I struggle with envy.
There. I said it. It’s the ugly truth. I don’t want to be famous, or powerful, or even wealthy. But I would like to go out to eat whenever I don’t feel like cooking, and I’d like to take my family on vacation somewhere warm on a whim. I’d like to have new pots and pans, and I’d really like to not have a limited budget at Christmas and birthdays, or even at the grocery store each week.
I especially envy people who appear to be prospering when living a life counter to biblical principles. Proverbs 23:17 teaches, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord, always.” Such a simple little proverb to memorize and quote, but such a huge command.
Last night Keith and I talked about how people at his company are choosing to stay at the company simply because of the awesome benefits (seriously. My broken foot cost $6 out of pocket, plus the emergency room co-pay). But he feels a ton of pressure being the sole breadwinner in our home. I can’t imagine that kind of pressure, and frequently I feel guilty about that stress he carries day in and day out.
He reminded me, yet again, that we made that choice together. We chose, together, for me to stay home full time, to homeschool, to not work outside the home somewhere and risk paying for bad insurance, childcare, and the associated costs of working outside of the home. In order to simply break even, I’d have to make more than I made teaching before our son was born. We are living, as far as we can discern, in the fear of the Lord, and walking according to His path for us.
But that leads to living on a very strict budget – stricter than most, it seems, having conversations with others in our lives. Maybe it’s because we refuse to have credit cards and carry more debt than we already have, or maybe it’s because we’re honest with people about our financial situation? I don’t know.
But I do know that Jesus said not to worry about what we will eat, or what we will wear. Jesus said that God will provide us with what we need (see Matthew 6:25-34). Therein lies the problem, I suppose: need vs. want. God knows what we need (sustenance, shelter, warmth) and I know what I want (steak & shrimp on a hotel beach vacation). So I look around at what other people are putting forth as their lives, and I am envious.
Maybe I should just focus up instead of around…and maybe I am not alone in this struggle.