Have you ever felt a twinge of jealousy when your husband comes home from a campus event and shares an encouraging note from a student thanking him for his help? Have you ever been at an event where students publicly rave about your husband and you are not noticed? Sometimes we can compare ourselves with our husband and come up feeling “short” on the fruitfulness measure! We know it is “not wise” to compare but our human flesh goes there anyway! “They measure themselves by themselves. They compare themselves with themselves. When they do that, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
When Tom and I were on our first assignment I found that I could quickly feel ‘lesser than’ when it came to involvement on campus or being used by God. I remember being in a room of students with Tom and no one looked to me, asked me questions or considered my thoughts (…even though everything Tom stated in his comments I would have also said). There is a certain misery that came over me.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Who determines fruitfulness really?” Or, “What makes me think I know who is fruitful and who is not?” The trouble with comparison, especially regarding fruitfulness, is that we can also be guilty of a kind of pride when we compare ourselves with others and “win out” over others. The truth of the matter is that comparison of any kind just leads to messy, proud hearts and relationships.
“Why did that note send me into a dither?” At the core of our comparison can be resentment towards our capacity during a certain season, our gifting in general, or just the general sense that an our spouse is being used of God when we do not see or feel the fruit from our daily efforts. We might even feel angry that they are fruitful when we do not feel fruitful. On the other hand our jealousy may reveal a longing to be used and fruitful beyond what we are presently seeing.
A big downside of jealousy towards our husbands is that we can find ourselves bound up in our ability to be their cheerleader, support them or serve alongside them. Jealousy can cause division in our spirit of oneness. What a joy to the evil one this is!
When this kind of jealousy has happened to me here is the process I ended up going through:
- Recognize the urge to compare or the presence of destructive jealousy in my heart.
- Repent of the pride that says I am the evaluator of anyone’s fruitfulness.
- Run to Jesus and let Him speak to my heart and life to see what is really going on in my spirit.
- Rejoice and share in any fruitfulness that comes to the fore through my husband or anyone else for that matter! And, if Jesus leads me to do so, make changes.
If we take time to go deep when we experience jealousy or go down the comparison road, the Holy Spirit can reveal some pretty scary but amazing things to our hearts and spirit. Comparison that leads to jealousy, especially with our husband, is destructive and selfish. Taking time to sit with the Lord and his Word, reviewing our gifts, our present commitment to the Lord and hearing what He wants to say to us is vital. With this we must bring a willingness to write or share everything going on in our heart and mind with Him and even debate with God over what is happening within our spirit. It might mean a revelation of core lies or lack of faith and lead us to a sincere time of confession which leads to renewed faith and hope. Or, it might mean we are doing everything God has asked us to do and in the whole scheme of fruitfulness even though it is our husband who gets the affirmation or credit (ie: notes, public praise, etc.) the lesson we learn is to rejoice with him.
As we confront this kind of envy toward our husband God might use him to touch us in our own contribution for the future. Seeing the fruit of much diligence, prayer and relational fervor on the part of our husband as he responds to God and relates to many students and those he meets with one on one can be a motivator. God can use this scenario in our heart not only to purify our motives but lead us to new involvement as we trust God for our future contribution. May He bless us as we search our hearts before Him in moments of comparison, and free us up from jealousy or pride to serve Him with JOY!
Grandma “D” and Tom have been on staff with the Navs for over 30 years and married 43 years. They are blessed with three married children and seven grandchildren. Her most recent challenge in faith is walking with her son, Stephen’s family as their three year old daughter, Miriam, battles cancer. Knowing the depth of Christ’s love, His power and presence is sustaining them during this unpredictable time.