I would like to reiterate the point of me doing these confessions: to show others that they are not alone in their struggles. It occured to me recently that it could seem like I am trying to minimise my own sin or make it seem attractive. I just wanted to clarify that sin is always life-destroying, evil and deserving of punishment. The only reason I am able to talk about my sin without shame is because Jesus died, rose again and paid for it.
With that, I will now share something that has caused a lot of pain for me and for others. It has almost destroyed relationships and has blinded me at times I most needed to see.
One particular instance (spread over a few years) comes to mind.
I had a crush on a guy for a long time and I grew very jealous of other girls who would show him attention. In my thinking at the time, he belonged to me and the other girls should have backed off (despite him not being aware of this).
Over time I became bitter and paranoid in my relationships with these other girls. My only motivation for talking with them was to find out what their intentions were or distract them from talking to this particular guy. There was nothing genuine about the way I related to them. Our friendship, for me, existed on the basis of competition.
I remember a time when I actually felt sick to my stomach from all that had been going on. I poured out my feelings into my journal, begging God to take away the pain. It felt like everywhere I turned, she was with him; laughing, playfully touching his arm, posing for a photo. Every happy moment between them increased my agony. That’s what jealousy does – it stops you from caring about the wants and needs of others. It makes you completely inwardly focused.
I should mention that these things happened with two different girls, at two different times….same guy. The sad thing is, the situation basically repeated itself and I didn’t take the hint that the common denominator was me. I was the cause of the problems. I did recognise that I was struggling with jealousy the second time, but I don’t think I truly wanted to let go. Looking back on my journal entries from the more recent of the two times, I felt ashamed of my jealousy and I thought that ignoring the whole situation (even in my own diary) would make the problem go away. In hindsight, I think that made things worse. If I had been able to let go of my pride and truly share my problem with someone, it probably would have helped in overcoming it.
It hurts even now to remember the thick cloud of jealousy which hovered around me for so long. I thought I was completely justified in feeling hurt, annoyed and resentful.
When things started to develop with my boyfriend (not the same guy) earlier this year, I found that these other girls were great, godly friends I could confide in and go to for advice. What had my jealousy caused me to miss out on before, in the friendship of these young women? What could I have given to them if I hadn’t been so distracted by competing for attentions?
More recently, I have found myself developing jealous feelings towards others in my Christian community because of roles they have. It’s easy sometimes to feel like it’s a personal attack on me whenever I am not chosen to do something.
I have envied (is envy the same as jealousy?) the romantic relationships of others, comparing them to my own. I recall writing to God in my journal one day, something to the effect of: “I know they have problems, Lord, but why can’t my problems be more like theirs? Then I would be able to trust you.” That seems pretty ridiculous, even to me, but I can’t deny that jealousy is still a real battle for me. I can’t deny that I have to daily fight off these feelings and horrible thoughts.
If you know me and you think I might be behaving out of jealous motives on anything, please challenge me.