Joy Thieves – Part 4 {Jealousy}

Phil 4 19


Nine years ago, I made the decision to leave my well-paid, high-flying career to be a stay-at-home Mum. Needless to say, a lot of people thought I was nuts. I was on the brink of a significant promotion which I was guaranteed to get if I had returned to work after a period of maternity leave. I had made significant strides in my career in a very short space of time. But you know what? I had got everything from the job I had ever wanted, and no amount of persuasion could have convinced me that staying at home to raise my child was not the best choice for me.

I look back and I would make the same choice again if I could go back in time. I am as convinced now as I was then.

But, you know what? Just because I was entirely convinced it was the right decision for my family, does not mean that it was easy and plain sailing. In fact, it was far from it.

Because we drastically reduced our household income, we had to make a lot of changes. For example, since living in America for a year when I was 18, I had been back every single year (often two or three times) for a holiday. We took our last trip to America the summer before I was pregnant with our first child. I’m sure there is a little piece of my heart over the other side of the Atlantic, but the decision to leave my job equalled the decision to end my annual trips to this place I love. I’ve still never been back.

In fact, we pretty much knocked holidays on the head full stop. We made some trips to see family here and there, and one summer, all we got was one day at the beach.

We lived in a two bedroom flat in a city centre. No garden. We sold our flashy sports car and funky little 4×4 and bought a single, cheap family car.

I changed the kind of make up I bought, stopped getting my nails done and grew my hair so it would mean fewer trips to the hairdresser.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying any of this to make me sound good or to inflate my own head. More, I want to make the point that this was a decision I was entirely and whole-heartedly committed to, whatever the cost.

But I also, inadvertently, invited a joy thief in. Jealousy.

I do not regret the decision we made to live on a single income, but I do regret how often I let Jealousy steal the joy I should have had at being able to make the decision I did and live it out.

Jealousy would often come and sit with me in the quiet, with my two young children in our poky flat and it would remind me of everything I didn’t have, but my friends did.

Your friends have two cars.

Your friends live in houses. With gardens.

Your friends’ babies had nurseries, not just the corner of a room with a crib in it.

Your friends are all going abroad this summer.

Your friends are going out to eat this weekend.

Did you see your friend’s new hair cut?

Jealousy tried to convince me that I would be so much happier and better off with all these things, when in fact, I would have been so much happier and better off if I had just shown Jealousy the way out and politely told it never to darken my door again.

When we let Jealousy live in our four walls, every day is a fight. A fight between accepting what you have and seeing the joy in it, and trying desperately to not want what other people have.

Jealousy is a joy thief because if it can convince you that you should have, could have, might have something that someone else has, then it will keep your joy at bay. Joy and Jealousy cannot coexist.

Now of course, Jealousy might not be able to get to you with things that have monetary value – things that can be bought. Jealousy might find a way in more surreptitiously.

Jealousy will tell you that she is thinner and you should be, but you will never be.

Jealousy will tell you that she is far more gifted, and you…well you’re just an average Joe.

Jealousy will tell you that she has more friends, but noone will ever warm to you as much as that.

Jealousy will tell you her husband loves her more than yours loves you, look at how he shows her…when was the last time you got flowers again?

Jealousy keeps your eyes on other people and will stumble-trip you into forgetting what you have. Jealousy prevents you from seeing the gifts and work of God in your life and instead makes you wonder why He hasn’t gifted you and blessed you more. But Galatians 5:19-21 lists jealousy alongside sorcery, sexual immorality, dissension, strife…make no mistake, jealousy has no place in your life any more than these other things, which we could quickly convince ourselves are much worse.

The way to combat jealousy is to fail to look at what other people have in comparison to what you have.

If you are struggling with jealousy today, make the decision to start counting your blessings. As with all these joy thieves, it takes intention and purposefulness to combat it. Dig deep into the word, remind yourself what Jesus did for you.

When I left work, had my two children and stayed home with them, this is what I should have done more of. Don’t miss today’s joy because you will never get today back.

Grace and Love

Helen x


  1. Joyce Reid says:

    Very open and honest HElen,we all can identify.


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