Everyone has a story that starts somewhere. A beginning. A place you can pin point and say “that’s where it all started.” Sometimes it takes decades of space to be able to look back and see that place on the journey God has you on. Maybe it takes counseling – or should take counseling.
I’m a fan of counseling and fully intend to save up my pennies to be able to afford some.
But since I’m not there yet, we’ll just take a walk back memory lane. Because you don’t suffer from a legacy of jealousy accidentally. It feels like it was built into my DNA like my eye color and freckles and shoe size. Could I joke and blame it on being a twin, never having my own completely unique identity and having to share ALL THE THINGS?
Sure. But that would be unfair and untrue.
My struggle with jealousy reared it’s ugly head in college. Growing up in a small town it was easy to be good at things. I was thirteen when we got our first home computer on ancient dial-up and – although I spent far too many hours in far too many AOL chat rooms talking with far too many complete strangers – it wasn’t like it is now. There was no social media. The internet wasn’t a place for bullies – we still just had the old school in-person version of that, and I ran into a few..and was one now and again.
I was pretty content to do my own thing in high school. I knew I loved writing and reading, music and the arts, and college was in my future. I wasn’t part of the cool kids but I wasn’t unwelcome by them either. I was just me. And it was good enough.
Somewhere in those terribly crucial formative years of college, I forgot who I was. Maybe it’s because I was in the minority for the first time in my life – a small town protestant gal surrounded by incredibly rich catholic students. I felt inferior when it came to nearly everything – my clothes, my accent, my abilities (that C- in international studies was a blow to my ego), my faith.
Not even halfway through my freshman year my roommate decided she didn’t want to room with me any longer. What used to be our study room turned into my room and her desk slid across the hall into her room. She even lined up people to help make it happen.
I’d never been so blatantly rejected before, and as it stacked insecurity on top of insecurity. Instead of going out and finding true friends, I remember sitting in my room listening to everyone else laugh and connect and wonder why I wasn’t invited.
Ultimately, as I experienced more rejection from friends, didn’t get picked for opportunities I thought I deserved, and chose loneliness over more hurt, I build a wall around my heart. Each brick a terribly unfair expectation of a friend, a co-worker, a classmate. I expected failure and disappointment. I expected to be invited and was jealous when I wasn’t. I expected to be included and was jealous when I wasn’t. I expected to be recognized and was jealous when someone else was.
I was thinking so highly of myself and yet so terribly insecure that I was stuck in an endless cycle of expectation and jealousy.
Don’t get me wrong – identifying where it all started isn’t the end of the journey. It’s only the beginning. I am a self-proclaimed work in progress. The reason I’m writing this series is because God has, even just in the last few months, continued to work with me on this issue. It’s a weakness that I pray daily God will turn into a strength. May He use my failures and faults for His glory, somehow.
Is this an area you struggle in? When you spend time praying about it, where does God reveal it all started for you?
We’ll be back tomorrow to chat about what jealousy looks like in my life before we dig into what God says about it.
kirstin troyer says
This is so great and so true on a variety of levels. I know if I’m honest with myself there are still people or situations that I find myself jealous of and I constantly have to remind myself that is not who I am.
Summer Roughton says
I deeply struggle with jealousy. Comparison of myself to others… what they have and what I don’t have. How they look, how I look. Their social groups… and mine. I become so envious and so jealous of them. Thankful for that forward progress of working through it all. I am big fan of counseling too… it can be a lifesaver.
Lesley Swanson says
Can I say … I’m a little jealous right now??? 🙂 The age of social media has stirred more jealousy in me than I ever thought lived in this little ol’ heart of mine. But I do look forward to reading more of what your series will bring. Oh … and that counseling wish …. I do mine for free! Let me know if you’d ever like to talk :o>
Vonda Hecht says
Oh wow, jealousy pops up in me more times than I want to admit! It’s kind of like “JAWS” (the movie) for me. It shows up just when I thought it was safe to go back into the “water”. So thankful that you shared this journey with us and I look forward to reading more of how God takes you, and us, from jealousy to joy.
It is hard not to be jealous of others sometimes. And comparison breeds it. Not sure where it started for me, but I know it is something I need to be careful of and watch for in myself.
Crystal, thank you for your honesty.
I’m just sitting here raising my hand and saying, “me too” as I read through your words. I think my jealous feelings all began from being the middle child. Not firstborn and not the baby.
Elise Daly Parker says
Wow,,,great, honest, hard topic. Yes I do struggle with this. I think it began when I was born second. The place of amazing, wonderful, miraculous firstborn had been taken. And though I know no one meant to make me feel this way, it seemed to me the person to be was my sister and not me. She captivated everyone in my sphere and I hid ashamed and less than and mistakenly believing that It wasn’t good enough to be me, I had to figure out a way to be her. And well I couldnt so I always fell short. It took me a very long time to appreciate me and my gifts. It took some counseling too! By the way my sister is my best friend, despite it all!!
Crystal Stine says
Yes! Oh man – I relate to so much of this. I appreciate your words and your encouragement so much this morning, Elise!
Mary Bonner (@TheMaryBonner) says
Thank you for writing on this topic, Crystal. I think you have struck a chord that resonates with many of us, I look forward to traveling this road with you during October and seeing where the Lord takes all of us.
Crystal Stine says
So glad you’re joining me, Mary 🙂
Thanks for being so vulnerable to talk about this–something nobody ever talks about. I don’t know where it all started with me, but envy is something I have wrestled with for a long time.
Crystal Stine says
From a gal who has done that same long-term wrestling, I’m so sorry Cecily. Grateful we can be “works in progress” together. xoxo