Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
By Marianna Schmiesing
The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a gosh-awful show, and I do not recommend watching it, but after I watched the first two episodes of the latest season back to back, I realized that some good could come out viewing thirty women chase after one man: I now have an excellent image to connect with this blog post.
Because today I want to talk about envy.
To start, envy is not the same as jealousy. When I am jealous, I fear that someone else is going to take what I have. Everyone on the internet uses the example of a woman getting jealous of the lady next door who her husband is talking to over the fence. In the Old Testament, God is described as a jealous God (and in that song which makes everyone upset because no one can agree if it’s an “unforeseen” or “sloppy wet” kiss). It’s as though Bad Boy Sin rolls up on his shiny motorcycle, with a leather jacket and aviator glasses, and we’re like, “I want to ride on the motorcycle, I don’t really like bad boys,” and God’s watching from the front porch and just wants an exclusive relationship with you and doesn’t want you zipping along the interstate at 90 miles an hour with this guy who’s been in and out of jail, but he respects your free will, but just doesn’t want you to DIE—
All the girls on The Bachelor are jealous because they all have a relationship (very shallow—but a relationship nevertheless) with this one little doughy-looking man (sorry—Peter Weber is of average attractiveness), and they’re all scared that the seventy-five other bombshell women are going to snatch away this guy in their manicured talons. Supposedly he’s a real catch because he checked in with that girl who threw-up in the first episode and apparently guys like that don’t exist in the real world (might be true—but that’s a topic for another blog. Stay tuned.)
But that’s jealousy.
Moving on: Envy is also fear, but in a different way.
Envy is deeply connected to happiness.
Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling. Therefore, it can exist apart from anything objective or physical. The richest person could be the unhappiness person, and the poorest could be the happiest.
HOWEVER, I think we often make that connection with our physical surroundings, our present circumstances, with happiness. We are physical people. We live in bodies. We are connected with the material world in a very real way. And it’s difficult to connect how we perceive our lives to a sense of inner joy and peace.
The world is full of discouragement. Heartbreak. Disappointments. And twelve dozen girls trying to steal your man, and all you want is a minute alone with him, but someone stole your champagne, but then it exploded all over your face and ruined your makeup.
How can we not be envious? How can we not look to the woman on our left who just radiates in holiness or the woman on our right who has half of the male population in love with her and not want what they have? The smile on their face, their gorgeous hair, their perfect aesthetic that is intentional in structure yet effortless in execution.
How could we not want what is clearly giving them happiness? If I only I was in their situation—then I would be happy.
About a year ago, I was fascinated with the virtue of hope, mostly because I didn’t understand it. But before I came to fully grasp what hope was, I became very familiar with envy.
To start with, I was not happy. My emotions were a freaking tornado of pasta sauce, alcohol, and goulash. It was disgusting.
I would look at the people around me, even women who were very close friends, and I just thought that if I had what they had (and I no longer had my own crap show), then I would be happy.
Envy is fear. Envy is despair. It brings with it an immediacy and anxiety. It is confusing and overwhelming.
Envy has no hope, no firm belief in the goodness of tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the unknown, and the unknown is terrifying. We are scared of being sad, of being disappointed, lonely, hurt, left out, forgotten, abused, rejected, deceived.
The girls on The Bachelor are both envious and jealous because they don’t see hope in their futures. They believe that if they don’t grasp at, don’t fight for, this little scrap of good, then they’re going to completely miss out. They are afraid of losing a chance to be loved and to be happy.
And so they all chase after one man, but this show always ends in tears and everyone spinning in circles, holding their heads, and saying, “I’m just so confused.”
Those poor women think that they’re following their hearts, but they’re just chasing after something that some producer and societal expectations are telling them to desire. Yes, the Bachelor might be nice, kind, good-looking (in some cases), but these women show up with the high expectation that this man is exactly what they need and what they want. To them, and for a lot of us, a physical love indicates happiness.
But we will never find a deep sense of happiness, true joy and peace, buried in chasing after someone or something.
We have an intangible need for something so real, so unmistakably good and whole and unshakable. Hope speaks that interior reality. Hope speaks to a promise inscribed on our hearts.
And so, we need to come to know our hearts personally. Every little beat, every ache, twinge, flutter, and sigh. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of? What do I love?” The answer to these questions will start to lead you to understand the unique way you were created.
Envy distracts us from searching for our own hearts. Envy tells us what will make us happy, when we should actually take a step back, snap our fingers in a Z-for-ma-tion and say, “You don’t know me! You don’t know my story!”
It’s taken me a long time to see this. Hope used to be just wishful thinking. As a consequence, I approached hope with timidity and fearfulness; I was not going to hope for anything that might be denied me; if I wanted something, I had to grasp for it.
However, when I really got to know my own heart (and I’m still in that process), I’ve realized that I have to fight for fewer things. To start with, I don’t fight for anything and everything that I think will make me happy, because I know specifically what will make me happy. I don’t have to compete with anyone because I am aware of the particular way I have been gifted. I know the strengths that should be nourished and the wounds that need to be tended to.
When I am aware of my heart, I can more fully see hope, the firm belief in the goodness of tomorrow, alive and active in my own life.
Hope brings confidence, a surety, and steadiness. Hope is knowledge. Hope is a promise that will not be broken. Hope doesn’t worry that another person will steal her chance at happiness. Hope knows her intrinsic worth regardless of circumstance. Hope knows the inner workings, dreams, and desires of her own heart and doesn’t listen to a producer telling her what would be good for television.
We have a place in this order. We have a spot at the table. We have not been cast off or forgotten, but rather, invited in. Feet washed. Given bread.
And so, before you go chase after someone else’s heart, seek out your own.