A friend recently purchased a home and enjoyed hosting a party in her new space. As she showed me around the house, I admired the details that made her dwelling unique. I felt glad that my friend settled well in a beautiful setting… until I saw the empty room. One room sat completely unoccupied of any furniture, boxes, or debris—just a room with neatly vacuumed carpet.

“Oh, we’ll find something to put in here at some point. This might become my craft room or sewing corner,” my friend explained.

An ugly feeling began to grow in the pit of my stomach. Instead of feeling happy for my friend, I began to feel sad for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house. It’s cozy and full of character. It’s also an older house with drafty windows and tiny closets. The list of projects my husband and I have planned for our house extends well past what we have energy, time, or money to accomplish. We’re currently stuck on finishing the basement. Piles of insulation, flooring, and drywall fill the garage and cover the basement walls. Meanwhile, detritus of our lives clutters a bedroom, waiting for the day when the basement will have space.

I would love to have an empty room.

The ugly feeling flourished and bred as we passed his and her sinks and a closet with its own closet. I managed to hide my ugly thoughts for the most part until we returned to the kitchen. The hostess scuttled off to attend to her guests while another friend and I paused.

“I do like this kitchen,” she remarked glancing at the beautifully dark-stained cabinets contrasting aesthetically with an attractive backsplash. “If I could change one thing about my kitchen, it would be a walk-in pantry. We looked at a house with a walk-in pantry. I mean, my kitchen is so big, but you wouldn’t believe how it fills up. All those drawers take up space.”

I excused myself before my ugly feeling could vomit all over her shoes. I have been to her house before. Her house easily cost three times what my little house cost, maybe more.

Jealousy helps no one. It drives a wedge between friends. It eats away at love and goodwill. Proverbs 27:4 says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”

Later, when I had time to reflect, I felt embarrassed at my reaction. Who am I to begrudge a friend her frustrations? Luckily, jealousy has a remedy. Gratitude overwhelms jealousy. It doesn’t depend on what we have, but rather on our perspective. I am thankful to have a warm place to curl up on these cold winter days, even if my windows are a bit drafty. I’m grateful to have a place to eat and food for my family, even if I don’t have a spacious kitchen with a walk-in pantry.

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15