How to Defeat Jealousy

By Shelia Stovall

Everyone I know suffers from jealousy at some time in their life.  Since starting the writing journey, I’ve been plagued by the acrid emotion and it shames me.  When it’s time to announce finalists for different writing contests, I shut down my computer and avoid Facebook.  When writer friends post, “I’ve just signed a three-book contract,” I make the appropriate comments, but, there’s an ugly green poison that infuses my spirit.

There’s a reason God listed covetousness as one of the Big 10, Thou shall not…  It steals our joy. What I’ve finally discovered is that I needed help to overcome this virus.  All these years, I could have been celebrating with my friends and sharing in their happiness.  Instead, I’ve sipped from the cup of  envy. I’ve confessed this sin, and repented in prayer, but it wasn’t until I asked Jesus to take this burden from me, it happened. THANK YOU, JESUS! I couldn’t’ do this on my own, but the power of His holy spirit wiped it away.

My critique partner, Carrie Padgett, has a sweet spirit, and she’s one of the most talented and hard-working writers I know.  I’ve critiqued the first few chapters of Harley Taps Out.  When the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW) announced her name as a finalist in the Genesis contest, my heart soared with joy. Then she asked me to accept the award for her, if by chance, she won, because she was not able to attend. My heart overflowed with happiness for her achievement. When her name was announced as the winner, I practically ran to the podium in high-heels and accepted with tears in my eyes. What a blessing to share in her success and joy.

Photo by Becky Melby.

God has gifted me with so many wonderful friends along the writing journey. As I sat in the audience Saturday evening, I cheered on and celebrated three additional writer friends who have counseled and mentored me. Cynthia Ruchti won a Carol Award for her novella, Restoring Christmas. I still have the advance copy she shared with me two years ago.

Ann H. Gabhart

Also, my friend, Anne Gabhart’s book, Murder Comes by Mail was a Carol Award finalist.

Liz Johnson and me.

And my friend, Liz Johnson’s book, The Red Door Inn was a Christy Award finalist.

I am so fortunate to have these women as mentors and friends.  What a joy to be able to celebrate my friends’ accomplishments as their successes make my cup runneth over.

What about you?  What’s causing you to be envious?  Perhaps it’s a friend who gets the job you wanted, or maybe you’ve been waiting for the right man to be your life-partner, and it seems you’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride. I’ve seen women suffer such angst as there are praying for a baby, and yet, it doesn’t happen, then they suffer when friends have children. Dear ones, it took the power of Jesus to take away the burden of jealousy from me.  Don’t do as I did, and try to do this on your own. I think it impossible to do so without the strength of the savior.  My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 NIV.  Jesus can replace your jealous spirit with His spirit of love, joy, and peace, but the choice is yours to  ask for His help.

To celebrate my writer friends, I’m going to have three drawings on Saturday, September 30, 2017. For a chance to win one of the books below,  comment about jealousy.


 

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

30 thoughts on “How to Defeat Jealousy

  1. Ann H Gabhart

    Love your sweet spirit, Shelia. I know what you mean about wishing others well while at the same time you’re thinking what about me. Your advice is great. Give it to the Lord – whatever your problem is. He will help.

    And how great that you got to share in the excitement of Carrie’s win. Hope you had a wonderful time at the ACFW Conference and made some great contacts so that you’ll soon be the one signing that three book contract and giving others practice at not seeing green.

    Don’t enter me into the giveaway, but I do appreciate your generous spirit. So blessed to be your friend. I’m going to use this for my Mailbag Tuesday so maybe some of my reading friends will stop by.

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      Thank you Ann. I am so blessed to be able to attend the ACFW Conference. I returned from Africa on Labor Day and I vowed not to grumble about anything. I am so thankful for how God has blessed me. Maybe the plan is for me to promote other Christian authors. I believe the fiction novel is the most power evangelical tool available to us. I’m so blessed to be on this journey. I hope I can embrace and savor each step of the journey. We are so blessed to be given this work for the Lord. My prayer is that in everything I say and do, I glorify God. It’s all about Him and has nothing to do with me.

      Reply
  2. Sandi Ansell

    I grew up in a family of eight children. We didn’t have much in the way of material things, but we had something many of my friends didn’t–parents who loved the Lord and taught us to love always. Laughter filled our home..and music. We had a piano and an organ and someone was always playing one or the other. I can remember being a little jealous of kids who had a college fund and drove a car to school, but with God’s help, I got to college and I drove a car there…and I learned early on not to take anything for granted. Jealousy only wastes precious time…when you could be achieving the plan God has for you. God bless.

