How to Combat Envy and Discontentment And WW Linkup

Rejoice AlwaysToday I’m going to unpack one more “character flaw” (grab the Character flaw inventory here) to serve as our example—“my envious and discontented ways” in our “Plank Hunt” series. It’s an ugly job, but somebody’s got to do it! 😉

Sin Triggers

Sometimes there’s not a wound that causes a trigger. Sometimes it’s simply a sin that was learned by the bad example of others, or generated by a personality tendency that you or I are born with. I think my over-analytical personality has been a double-edged sword in many ways. I see the good in life more clearly, but the bad things or imperfections in life are also more glaring. Not an excuse, but helps me to understand my weakness better.

Surrender

The best way to surrender with envy and discontentment is to activate my faith by trusting God more. How do I increase my faith? …

[Tweet “”So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” ~Romans 10:17 (ESV)”]

Activate my faith by hearing God’s word

So I find Bible verses that combat the lies that I’m clinging to whenever I’m tempted to envy or complain—meditating on, praying and memorizing them for encouragement in the moment. This is exactly what Christ did when tempted (see Mt. 4:1ff).

Here’s a great one for envy –

“Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” ~Job 5:2

Here’s another for discontentment –

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ~Phil. 4:4-6

Btw, if you mess up, don’t give into the shame that Satan wants you to wallow in. God always extends His hand to lift you out of the “slimy pit” (see Ps. 40:2) without an “I told you so!” After all, God is fully aware of how slippery those “slimy pits” can be!

“Live out” God’s truth

With envy and discontentment, it’s kind of easy to see that trust in God and gratitude are great ways to live out God’s truth. So being sure to surrender the need to control in a particular situation, is one way to live out “trusting God.” A way to cultivate “gratitude” is to keep a growing list of blessings God has given me, thanking Him for those every day.

With other character flaws it might be harder to know exactly how to live differently. However, I will say that most sins have some kind of root in not trusting God enough.

Be aware …

When you choose to live differently and more in line with God’s truth, you will change the dynamic in your messy marriage. That doesn’t mean you’ll change your spouse into the person you want them to be. But …

[Tweet “Positive changes challenge your mate to respond better because you’re handling things better.”]

Of course, these changes can feel threatening to your mate. Change almost always does. And if your mate is a real “boundary buster,” then he or she will most likely dig their heels in and resist you, or create even more trouble than before you made the positive changes. Yowsers!

Just remember this is probably a “test” to see if you are serious about the changes you want to make in your marriage.

So repeat after me … “Stay the course!”

And if you need a prayer partner on staying the course in a messy marriage, then please let me know! I’d be honored to lift you and your marriage up as often as I can!

[Tweet “Bloggers, join us for another Wedded Wednesday Linkup! #beinspired”]

What is one way you tend to negatively contribute to the mess in your marriage?

 

What are some ways that you’ve “strengthened your faith”?

Next week is a big week at Messy Marriage! It is our 5th blogiversary and we’ll be offering lots of giveaways. You won’t want to miss it!


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Join our Wedded Wednesday Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to Wedded Wednesday or Messy Marriage as well.

Messy Marriage

Find our other WW buttons and guidelines here.

Unfortunately, I’m moving into a very busy season and don’t have enough time to visit every blog that links up here. I will try to visit the blogs of those who comment here, but if I don’t, know that I appreciate the content you bring to the linkup! Thanks so much!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    This is a very insightful post, Beth. I particularly liked the way you approached the possibility that the dynamic in a marriage will be changed (possibly negatively, at least at first) when one changes for the better.

    How have I contributed to the mess in my marriage…well, I think perhaps I AM the mess. I simply didn’t see that my life’s paradigm was so different that I was a better candidate for a monastery than a marriage. (A Buddhist monk once told me that I had a monk’s heart. I wondered how he saw it, as I was carrying a Barrett M82 sniper rifle at the time. But I digress.)

    Some dead Greek dude once got his five minutes of fame by saying “know thyself”; I didn’t. I thought that the job and the ethos were something I could put down, and they weren’t. They were and are a part of me. Wanting to be married is not enough, and love is not enough. There has to be something of a common vision, bound together by shared culture and a background of common experience…or maybe more precisely, experiences processed in similar ways.

    We went through pre-marriage counseling, but all it dealt with was the minor stuff – money, sex, in-laws. It didn’t tell a man who was noted for operational ruthlessness how to slow down and see the world in shades of gray, nor tell a woman how to cope with a man whose first go-to solutions tended to be beyond the civilian pale, and for whom saving even a canine life was a call to instant and sometimes violent action.

