Anxiety Posted September 2, 2018

Of all the deadly sins, I had to pick the one that I can't have any fun with.

Envy has been my Achilles' heel for as long as I can remember. I often catch myself passing by people while thinking thoughts like, "This person must feel secure about their life..." or “I bet that person could use their social skills collectively like a weapon..." This is stemmed from growing up with the belief that I can't get even the simplest stuff right. I struggled through much of grade school, and I had a few teachers question whether I could really make it in this world. My father feared that I would never amount to much, and he had taken me to a doctor on more than one occasion to see if there was something legitimately wrong with me. My mother offered some insight about her background and family history in recent years, though I'm not sure how much of it is actually true. I was never exactly encouraged to have children.

As I grew older, I became desperate to accomplish something on a more grandiose scale, if only to redeem myself on every other thing I messed up on. It's a mentality that I carried well into my adulthood, and it sort of worked. I graduated from college, got married to an amazing woman who continues to bomb me with love, and am living comfortably in a house out in the country. I have had my share of amazing moments talking people out of suicide and leading churches through mission trips. I also receive compliments on a regular basis from running audiovisual and publishing the newsletter at my church.

But I never really figured out who I am or what my purpose really is. I thought it didn't matter as long as I kept signing up for a frightening number of opportunities to serve the Lord. It shouldn't be surprising then when I say that I still have my moments of cratering back down to Earth. It's happened so many times, I've nearly become numb to it. In a cruel twist of irony, my quest to not be envious made me become even more so. I routinely struggle to not feel like a robot in the presence of believers who consistently have an overwhelming level of joy about them.

My biggest problem was falling for the same lie that Satan has convinced this world by-and-large with: "You are what you do, you are what you own, and you are what others think you are." Jesus was tempted with the exact same thing earlier in the Gospels, when He was largely unproven, unknown, and didn't have a thing. His identity, however, was already established because He was approved of and deeply loved by the Father.

We are told to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:36-40), so how could we value someone's personality, thoughts, feelings, dreams, and desires if we neglect our own? How could we even love Jesus? Any soul who is on the fence about coming to saving faith will want some kind of proof, that there is more to God's plan than dying and remaining stuck. These people need a story, one that requires the believer to revisit their past and be broken from the generations of sins, struggles, and shame. It's a painful process that requires the believer to be courageous and perseverant.

I believe healing can come from church communities. They are also excellent places to try new things out and bring better influences into your life, so you can be molded into the person God intended you to be. Life groups are also a great way to remind ourselves of who we are now in Christ and what it means to be a child of God. No matter how much you want to change the world and add to the kingdom of God, spiritual maturity is stemmed from emotional maturity, and that within itself is stemmed from what we base our identity on.

Knowing that much makes all the difference.