I had a conversation with a friend recently that truly blessed me. And I’m noodling on one aspect of it that I’m struggling with right now. Not in a bad way–a good way.
She talked about envy, about how discontentment flies in when we look at other people and what they have. Then she mentioned how other people talking about their triumphs can foster this kind of envy. Of course she meant that envy is almost always the envious person’s issue. But it got me thinking.
Is it bragging to share a victory with you? Does it invoke or incite envy in others if I share something delightful? And where is the line? Should we simply be quiet and not publicly rejoice when something goes our way? Or should we become paranoid that our “boasting” causes others to envy unecessarily?
I’m sure way down deep it boils down to heart. We simply need to let our hearts rest in God’s hands. Our motives too. If our desire is to praise God for something cool He did, then so be it. If that causes someone else to grumble because God didn’t do that particular thing for someone else, how can we possibly control that? In all things, we must remember that it’s all God anyway. He promotes and demotes.
I’m reminded of my closest friendships. Those friends not only bear my sorrow but rejoice in my victories. I think it’s pretty easy to find someone to commiserate with you when life hands you lemons. It’s hard to find friends who will rejoice alongside you when those lemons turn into lemonade. You can evaluate the depth and power of your friendships by how well your friends rejoice with you without envy.
So I’m choosing to rest. If God does something cool, I’ll share that as He leads. I can’t live my life worrying whether someone will envy my success. And in this writing biz, success is so very elusive and fleeting that if I didn’t celebrate the little successes, I’d probably go nutty.
So what do you think? What is bragging? What’s the difference between showing off or genuinely thanking God for something cool? Have you ever had an envious friend? Have you envied another?