To the Overlooked and Underappreciated

You don’t want to be jealous, but you are. You feel overlooked and underappreciated.

  • Someone else made the cut for the track team.
  • Your coworker got that promotion at Chipotle.
  • Your best friend just became class president.

You know these are good things, but still you feel overlooked and underappreciated. I can relate.

A Front-Row Seat

I felt overlooked and underappreciated recently. I was given a behind-the-scenes job that gave me a front-row seat to others being being called up on stage to share their wisdom with others. Inside, instead of celebrating their opportunity, I felt like someone was cruelly twisting a knife in my stomach.

“I can do a great job, too,” I muttered to myself. “I have just as much to offer.”

A couple days later, while sitting on a pew on a Sunday morning, I heard the pastor briefly allude to James 3:13–18. Verses 14 and 15 nailed me to the wall:

If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts . . . this is . . . demonic.

My Jealousy Is . . . Demonic?

Waaaaaaiiiiiiiiitttttttt . . . demonic?!

Yep. Turns out you don’t have to dabble in the occult to serve the devil’s interests; you simply have to be filled with bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. YIKES!

In James 3:13–18, James exposes true—and counterfeit—“wisdom.” There’s:

  • The “real-deal-wisdom” that comes from God and shows itself in humility, and,
  • This counterfeit “wisdom” that comes from Satan and shows itself in bitter jealousy and selfish ambition.

If we are truly wise—if we really do have lots to offer others—we will prove it through our “meekness,” our humility (v. 13). But if, instead, we are filled with bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, we prove that we are not nearly as wise as we think we are (vv. 14–15).

We want to walk the path of wisdom, right? We don’t want to dabble with the deeds of darkness, do we? So what can we do the next time we’re feeling overlooked and underappreciated?

The Next Time We Feel Overlooked

Remember Jesus.

He—the Creator and King—willingly made Himself nothing and took on the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7). He—“very God of very God”—was despised and rejected by humanity (Isa. 53:3). He was made perfect through suffering (Heb. 2:10). This, by the way, doesn’t mean He had to be perfected morally; it means His suffering made Him the perfect Savior for broken humanity.

As we remember Jesus, let’s cry out to Him for help to embrace His way of meekness.

As we remember Jesus, let’s cry out to Him for help to embrace His way of meekness. Repent with me of our bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. These are demonic; they bear no resemblance to our older Brother, Jesus. Instead, let’s embrace “the wisdom from above,” that’s “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). When we do, we will sow “a harvest of righteousness” (v. 18)

How about you? Is your life marked by humility . . . or selfish ambition? Are you pursuing the way of wisdom . . . or the way of the demonic?

A Prayer for the Jealous in Heart

Jesus, You are my merciful, faithful High Priest. You sympathize with me in my weakness, because You too lived as a human being—but perfectly, as I have not. I want to pursue the way of wisdom, but I cannot do it on my own. Help me. As I surrender to Your Holy Spirit in me, transform me into Your beautiful, spittin’ image. I request this for Your glory, my joy, and the good of all those around me. Amen.

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys’ attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She’s married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She’s the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

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  • christi

    wow. this was a great reminder, at the perfect time! i was just going through some jealous emotions when this popped up. thank you for this great post! God bless…

    • I’m so glad, Christi. It’s something I continue to need to apply in my own life. Praying for us both now. 🙂

  • Kendra DeAun Rose Smith

    Thank you this! This is exactly when I needed this as I just went to my first play audition yesterday and all of my friends got in but me. The perfect reminder that I needed today

    • Dear Kendra,

      God’s timing and care for you are so beautiful to see. Praying for you now in the wake of this disappointment,

