Speak Eagle

“Let it Go”- Jealousy in Friendship

“Ben is trying to steal Jackson from me!” My son was distraught. The friend he thought was his “best friend” was spending a lot of time with another friend. “I know. It’s hard when it looks that way,” I said. Then I asked, “So what’s the scariest thing about that for you?” Big tears welled up in his eyes. “That Jackson won’t want to be my friend anymore.”

Watching a close friend spend time with another friend or even hearing about it isn’t easy for kids.

But it’s not just kids that have a hard time with it. We adults do, too.

Is it just plain jealousy? Or is it something deeper? And what does it take to let it go? (please resist the urge to sing “Let it Go”)

I once heard someone say that jealousy is looking at something good and calling it bad. Friendship is good, but in our jealousy we look at a friendship between a bestie and their other pal and call it bad.

But my son revealed a deep fear behind this type of jealousy- that of being rejected. We’ve all experienced it before, whether it was the sinking feeling of not getting picked for the team, or the school play, or feeling the red hot creep up your neck as you heard the “I think we should just be friends” speech from your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Or maybe it’s even deeper than that. Maybe it’s tied to trauma, or abuse, or divorce. When someone you trusted betrayed you.  Indeed, a sense of rejection pervades our most emotionally devastating experiences.

So when we hear that a close friend we trust implicitly is spending time with someone else, it’s a trigger. And when we react, we often are reacting with all the weight of past experiences in which we were rejected.

Out of this insecurity we might try to control our friend with manipulative talk that demeans their new friend. I heard it when my son’s face grew dark. ““I’m just gonna tell Jackson that Ben is a jerk.”

And I’ve heard adults do it, too. Like the quip, “Bless her heart, that girl needs some help with her hair,” which we hope will make make the other person and her bad hair seem an unattractive option for a friendship.

Or maybe we try the guilt trip. “Wow- it seems like you’re spending a lot of time together lately. So when are we going to hang out?”

But what would it take to hold our friends in an open palm? To still pursue our friendship with them and at the same time express freedom? To actually encourage our friends in their other friendships? To say, “She sounds really cool. Tell me more about her business.” Or “He seems like a great guy.  I’m glad you met him.”

What would it take?

I’ll tell you what that takes. It takes something big.

Big faith.

Faith that God is in control. Faith that God will provide for our needs. Faith that we are wrapped in God’s arms and He will take care of us. That’s true security. And only within that security are we able to experience true, unconditional love and freedom in our friendships.

So when it comes to jealousy in friendship, by faith, let it go.

Okay, now you can sing.

2 thoughts on ““Let it Go”- Jealousy in Friendship”

  1. Great post, Heidi. I find it a key practice to regularly ask yourself, ‘Is God enough’? I think it’s hard for many to find the balance between trusting God completely and not growing cynical by means of independent thinking. To protect us from rejection, it’s easy for many people to embrace a safeguard mentalitywith the notion relationships come and go and aren’t as necessary as we think…when in fact, we were made from community for community. Our natural design is conducive to the freedom you talk about here. God will provide the right people at the right time…and some may fall away. That’s part of life. The key is loving people to the max in every season without reservation and not expecting anything in return. Only God can fill our voids in a satiating way.

    P.S. When the kids come, I don’t plan on adding ‘Frozen’ to our family DVD collection 😉

    1. Good thoughts, Cameron. “Loving people to the max without expecting anything in return,” now that is hard to do! I agree, it’s all about trusting God to be enough. Thanks!

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