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A Good Sort of Envy


Anyone would tell you that a life consumed with envy and jealousy will eventually destroy you. Envy has a way of taking the insignificant and making it way more important than it should be. Jealousy creeps into our lives quietly as we look at neighbors all around us.

How do they afford that car?

Why would they spend their money on that?

But there is an envy that leads us to a better place. If we can just turn the dial up in the self-awareness areas, then these moments of passing envy can be the catalysts that change us.

“I wish I was as creative as they are.” -I love this one. If we really desired to be as creative as someone else, we’d ask them how they do it and we would spend time researching their methods and habits, and learn from their creativity. As far as I’m concerned, I’d like more creative people around me…it makes me look smarter.

“I wish I was as smart as they are.” -Again, smart is arbitrary. Is it intelligence, or is it emotional intelligence? Either way, we have been learning from the smartest for 100’s of years. Want to know how to get better financially? Listen to people that are smart with their money. Finding a truly smart person is becoming rarer and rarer in this world, so stop with they envy and instead look to learn from the bright ones.

“I wish I was as good a Mother or Father as they are.” -I can promise you that the best parents out there don’t think they are. We are all in a battle against our own selfishness, and there is nothing that will tear down your self like a few kids in the house. If there are parents you admire, then look and listen and learn. It’s changed my life simply by being brave enough to ask great parents how they do it. Be on a lookout for terrific grandparents as well, they are a wealth of knowledge.

All of that to say this: So much of our envy and jealousy is there because we wish we were something that we aren’t currently. Use those humanly built-in cues about the great traits in others as motivators to make ourselves all that we can be!


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.