It’s easy to look to other people and think that they have it better than you do. It’s even easier to imagine that your life would be better if you just had that one thing, or if you had a bit more time to do this or that, or if you could just go to this or that place. It’s easy to imagine a life that doesn’t require you to be vulnerable, to work hard, to feel pain or grief.
Don’t be a jealous person.
To be jealous is to reject your reality. It’s a choice to live in a fantasy world. If we want to grow as people, then we must choose to live in the reality of our daily lives. There are choices to be made, and making choices, particularly good choices, requires vulnerability. Our life is filled with choices and therefore risks. Avoiding those risks is to avoid living life.
The Apostle Paul said that he died daily. At 35 the concept of daily death resonates much differently with me than it did when I first considered it in my teens. For me to die daily means to refuse to live in a fantasy world. To die daily means I die to jealousy and judgment. It means I cheer on those around me who are following the way of grace. To do so is a protest to this world which begs for us to live our lives enslaved to jealousy and judgment.
Social media nags at us to live in our fantasies. To live in the fantasies of others. To live in a world where we start to believe that the possibilities of life are limitless, infinite. But our lives do not operate that way. We live in a world full of limited possibilities, oftentimes very limited. But there’s no need to escape. If you chose to be in a committed relationship, you limited your possibilities in the name of love. If you made the vulnerable decision to have kids, you took on a risk that gave you children with limitations. You gave yourself the limited life of a parent. If you chose to work full time, you made decisions you thought were best for yourself and for those around you. If you’ve chosen not to do those things, or haven’t had the opportunity, you know very well of the limitations of your own life.
When we accept the limitations of our lives, there is a grief that comes with it. It’s the death of our imagined limitless possibilities. It is a death of fantasy worlds and all of their multiverses. To choose to live your life apart from jealousy and judgment is a sort of incarnation. An emptying of one’s infinite self into one’s limited self. It gives a clear glimpse of just how anti-Christ it is to reject our own reality.