Envy is dehydrating to the both the body and the soul. To envy is to want what someone else has; it is to believe that whatever we have is not enough–that we need to do more and be better. Envy is painful and exhausting, and it doesn’t bring out our best selves.
The Bible has plenty of stories with envy at their root: Cain/Abel, Jacob/Esau, Joseph/his brothers, Sarah/Hagar, Mary/Martha, and more. Envy is such a toxically timeless element of life that it even makes it into two of the Ten Commandments in the guise of “coveting.”
Limiting envy’s power begins with reframing our relationships with ourselves. The more secure we feel about ourselves, the less likely we are to want the lifestyle, body, or possessions of someone else. Our most rooted identity was bestowed upon us by our Creator.
Our baptismal identity confirms that we are eternally claimed, loved, and valued. Our Creator gifts us with confidence rooted not in possessions or appearance–but in our deep and abiding value to God.
This message is excerpted from the faith reflection “Envy” by Emily Carson in the March 2016 Cafe Online magazine. Today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord.
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