      paula

  • Taylor

    Hi, Paula.
    I know this post is referring to people who struggle with jealousy and who feel as though they are looked over in the things they do, but what about the people who have struggled with not feeling up to par in their lives as a result of being victims of emotional abuse? The abuser, usually the parent(s), is belittling them from the time they wake up in the morning to the time they go to sleep at night. They hear their abuser constantly criticize them and everything they do is wrong, and is there fault. It “makes the abuser sick”, and tells the child to “get out of their face” or even worse, death threats from the people who were supposed to love you most. I grew up abused and I’m out of that situation and have been since age 16, and I still struggle with the feeling. It’s absolutely dreadful and there are so many people who are living in this situation today who may read this, and these people are not weak or helpless or dumb to stay there and endure it, In fact, they are the some of the strongest people you will ever meet, and they don’t leave sometimes because they have no one to turn to, and nowhere to go. Not very many people want to come out about their abuse and tell people because it can be humiliating and/or embarrassing. A year before I left my home, I reached out to friends and the parents of friends to help, which caused a massive uproar and then my parents found out and I got in so. Much. Trouble.
    I was confronted by my friends, their parents, and my parents, and was forced by my parents to “confess” that what I had said was a lie and that I was not abused, and I had to tell everyone that my life was wonderful and how much easier I had it than other kids. After that incident, my mother became physically abusive towards me. The abuse was mostly in the home, but there were several times where she would yell at me at church, or where she would smack me or pull my hair or punch my arm in front of people. What hurts to this day is how no one ever said anything to stop her. Some would pull me aside and ask if I was okay, to which I had to reply that I was. But no one ever stopped her… They only stood by and watched, or turned their heads away.
    My question is, how does one cope with flashbacks from this? How does one overcome feeling unappreciated and overlooked in their daily lives? And how does one forgive after going through all of this?

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Dear Taylor,

      My heart breaks for the mental, emotional, and physical suffering you have known as a result of your parent’s abuse. I’m sorry you have suffered so, Taylor…and deeply saddened that no one intervened on your behalf until you were in your teens. “In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9 NLT)”

      Oh, my friend, I realize you probably know this—but would you allow me to say again…Jesus understands the depth of pain and heartache you have endured. His heart grieves at the ways you have suffered. He too was reviled—mocked, cursed, criticized and physically beaten by those He loved—those for whom He would later die.

      His last words from the cross, “Father, forgive them—for they don’t know what they are doing”, seem incomprehensible knowing all He had endured. How in the world could the Savior forgive those who had in word and deed crucified Him?

      Perhaps, at least in part, Jesus’ response flowed from knowing the eternal perspective/ condition of their hearts and minds—they were spiritually blinded by the deceptions of the evil one. They were dead in their trespasses and sins—their actions against Him were simply an overflow of the condition of their hearts…the very condition He was dying to redeem.

      Oh, friend, the journey of healing from the deep wounds of your past and working through what it means to forgive those who have so deeply wronged you will be a process—a process that Jesus will tenderly and mercifully shepherd you along. Have you considered meeting with a biblical counselor as part of your journey toward healing? You might search for one in your area here: http://www.biblicalcounseling.com/.

      We would also be happy to send a copy of Nancy’s book Choosing Forgiveness as our gift to you, Taylor. If you’d like to receive this resource you may contact me with your mailing address at info@reviveourhearts.com.

      Would you also consider listening to Nancy’s interview with Josh McDowell entitled “Undaunted” (http://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/broken-view-fatherhood/). Josh harbored deep bitterness for years as a result of the horrific abuse he endured as a child. I think Josh’s story will bring hope and help to your heart.

      Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey with us, Taylor. I have prayed these truths for you today: “I waited patiently for the LORD: He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust ( Psalm 40:1-4).”

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie

    • ChristianGirl

      Oh, Taylor! My heart breaks for you! Your story makes me want to cry for you. Friend, the Lord will bring good out of the abuse you’ve endured. He will not let it go to waste. Forgiving your parents will be a hard and long journey, at least, true forgiveness will. Just know that God has a plan for you and let the abuse happen for a reason. I’ll be praying for you, my friend!

  • ChristianGirl

    I felt overlooked last night. I go to a Christian support group for teens once every week. I got to share some of the things I wanted to share but these two girls (even though they’re nice) kept talking and they never gave me a chance to share more of what I wanted to share. I know they needed to talk to but since they kept talking about current issues and issues from the past that has affected them now, I also felt invisible and felt as if I could walk out of the room and they wouldn’t notice. I don’t think I was jealous, I just felt invisible.

    • I’m so sorry for how you are feeling! I’ve been there, too! One of the verses in the Bible that has helped in a time like this is found in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” You can read on through verse 11 in that chapter. There’s an excellent example there for us to follow.

      One thing that has worked for me when I’m in a situation like yours is to remember that God never overlooks me. He sees all that is going on in my heart and life. He will give you the grace to respond to those gals as He would have you. Praying for them helps, too. Will you take time today to pray for both of them and ask God to bring healing into their lives? I’m praying for you!