Applause for Envy

Applause for achievements

applause for envy
photo by Niek                           Verlann/Pixabay

Give applause for envy. Let envy be the signal to remind you to give applause. The best way to get rid of envy is to applaud the person of whom we are jealous. You heard that right. When we find we don’t want to congratulate someone or compliment him, it’s usually because we are jealous or envious. Our failure to compliment is not usually because “they don’t deserve it” or because we know they “really aren’t all that.” This is why we need to give applause for envy.

Tell me this isn’t so.

This type of envy destroys relationships or minimizes what could be if only we were willing to acknowledge the gifts and abilities of others. Sometimes we’re jealous of their income, their friends, their marriage, or their ability to bear children or travel. Whatever the reason, we are the ones who are wrong.

Is it your friend’s fault that you didn’t gain the inheritance she did? Is your friend the cause of your singleness? Can your friend help if it you’re infertile or struggling in your marriage and she’s not? Is it your friend’s fault that your spouse’s income is greater than yours? Did your friend dictate to God to give her certain abilities and withhold those same talents from you?

If the answer to the above questions is “No” (and I’m sure it is), then what is it that makes you think it’s okay to withhold blessing, approval, and applause to those who have no control over your finances, your spouse’s idiosyncrasies or other problems you face? It might be true that you also “did all the right things”, but your lot in life came to be  under the sovereignty of God. Life isn’t fair, but that is not the fault of your friend or of others. Give applause for envy!

applause for envyRecognize the fault line

Many years ago, I planned a trip to Europe with cousins. Standing in the back of my church (which should have been a safe place), someone found out about my planned trip. Soon others wanted to hear more. Everyone seemed excited for me, a single gal.

Then one of the women (married with small children, and someone I considered a friend) stepped forward and said, “WELL, my John is my trip to Europe!”   [Nobody ever said he wasn’t.]

You see what she did there? She downplayed the excitement others had for me and instead of being excited, she threw out the fact that she was married with children (something I did not have then).  Could I choose, would I have chosen a spouse and family for life over a one-time trip to Europe? Yes. Did that mean I couldn’t go to Europe and enjoy my time since I had the opportunity, just because I didn’t have a husband and kids? Of course not.

I have never, ever forgotten that conversation – and it’s been over forty years. The reason I remember it because I do not want to be like that. I want to cheer for the successes and opportunities of others. Instead of begrudging someone when they have something I wish I could have, I remember that conversation and applaud the one who has what I don’t have.

That’s what we need to do. Life isn’t about who gets a trip to Europe and who is married with kids. Life is not about promotions and gadgets and topping what someone else accomplishes. We’re not here to promote ourselves, but to serve others. This gal failed to recognize her envy and give applause for envy. I think, had she shared in the excitement, she would have been happier in that moment.

Relationships over achievements, every time.

Life is about relationships. That’s why we need to give applause for envy.

When we can’t be happy for the success of others, even when our life situation is unfair, there’s something wrong inside. It’s time we grow up and look for ways to extend grace and applause to those who rub shoulders with us.

We must recognize envy when it rears its ugly head. Take hold of that envy, and give applause in its place.

When you can’t be happy for someone else, ask yourself WHY. When you refuse to acknowledge someone else’s achievements, ask yourself Why, and stop making excuses.

Start giving applause for envy. It will make a difference. You’ll see.

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