Is neither as cute or as innocent as it sounds.
Envy has been one of the biggest things that has been revealed in my heart through infertility. To be honest – I feel like I’ve always struggled with jealousy when anyone had something I wanted, but it was always small enough that I could hide it under the rug (hindsight really is 20/20 eh?) Not so this time.
Envy, like all sin creeps in slowly. At first it seems harmless, an “aw man! I would love to have that.” Then it turns into a “that person having that makes me remember I don’t have it and I want it.” Then – if left unchecked – it can turn into an all-encompassing bitterness towards anyone that has what you want.
There was a point at the beginning of the year – after a year of trying to have a baby and finding out we needed to go to a specialist – that envy consumed me. I was on bump alert. Anyone I saw that looked pregnant, I had to look away because it hurt me so much. I would see strangers and would have these out of control feelings of ill-wishes and hatred towards them that would lead me to utter despair. And even worse than that – I’m ashamed to say – I would have the same bitterness towards my friends.
It’s one of those time that God reminds me – if you think you’re better or above a particular sin – you’re not. Your heart is evil and desperately sick and you need Me.
But even when I knew it was becoming a big problem, I would still hold onto it. It was this strange comfort and yes, sometimes it would be satisfying to hold myself a pity party and hold onto bitterness towards someone.
But our Father is merciful and good and he was not content to leave me that way – sinning against Him and others constantly. I hate the way He did it, but I’m thankful for the end result. It came to a head when there was a situation that caused me to deeply sin against a dear friend. She was pregnant and, sadly, lost the baby. When I heard about it, my sin took over. I was so frustrated that someone else got pregnant so quickly and I felt this overwhelming jealousy and bitterness. (Even though logically I knew – she had a LOSS – how could I ever be jealous of someone experiencing something so horrific?!?) I knew in my head it wasn’t okay, so I wrote her this ridiculous email with the gist being “I know I sinned against you and I’m supposed to repent, so I guess I am, but I still have these feelings so just wanted you to know.”
And it was one of those times God just knocked me upside the head. She wrote back a gracious, caring email that she was obviously very hurt but loving – saying that she was praying for me, that Jesus could be my treasure. For the next few days, it was just on my heart nonstop. I was somewhat bewildered at myself that I could have responded that way (why am I ever surprised by my sin anymore?!?) and realized this HAS to stop. I sinned deeply against a friend and fake repented, but I needed to actually repent – to her and to Jesus- and seek reconciliation. And even more than that – to die to myself and not indulge and let this sin grow in my heart anymore.
At the same time as all of this, this amazing blog had a series about envy – it pierced me to the heart.
I called my friend and we had a great talk. Through tears, I apologized that my sin had hurt her so deeply and that I was adding even more trouble onto an awful situation. I said I totally understand if she wanted some space or didn’t want to talk or anything, but just that I wanted her to know I finally realized how deep and evil that sin was and that I needed to apologize to her. And – amazingly – she so graciously said “of course I don’t need space! I forgive you and I love you.”
Amazing. Her reaction pointed me to Jesus so much and showed me how He has forgiven me and how He died on the cross for my sin – for my jealousy, my envy, my hatred, my bitterness, my discontentment. I spent a lot of time with the Lord repenting over this long-term sin and how it had a foothold in my heart and in my life. And asked Him to change me. And to know that if anyone is pregnant (the conditions have to be SO right – there’s thousands of things that could go wrong), HE created that baby. And HE is completely in control and wants that child. And (at the time this was so foreign and at the other end of the spectrum for me) but I prayed that I would have JOY over other people’s pregnancies.
And – wouldn’t you know it? Jesus changed my heart. Not overnight, by any means. I had to constantly keep telling myself those truths. But he freed me from that. He used various things – my friend, His word and the girltalk blog, (I’ll post that super convicting series on envy and compare tomorrow.) And even – for the first time in way too long – I was able to feel pure, unadulterated joy for other people’s pregnancies and new life. Previously, with friends, I would be excited and feel joy for them – but it would always be mixed with some jealousy and despair at my own situation. God completely redeemed that. And not just for my friends – but even for people I’d see in the grocery store. I was able to praise God for how He created life – even if it wasn’t in me.
This is not over. Unfortunately sometimes the old me can so easily rush back – but when I feel like it does, I long to repent of my jealousy and bitterness and know that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, holding on to the truths that I KNOW to be true – even when it doesn’t feel like it. I am so thankful the Lord killed that sin that was killing me. He is a great Savior!