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      Amen. I too grew up poor compared to many. But I had a mom and dad who loved me and taught me a strong work ethic. I’d never exchange my farm-life family for posh and easy. Some of the most unhappy people I know are the most wealthy. There are searching to fill the empty void. If only, they would discover Jesus.

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    2. Ann H Gabhart

      Sandi, I guess we all want things a little easier now and again, but as you know, what you don’t have to work for doesn’t generally mean as much to us. And loving Christian parents are more valuable that all the gold that used to be in Fort Knox. And what fun to grow up in a big family of music lovers.

      Reply
  3. Connie Lee

    I try not to be of a jealous nature. I try to be happy for my friends when they get something pretty and new or have some incredible success in life. I know this is their time and if it’s meant to be I might have the same one day. I will wait and see.

    Reply
      1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

        It’s been a hard lesson to me. When I consider how much joy I let slip through my fingers, it shames me. But those days are behind me. You and Darrel do so much to grow His Kingdom. I believe the fictional novel is one of the best evangelical tools God provides. I love you stories of faith.

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    1. Mary Potter Kenyon

      It is humbling to admit to envy. Jealousy, particularly of friends, is an ugly feeling. I don’t experience it much in regards to books and writing, perhaps because I intimately know how much work all of it entails. Awards don’t just magically appear…we have to work for them. No, my envy stems from my status as a widow raising children. When I start to compare my life with a friend’s who has never had to work, or someone who not only has a husband, but an income that means they can take trips, and not worry about unexpected medical bills, I start to feel resentment, a sense of “it’s not fair!” I know this is spiritual warfare; envy doesn’t come from God. Satan will use my weaknesses; my loneliness at facing life without my partner, my financial struggles, my worries about raising my two youngest girls alone, and cause me to envy…if I don’t stay vigilant. Each day I choose to live in God’s word, consult Him for what he would have me do, and yes, give thanks for all the blessings he has bestowed on me. I never want to experience envy, but I have not conquered it yet, despite turning to God. For now, while God works in me, I allow myself a little wallowing in envy when it hits (five minutes, tops) and then I diligently seek God’s guidance in overcoming it. Would love to hear ideas on how to banish it for good.

      Reply
      1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

        I’d suggest to keep praying and to focus on the gifts God has in store for you. You lost your husband, but you have the most precious gifts of all, children. And some day, just wait, maybe you will have grandchildren. I’ve noticed that when things come easy to people, they become bored, and never satisfied. Jesus tells us that we will suffer. If God didn’t spare his only Son from suffering, why should we expect to be spared? “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:17 I’d suggest Max Lucado’s “God Will Use This For Good” I believe that God can use everything for His good. I’m lifting a prayer for you Mary. I can’t say that I understand what you are going through, but I know we serve a God who loves us.

        Reply
      2. Ann H Gabhart

        It sounds like you have worked out a pretty good system, Mary. Five minutes tops sounds like a plan. And prayer. Just keep loving those sweet children and may blessings shower down on you.

        Reply
    2. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      I am praying for you Connie, to see how God has blessed you. God has a good plan for you and I believe in a God of abundance. When someone else succeeds, it takes nothing away from us. I’m praying you will discover the joy in sharing and celebrating our friends’ successes. You can choose to drink from the cup of joy or the cup of envy, the choice is yours. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

      Reply
  4. Carrie Padgett

    Shelia, your sweet and kind heart shines through everything you say! Thank you for being my critique partner and sharing this journey with me. Thank you for sharing my excitement. Thank you for your transparency. You’re the best!

    Reply
  5. Kate

    I think this is something we all struggle with at times. Social media, with its carefully edited versions of life, exacerbates the problem. In this stage of life, I find myself envying friends whose young adult children seem to be flourishing. Mine are struggling. Much prayer and constant surrender to the goodness, love and sovereignty of God allows me to rejoice with others. Thank you for your willingness to share your struggles -and God’s solution -with us. I love both Ann’s and Cynthia’s books. I have added The Red Door Inn to my list!

