as well. We look at our lives, at the choices we’ve made and compare them to the lives and choices of those around us. We start to think and dream about what it would be like to live the life of another person, how it would all be different if we could go back and make some different choices.
We see the life of another person and the grass does indeed look greener. And there’s a good chance that grass will always be greener, regardless of what side we’re standing on.
I see successful, happy, faithful people on the other side. I see them serving God in tremendous ways while still managing to take fantastic vacations, own beautiful homes and pay for cable TV. I see them raising wonderful children and saving for their retirement. I see people like that and the lives they live and that grass seems like it would always be green, regardless of perspective.
When it comes down to it, though, the greenness of the grass isn’t the issue. The issue is that God gave us our grass, whether it’s green, brown or dead.
It’s ridiculous to envy someone else’s grass because God hasn’t given us their grass. God has given us our grass and it’s our job to do with it everything that we can. Even Job, who had every reason in the world to want someone else’s grass, eventually realized that God will give us what he wants and we get to do the best we can with it.
So the grass may always be greener on the other side but that’s not the grass we were given. God has given us the grass we have because he wants us to do something with it. He wants us to cultivate it, fertilize it and work it to grow something beautiful for his kingdom. And we can’t grow something from our grass if we’re busy looking at someone else’s.
How do you deal with envy?