When Someone Else is Living Your Dream

When Someone Else is Living Your Dream | Christine M Chappell | Clean Home, Messy Heart

It hit me the moment I saw it: a Facebook update celebrating the news of achievement and success, renown and opportunity. I confess: I’m not immune twinges of jealousy, however briefly they linger. I know I shouldn’t feel this way when others are triumphing with their talents, but this undercurrent of envy still remains. It has yet to be uprooted, and I cannot completely squash the longing to be in that person’s shoes…if only for a moment.

What a precarious place to be, watching someone else live your dream.

It’s an age-old problem, this reflexive coveting of ours. And though I repent of my feelings and jealously mere minutes after they pop-up in my heart, the fact is this involuntary desire to experience the same excitement and achievement as others is a breeding ground of discontent. More than that, it goes against the tenth and final commandment given to Moses.

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” {Exodus 20:17}

Point being: the Lord knows how deadly and destructive this envy really is, not only to our hearts, but also to our relationship with him.

Perhaps you know something of this problem. Maybe your coveting looks something like this: you see a social media post sharing good news, but the update is what you have been longing for deep down, perhaps even for years.

You see this person living out your dream and ask yourself, “Why her, and not me?”

That’s how easy it starts. A small question about God’s justice, seemingly harmless at first. But should we allow the envy in our hearts free reign at every opportunity of jealousy, we’re setting ourselves up to live in a constant state of bitterness and grumbling. In fact, here are a list of ways chronic coveting engulfs our minds and quenches fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) from flourishing in our lives:

♦ Coveting banishes hope. When we see someone else living our dream, we’re tempted to think we’ll never be given a similar opportunity to use our gifting and/or talent.

♦ Coveting kills praise. Sure, we may say we are happy for that person’s success, but deep down we’re not thanking God for giving them the opportunity. In reality, we’re questioning why God hasn’t allowed us this same personal glory.

♦ Coveting steals worship. This envy of ours doesn’t spawn reflexive worship and awe of the Lord. Rather, our envy demands that we receive worship and praise, and is upset when those demands are not being met.

♦ Coveting eliminates gratitude. Being so busy in desiring what someone else is achieving, we completely turn a blind eye to the gifts and blessings that the Lord has granted to us. Suddenly what we’ve been given is no longer good enough, but rather considered sloppy seconds to what we see that other person getting.

The larger impact of our coveting is that it reveals a heart that wants to be in the place of God—a heart that longs for glory, praise, worship, fame, success, prosperity, and significance. We cannot let our envy, whatever form it may take, to continue its hidden work in the dark corners of our soul. By the power of the Spirit, we can pray for conviction to know when we’re being tempted to covet and actively pursue the repentance needed to nip it in the bud. If we do not fiercely attack these bitter roots, we will soon find ourselves overtaken by a fruitless field of weeds.

In the fight against reflexive coveting, we must “put off” our envious desires and redirect our heart’s affections to Christ himself.

Don’t be content to let this slip under the radar. If you know you’re prone to envy and jealousy, in Jesus’ name decide to fight back! You can do this by purposefully applying your faith in the gospel the moment that involuntary “Why her, and not me?” feeling pops up.

♦ Declare your hope. “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

♦ Proclaim your praises. “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5

♦ Sing your worship. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

♦ Offer your gratitude. “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

The unquenchable desires of coveting can only be redeemed as we surrender our quest for glory and set our minds, rather, on the glory of God—who alone deserves the worship and praise. Our tendencies to be “glory-hogs” may be deeply engrained in us, but by taking our thankfulness to task, we can diminish those passionate flames of covetous desire and replace them with passionate reverence for the rugged cross.

Let us remember the grace of God: Remember how we can look to Jesus hanging on a tree and ask in solemn gratitude, “Why him, and why not me?”

Let us remember that every morning we wake up with breath and life is a morning we are doing far better than we deserve; and every good gift we have been given comes from a perfectly wise and sovereign Father. If there’s a dream we’ve yet to obtain, let us trust God’s good timing and purpose. And if there’s someone walking a path we hoped to take, remember: the Lord is a creative Creator. We all have your own journeys, unlike anyone else, unlike any road that has been laid out before, unlike any opportunity that has ever been given—and thus is the greatness of our God, that he has no need to create duplicates. In this originality we can rejoice in excitement, for the trail he blazes is uniquely our own.


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