In high school, my best friend and I had a term we used for people that intimidated us because not only were they good looking and wealthy, their lives appeared wonderful. We called them – the Beautiful People. I spent the next few years of my life studying the beautiful people, coveting their model of perfection. Do you think it made me a happier person? No way. I started to imitate what I could, and then I began to pick apart what I couldn’t. I became judgemental of those who didn’t meet my standard of beautiful and grew into a fussy and critical person. Dissatisfied with the “common” life, I was fixated on the beautiful life, thankless for the good things all around me. A typical youth, my moods hinged on how I thought I measured up to my ideals based on my assumptions of those beautiful people. I was miserable and believed God was being rather mean to not give me the life I desired.
God IS good.
In my brooding envy, I was rejecting the belief that God had a beautiful and good life for me. I didn’t want His version of good, I wanted theirs. And when God wasn’t giving me my idea of good, then I doubted HIS goodness. Recently, I’ve started remarking to myself when I start to mope, “Uh-oh, God is out to get you!” Or, “Well, I guess God screwed up.” The shock of concluding my gripe into a summarizing statement usually flips my attitude in an instant. Because, I really do believe God gives me only things that are good for me. So if He hasn’t given it, it isn’t good … for me.
No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people
At the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world. (Ps73 The Message)
Envy is doubting the goodness of God.
It is hard to get good Christians to admit they don’t believe that God is good. But, doubt of God’s goodness is the root of all our problems. We just don’t talk about. We quietly covet what we think is good; ignoring the good we already have. We use our own tactics to get that “good” often in disobedience to God. And, we feel sorry for ourselves when God won’t let us have it. A mother looks at the weekly tabloids and makes herself sick trying to be thin. A wife eyeballs her friend’s marriage and derails her own with self-pity that her husband won’t meet her high standards. We go into debt grasping for materials to transform our lives into our idol’s. We fill our thoughts with “if onlys” and “I wishs” instead of “thank yous” and “I’m so glads.” As a result of comparing our lives to others, we wonder if God even cares, and our lives begin to disintegrate.
What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,
all I got was a splitting headache . . .
When I was beleaguered and bitter,
totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
in your very presence. (Ps73 The Message)
The Beautiful People are an illusion.
I remember the time I gave up chasing my dream of being beautiful. You know what I learned? It was easier to submit to God’s plan for my life. I was free to desire things I knew God would allow me to have, things eternally more valuable than beauty, wealth or a sharp wit. I was also free of my intimidation of the beautiful people. My rose-colored glasses came off, and I saw their lives through my new God-glasses. When I saw the truth, it wasn’t envy I felt, but compassion.
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!
A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
We wake up and rub our eyes….Nothing.
There’s nothing to them. And there never was. (Ps73 The Message)
From silent envy to cheers!
Rejoicing gratitude is a way of life, but it can only grow in submission to God. One word of thanks for the life He’s given you, right now, can start you on your journey to a feast of happiness filling all your tomorrows!
You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—
oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do! (Ps73 The Message)