Envy, an attention-getting signpost

By Dave Henning / September 26, 2018

“Think of envy as a signpost, pointing you to areas of your life that need your attention.  The presence of this feeling gives you clues about the state of your soul and alerts you to growth opportunities.”-Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller

In Chapter 12 (“Boundaries with Envy and Desire”) of Boundaries for Your Soul, Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller talk about envy’s role as a protector.  For envy works to protect you from the pain of your buried hopes and dreams.  As a result, envy either numbs your pain or prevents it.

Most noteworthy, Alison and Kim state, with a little attention envy can become your ally.  As your ally envy prompts you to invite Jesus to minister and redirect your desires.  Furthermore, the authors explain:

“As you practice Spirit-led self-discipleship, . . you’ll finally address the unmet desire that envy has been serving so faithfully over the years.  And when you start to look at desire, you may stumble upon another part of yourself that carries the grief of loss or regret. . . .  Embracing your grief helps you to process it and harness the power of your desire to inform you life choices.”

Next, Alison and Kim take a look at envy’s benefits, dangers, needs, and fears.  Today the authors cover benefits and dangers.

1.  Benefits – when you treat envy as an ally, the authors state, your envy:

  • alerts you to a vulnerable part of your soul that’s feeling neglected
  • helps you realistically face your limitations so you can move forward with sensible goals
  • reveals unrealized potential within you

2.  Dangers – when you compare something special to an option that appears better, you quickly lose your gratefulness for it.  Therefore, if envy rules your heart, it will surface in unhealthy ways, leading to:

  • attempts or desires to thwart other people’s happiness
  • distraction from your life’s purpose
  • isolation and missed opportunities to serve others and build community

Today’s question: What areas of life needing your attention are revealed by your envy signpost?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Harnessing the power of jealousy”

About the author

Dave Henning

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