Sometimes it seems wherever I turn, happy couples abound — exotic vacation shots on Facebook, glowing smiles in Christmas cards, New Year’s Eve galas complete with midnight kisses. On those quiet nights alone at home, it’s difficult to not dream of my own happily ever after. It’s even more of a challenge to not become envious.
But, as we learned in this week’s sermon, "Killing What’s Killing You – Envy/Comparison," envy can create a tangled web of discontent. As TPCC Pastor Aaron Brockett said, “If envy is the web, then comparison spins the web.” At its core, a resentful longing for what someone else has can become a distraction and take us off course. And, during this solo season, it’s easy to take our eyes off Jesus when we’ve fixated them on finding a significant other.
As singles, we have a unique opportunity. Without a partner, we have freedom and, without children, often more free time. But that free time is where the blessing and the curse may arise. It’s usually in my lonely moments of downtime at home where those flashes of “If only” begin to surface. “If only I had a husband, I would have someone to give me a back rub. If only I had a husband, I would have someone to help me take down the Christmas tree. If only I had a husband, my life would be complete.”
The reality is that I have had all of those things and more, but they were never fulfilling – something was always missing. But when looking back on lost love, I tend to glorify it. Just like people post their highlight reel on Facebook, I play back only the wonderful memories in my mind, filtering out the bad, resulting in a beautiful picture of a relationship that never really existed. My comparison game not only spans to the people around me but also to my own past, leaving me with regret instead of gratitude.
And so it’s time to, as Aaron so humorously stated, “Stop it”– to kill envy before it kills us. It’s time to run the race that God has set before each one of us – to stay in our own lane, not someone else’s. And when we’re tempted to compare, it might be helpful to ask ourselves, “Where are my eyes?”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)