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      I’m lifting prayers for your children. There’s nothing more difficult to experience than our children struggling. Three weeks after I settled my daughter at college, she came home and shared that I was going to be a grandma. Her boyfriend was 17 at the time. It humbled me, but we all grew so much through that time. She told me one day that she learned that when we live outside God’s laws, there are serious consequences. She and Robert married a year later after he turned 18. They lived with us for the first year and started college. On their one year anniversary, my son-in-law’s gift to my daughter was a Mom’s devotional Bible. I had a clutch of sweet women from Bible study who lifted this fledgling family in prayers, and it has made all the difference. I couldn’t have chosen a better husband for my daughter or a finer father for my grandchildren. It’s while our children struggle, that God pulls them back to him. My grandson is named, Matthew which means gift from God. Today he is six and his teacher told us last week that he is a joy. Jacob, his brother, is three. I am blessed. I wouldn’t exchange my daughter’s struggle for anything. It cemented her relationship with God, and she and Robert have a strong marriage. Their friend’s deserted them, but the parents didn’t and neither did God. God has a good plan for your children.

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Thank you so much for those encouraging words, Sheila! There is no safer place for them than in their Father’s hands. I keep reminding myself that God writes the final chapters in our lives. I don’t know how this all turns out but He does!

        Reply
    2. Ann H Gabhart

      Prayers for your children and what a testimony Shelia shared with you. Sometimes strength does come from struggles. I was a young mother and had two children by the time I was 19. We definitely had some financial struggles along the way, but we always had what we needed. And our kids did well. So glad your daughter and her family are doing well now, Shelia. I know you were a supportive and loving mother as I’m sure you are too, Kate. Sometimes it’s harder to see our children suffer and struggle than it is to experience the same sorts of things ourselves.

      Reply
  6. Kathy Schnitz

    Very nice article. I usually do ok on the jealousy front, but occasionally do feel a little envy, like for friends whose husbands are healthy and like to go places with them. But then I look at others whose partners are no longer here and realize how lucky I am. Getting better at being thankful.

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      You are so right. A thankful heart leads to contentment and happiness. I’ve suffered an illness this week and I’m just trying to focus on being thankful for our great health care system. We are so blessed to live in America. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best thing going.

      Reply
  7. Amanda Hays

    Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.
    just try our best to love the way our father loves us, & pray we not feel the ugly jealous feeling.

    Reply
  8. Carmen Kumm

    I had a friend that I was very jealous of. We had similar careers, friends and families. We did many things similarly. I was in a near fatal car accident in 2010 and she helped take care of my family when i wasn’t able to. She was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years later, i tried to do the sane thing but i always felt bad about not doing as much as she did for my family. It was guilt that I believe was caused by jealousy of her ability. She died in 2015. My jealousy continued. It’s absolutely ridiculous, i was jealous because she even “died right”. I have had to face this and I still struggle with anger. I loved her like a sister and I miss her. Jealousy is a struggle that is hard to”fix” but with His help we can overcome our own bad feelings.

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      I am lifting a prayer for you. We all struggle with different responsibilities. There are so many needs of family and friends, and the more you show the love of Jesus, the more people you will feel called to help. It can be overwhelming. The most important thing I think you can do for someone is to pray for them. We can’t change anything about the past. It sounds to me as if you are being very hard on yourself. I pray you can let go of this burden. Jesus loves you, and He wants you to love yourself too. If there was anything to forgive, it seems you’ve repented. Just ask Jesus to wipe it away and enjoy the peace only He can give.

      Reply
  9. NancyB

    Shelia, I was very excited to come across your website and your words of wisdom. Jealousy is too much a part of my life. I am always comparing myself to someone else. I continue to feel I am not good enough as “Mary”. If I could just remember that God made me who I am with my gifts and talents. I should want to continue to grow them to please God and show him how I can use them to help our world but instead I forget and just continue to try to be like “Mary”. But you give me hope that I too can be who God wants me to be and I can give up being jealous of others and do as God wishes me to be.

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      Thank you Nancy. God has a wonderful plan for you, and He’s given you special gifts I’m sure others envy. Comparison can cripple us and cripple relationships. I’ve learned that often, the people who appear to have it all, are also a secret member of the walking wounded club. They’re just better at covering it up. No one has the perfect life, perfect kids, perfect family, perfect job, etc. We are all imperfect. Thank goodness, we have a “perfect” Savior.

      Reply

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