Year of Youth 2018

The Deadly Sin That Got Me Shook

Last edited 21st June 2018

The Deadly Sin That Got Me Shook

If there's one sin that follows me around like a dead smell, it's envy! Like most Millennials, I spend a lot of time scrolling endlessly on YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. On Instagram, I love filtering, staging and thinking about the composition of my photos. I find it fascinating that anything or anyone can be made beautiful when you edit, edit, edit! Now that’s where the innocence vacations, because unlike most decent Millennials, I used Instagram to wallow in a pit of self-loathing and silent competition with people I hardly knew.

In the privacy of my own home, behind closed doors, in front of my screen, underneath the thumb that would scroll up, I could be free to think how I wanted to, without even my thoughts judging me! How can my thoughts judge? It takes a matter of half a second to scroll past a picture. I would let my guard down and indulge in a little filtered upload, with a dash of self-importance, and a dollop of comparison and self-loathing. Here in these milliseconds, I would allow myself to feel jealous and envious over a perfect contour, a beautiful body, motivation to pursue a dream, a wonderful and adoring husband, an immaculate home, a successful career. I would be mindful indulge in only that half a second of comparison and self-loathing because as a good Catholic, I don’t want it to penetrate my being. After the ritual scroll, I would go about my life unaffected.

The problem is over time, those quick half seconds turn into hours and before I knew it, I would look around at everything and worse, everyone, who is less than an ‘X-Pro II’ Filter in my life. I would do more than self-loathe. I would complain and want to go on a trip to Freedom, Ikea, or some hip op-shop, go out to eat, take a photo of my food and worst of all, boast about something my husband did half arsed, so that it looked like we were living a perfect life. Envy had well and truly penetrated my being, relationships and home.

Had it not been for the faith that I grew to love and nurture, I would find myself in another place – not in a confessional! The way this jealousy, envy, hatred for other people’s success in life made me was in no uncertain terms, deadly. It surfaced the ugliest part of my beautiful being and although it was an embarrassing confession and I had to do it a few times over a few months (‘cos I conveniently sugar coat the ugliness to the priest who happens to be my friend), in the end it was a beautiful reconciliation with my Lord and a worthwhile penance! In another life, this situation could be different. Grace teaches me that my greatest sins can become my greatest life lessons.

Here’s what I learnt after I allowed myself to be real.

1. Gratitude: This great article from Harvard Medical School, 2011 researches the power of positive psychology and how, having a grateful state of mind can help individuals connect to a source greater than themselves, namely God and ultimately become more optimistic, positive and hopeful in life.

2. Detox your social media: Sometimes we don't realise how much toxicity we have absorbed and in turn distribute it to others. To relieve some mental space and to make room for gratitude, try deleting an app on your phone that makes you feel unworthy or envious. If you can’t bear to do that, unfollow toxic and follow truth, clean out your feed and make it so you only see things that are good and true.

3. Set a time for conversation: Go through your typical daily routine and try to block out 10 minutes of your day for conversation with God. Set a timer to stop and pray or practice gratitude. I like to meditate on the Rosary and name a situation or person I am grateful for that day.

4. Receive the Grace: Finally and most importantly. I love what Fr Mike from Ascension Presents says here about Grace. It is the most beautiful imagery and prayer. If you don’t have time to listen to it yet, I will paraphrase it for you - but make sure you listen! He says to be freed from the bondage of envy - place yourself upon the gaze of the Father, receive your identity from the gaze of the Father, be reminded of your goodness through the gaze of the Father. Find your worth beneath the gaze of the Father. How can you be ugly in sin when someone looks at you like He looks at you?

5. Be empowering: Finally. As a woman, I myself, feel easily hurt by judgements made on my character or my life by another woman. Partly because I feel that we should be united in empowerment not in competition and partly because I know in my experience that it comes from a toxic place of envy. Be careful in how you engage in social media. If you feel envious or jealous, check yourself with some prayer and if you engage in conversation online remember to empower and inspire your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t be like me and scroll past cursing like Satan ????;)

St Therese, Pray for us!

“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.”

St Augustine, Pray for us!

“This is the very perfection of man, to find out his own imperfections.”

Jacinta is a devoted wife and young mother of four children, who works as a parish secretary by day and blogs/studies at night. Her weaknesses are the cold, sleeping in, How I Met Your Mother and 7-eleven coffee. She also blogs at 'A Catholic Minimalist' -

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