    It’s an interesting dichotomy…I am become Death, and I am become the last hope for rescue.

    I’m sorry for the long comment, but I thought that perhaps someone could benefit, that differences and conflicts can come from some very deep places, and that those can be very hard to understand, let alone excise.

    I suppose that, subconsciously, I hoped I could adapt, but hope is not a good tactical plan.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/10/your-dying-spouse-66-beyond-death.html

    • You’re right, Andrew. Wanting to be married is definitely not enough. But I also think we all go into marriage with the wrong expectations and little insight into where we are broken and how that will impact our marriage. I think every one of your examples can be related to on some level to at least a small degree by most reading here and who have been married for any length of time.

      I know that the pain of death has made marriage that much harder for you and Barbara. It has probably magnified the extremes in your personalities and lifestyle preferences. Sometimes it’s simply because you want to focus on something other than the terminal prognosis. Certainly very challenging in many, many ways!

      I will say that I agree that hope without it being anchored in the true Source of Hope (Christ) is not a good tactical plan. At least in my experience, it’s only been through Christ enabling me to love, forgive, hope, persevere, etc, etc that my marriage has recovered. We were very much at divorce’s door, if not in practicality, in an emotional sense. We didn’t think our marriage would ever overcome the huge hurts and barriers we faced. But God helped us walk that path of redemption and I’m forever grateful for Him doing it through us because you and I are not strong enough to do this marriage thing and be victorious.

      Thanks so much for coming by and pouring out your heart, Andrew. It’s always a welcome and thought-provoking discussion, my friend.

  • Pingback: » How to Combat Envy and Discontentment And WW Linkup()

  • Thank you so much sweet friend for the linkup. Hope you are having a wonderful week. I am loving this series, thank you so much. I have been needing it!!

    • I’m so glad, Judith! I always enjoy unpacking these kinds of series, because they force me to take a harder look at my life and deal with things more seriously. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Pingback: All for a cup of water - Hope In The Healing With Nannette Elkins()

  • That whole Philippians 4 passage is such a favorite of mine, Beth. Thanks for weaving it into your writing today. It speaks clear instruction, great wisdom, and deep compassion to us. And oh how we need to soak it all in … and then live it out.

    • It’s one of my favorites too, Linda. And yes, living it out is so important. Of course, we need to keep in mind that Paul was “in chains” as he wrote Philippians, so add that to the pot and you and I have no excuse but to be grateful for every good and perfect gift. Thanks so much, sweet friend. Have a great week!

  • Staying the course is such great advice. It’s what this whole marriage covenant is for, right? Ideally, it creates a safety net under us to allow us to grow closer to God and each other. Visiting from Holley Gerth’s today!

    • Yes, but the “staying the course” part is often so very hard to remember when the pain is at its highest, Rebecca. Funny how we think that pain gives us a pass to give up on our covenants! Thanks for coming by, my friend! Nice to have ya!

  • Mary Flaherty

    Envy is something I struggle with especially in this blogging world. Everyone seems to have a book, and I become envious of their success. But I’m not discontent. I’m not sure I really have the time not so much to write the book–because all writers know that if you want to write, you’ll MAKE the time–but to market the book, to do the necessary things that go along with it, like speaking, traveling. I’m not so much afraid of failure as I am success. I kind of like my quiet life and my wandering weekends. So the envy doesn’t REALLY make sense–well, it never makes sense, does it! I have the book frame, but am waiting until I sense the go-ahead from God-right now….oh I could go on (as you know) and I’m not really sure this even goes along with your blog, but envy sure struck a chord in me. I need to focus on God and what He desires for MY life, not on the outward what everyone else is doing and thinking that must be what I should be doing too. I’ll stop now. Great insights and challenges as usual.

    • I think your envy comes from personal frustrations in your own life, Mary. You see those “other people” who have books and wish that you didn’t have all the work and difficulty of getting there still in your path. It’s not that you begrudge them of their accomplishment, it’s that you dread the hard work you have yet to do! I know that because I’m right there with you, dreading all the hard work that comes with being an author. Yet God calls, so I persevere and each day I eat “one not so tasty morsel” of my “elephant!” ha!

      And yes, I hear ya on the “life” of an author/speaker. I’ve often said that to my hubby, that I like living in obscurity and being able to determine my own next steps. As an author, I’d probably have some micromanaging publisher ordering my next steps. The reality is not all it’s cracked up to be!

