This is the third post in our series on Love. What is love, and what does it look like? We want to dig into the character of love and answer those questions. If you are just finding us, go ahead and check out the first two posts, Love Is…Patient and Love Is…Kind.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a NIV
Envy and Boast are opposite sides of one coin. Let’s take a look at each and see how doing both hurts our efforts of being the best Wife, Mom, Teacher and Daughter of God that we can be.
Wow, this can be a hard one. Kids get upset when their siblings get a toy they don’t have. We get jealous when a friend gets a newer car than us, or a neighbor has prettier flowers in their garden than us. It is easy to fall into the trap of envying someone for what they have. However, once we are in that trap, love has left the building. We feel upset, frustrated, and maybe even angry. So how can we stop falling into the same trap again and again?
- Thanking God for what we do have. I just recently went to a women’s retreat where we learned about creating a journal of everyday things that we are thankful for. The thought is that if we are taking the time to thank God for what we do have, then our focus will be shifted from what we don’t.
- Put yourself in their shoes. So your friend got a newer car than you. Did they really need it? How long has it been since they got a new car? Was their old car unsafe? Or on the other hand, maybe they are in over their head and you are debt free.
- Turn the envy into a goal. If you see someone else who has something you want, set a new goal for yourself. Maybe you start saving more or maybe you look for a better job. Whatever you can do to work toward that new goal will help get your mind off what your friend has that you don’t. Hopefully you will see your friend as inspiration or motivation instead.
Unlike Envy when we are boasting our emotions are happy, excited and proud. Boasting is looking at ourselves or our efforts as better than others. We are trying to tell the world how great we are and why everyone should be paying attention to us. Everyone wants to share with others their achievements, and that is healthy. However, boasting is taking our sharing a step further. It ends up hurting the ones we love and makes us look selfish. So how do we avoid being boastful?
- Put Your Talents into Action. If you have a new talent that you are excited about, how can you use that talent to help others? Instead of focusing on yourself, you can focus on what others are in need of. You could be filling a gap in their lives, and that is more rewarding than shouting at the roof tops how great you are.
- Who Helped You Get to Where You Are? You didn’t get to where you are on your own, so focus on thanking the people who helped to get you to where you are.
- Change Your Tone. Sometimes it is as simple an answer as to change how you are talking to someone. Taking the time to share with those you love is important but know when to stop talking about yourself and when it is time to focus on whoever you are talking to. Do they have something to share? Take the time to listen to them.
Can you imagine how much better you will feel when you are thankful for what you have, and are using your talents for good. Not only will you feel better, but so will those around you.