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This is one of my favorite paintings ever and right there, all over Facebook, were friends, classmates, and teachers alike taking in that masterpiece in person. And I wasn't there with them.
I was jealous. Not really jealous, but just enough to feel sad about my life for three seconds.
And friends, three seconds of envy can be DANGEROUS--to you, to your heart, to your thoughts, to your soul, to your relationship with God--ALL of it can be poisoned with just three seconds of envy.
That's when I decided to take about 60 seconds to reflect.
While it is awesome that my friends saw a beautiful painting in person, does that make any part of my life worse?
No, it doesn't.
That's when I decided that even though my life often feels pretty mundane, it's actually really beautiful.
Even on my worst days, I go outside and see purple mountains and really green grass--painted and sculpted by the Lord of All Creation Himself! I think that tops Raphael any day of the week.
If you ever find yourself in those poisonous 3 seconds of envy, STOP and take 60 seconds to be grateful for all of the days that God has made your life amazing in ways both big and small. (Here's a hint: there are billions of ways, whether you see them or not.)
After those 60 seconds of gratitude are up, remember that person you envied before. Remember that no life dedicated to God is better or worse than another life that is also dedicated to God. You are no better than anyone else, and no one else is better than you. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we all blend into one perfect, holy person--that's Jesus.
The next time that you find yourself in those 3 seconds of envy, challenge yourself! Turn it into 3 seconds of rejoicing in that person's happiness. This is very hard to do, but don't forget that with God, all things are possible. You'll find that you will become just as happy as the other person and then all of a sudden, no one is happier than the other.
At that point, when everyone is grateful and rejoicing in others' happiness, what do we have left to envy?