      So yes, let’s both focus on doing what God wants us to do each day. It may be eating some of that nasty tasting elephant that leads to the writing of a book, or it just might mean going for a hike in the Appalachians with our hubbies! (Something I know you’ve done recently, and something I’m going to be doing with my hubby in late October–in the Virginia part of the trail). I think I know which one I’d prefer! 😉

  • Mary

    Staying in line with God’s truth is key and is something I work very hard at in my own life. I have taken on the scripture memory as part of my weekly routine. I choose verses that I need as you said to combat certain areas of my life that I might be struggling with. I am finding it to be very empowering. Satan does not like it all! So glad you shared from Philippians today-my favorite of all time. Blessings!

    • Oh yes, it is very empowering, Mary! I’m always reminded of Heb. 4:12 that talks about God’s word being “active and alive.” I truly believe there’s something miraculous about His word and when we memorize it, meditate on it, speak it, pray it and most of all apply it, we see God doing miracles in ways that simply trying to be obedient never accomplishes. Thanks so much for always being an encourager, my friend! I truly appreciate your friendship.

  • Beth, a friend called me stirred up because a woman in her church was sending her upsetting emails because my friend is planning something nice for someone in the church. It’s clear, these barbs aren’t over the event. She’s offered every way to work with her. It sounds like she’s envious my friend had the idea before she did. Unchecked envy can spoil an event for everyone else if we don’t recognize it in ourselves or in others. Loved your verse: “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” ~Job 5:2

    I tried to update my disqus, but not sure it saved!!! We’ll see. 🙂 Computers and I speak different languages.

    • Oh yes! It sounds like envy was at work in that situation, Debbie. Often envy is born out of good intentions, I think. We want to do something positive but see someone else has appeared to beat us to the punch! Boom–envy pops to the surface! 😉 And yes, I love that verse too! It’s so blunt and to the point of what resentment and envy do to our lives.

      BTW, your profile link worked! So you must have done it right! Thanks so much for coming by, my friend!

  • Pingback: Your Vote Is Worth Less Than Your Prayer | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson()

  • I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the phrase “sin triggers.” Or maybe I have but it didn’t register. ANYWAY, I’m thinking a lot about that now that I’ve read your words here! And a big YES to replacing discontent with gratitude – that is something that makes a WORLD of difference in my marriage!

    • I’m not sure anyone has put it that way either, Mary. I simply am pointing out where temptations to sin get their roots. I’m not even sure it’s the best way to put it, but I do believe there’s something helpful about understanding why we lean towards some temptations and not towards others. Helps us to guard those parts of our hearts a bit better.

      I’m glad you’ve found this to be thought-provoking and I wholeheartedly agree about the power of gratitude to improve our attitudes in marriage. Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Always a treat to have you join the conversation.

  • Pat And Candy

    Gratitude is so very key in many aspects of life! We write about it often on our site… “Stay the course” is a much-needed reminder for me. Awhile back I was reading the book “Boundaries in Marriage” (in my never-ending efforts to be healthier in all my relationships…) and discovered first-hand just how much push-back one might get when trying to implement positive personal change… Just sayin’
    And congratulations on your upcoming blogiversary!! Looking forward to celebrating with you!!!
    ~Pat

    • I absolutely love “Boundaries in Marriage.” It’s one of my all-time favorite marriage books, Pat. Of course, I love many of Cloud and Townsend’s books. They just might be my favorite authors. And yes, there’s that unexpected resistance we encounter with positive changes. We think, “Hey! I’m doing something positive for a change and you don’t like it? What’s up with that?!” ha! But change is hard for any of us to swallow. Thanks so much for the well-wishes regarding my blogiversary, my friend! I’m excited to kind of throw a party next week! Only problem … how do I serve “cake” to everyone via the Internet! ha!

      • Pat And Candy

        You’re funny!
        But if you DO figure it out…chocolate is my very favorite 😉

  • Envy isn’t really my thing, but I am certainly vulnerable to “sin triggers”, which seem to be able to bulldoze over everything. I am learning to be like a bullfighter with them.

    In your questionnaire I scored a lot on the “trusting God” questions. Thinking of God as a loving God and, even more, feeling it, is something I just don’t get. Since doing your questionnaire I have been pondering on that and I am working on it, and hope to be able to write something up soon.

    David

  • A great take for the weekend. 🙂

  • My husband and I were discussing an are of bondage in our marriage recently and we are working on letting it go and receive healing for it. It is a good thing to be able to discuss these things and give them over to God. We are on the same team, on the same side. We fight for each other. Good things to think about here, Beth.

  • Pingback: Coffee and Conversation Link Party #63 - MomConference 2015 -()