Each of our life stories are different, but mutually orchestrated by God.
Our lives are uniquely gifted, each holding their own beauty, but we’re still working together. Yet, even in the midst of beauty, stifled confidence, jealousy and pride walk in. Often times, they walk in naturally.
The Bible asks, “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” –Proverbs 27:4
This is something many women, despite jealousy’s ugliness, have undergone, whether ’s from someone else’s success, talents, experiences or even beauty. Unfortunately, jealousy is not going anywhere until we learn to accept that others’ lives were not meant to be lived by us, but encouraged by us.
I understand these artists were not women, but take Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci for instance. They felt “an intense dislike for each other,” according to their biographer Vasari. Supposedly, Michelangelo rudely and superiorly refused to help Da Vinci understand a passage in Dante, leaving a stunned and flushed Leonardo behind.
I found myself wondering how Michelangelo could have ever be jealous when he already had such talent. Then it dawned on me. Gifts are precious in the eyes of God when they are used for his glory. However, jealousy will walk in when our lives are living in the flesh and not by the spirit of Christ. Does that mean that God will stop using us because of our flaws at times? Certainly not.
The Sistine Chapel still exists today; pieces of God’s story still render awe.
In the end, that is what matters. Despite our crippled confidence, jealousy, and pride, God is still willing to use us for his greater story. We need to accept that we are works in progress. We need to be at peace with who we are and what we have, just as Proverbs 14:30 states, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Yet, never ceasing to grow in Christ.
There’s nothing wrong with our confidence crippling at times, we are not perfect women, but certain characteristics—inferiority, comparison, jealousy, and pride—can take root in places of our hearts that it shouldn’t. Jealousy makes us act out negatively, especially to others who don’t deserve it. It settles into our worth, it dusts its way into our poise, and it layers itself over our joy.
We should stamp this daily on our souls, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, and jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord,” (Song of Solomon 8:6).
Let’s love each other equally, dismiss envy and jealousy, and be joyous for one another as women—uniquely created—for the splendor of our Lord Jesus. Let’s be genuinely happy for our sisters in Christ, without subliminal jealousy. Let’s bite our tongues when they steer to belittle. Let’s raise each other with up with “gracious words [that] are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones,” (Prov. 16:24).
Once we accept the truth that God is for us, despite the belittlements of the world, all of our beings will melt away and we will become whole again. It’s those moments we feel God’s breath; when God whispers to our souls, the world around us quits yelling, staring, and judging—we feel strong again.
God created in us a certain beauty that no person can steal away.
Will we go through seasons of despair? Yes, God tells us we will. But, through whatever passionate persistence we have, we will become the women of God we were designed to be. We can’t do it alone though; it takes that sweet encouragement from one another as God’s Word tells us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
And so, through God’s Word, we will be as bold as Esther and as beloved as Rachel and as blessed as Ruth.