The advent of the Blackberry phone brought about one of the most shocking revelations about me.
Over a decade ago, the wave of the Blackberry frenzy finally hit Nigeria. Almost every young person I knew at the time had one desire – to own a BlackBerry phone. I was not any different. I wanted it with everything in my heart. I fantasized about owning it for a very long time. However, when no fairy godmother would bestow me with one, I got a job for three months during a holiday break. I used the savings plus taxes from one of my older sibling’s suitors to buy a brand new white Blackberry. Finally, my dream had come true – or so I thought.
I brandished my new device around; eager to show it to my friends, who would hail me and pray to have one. I was one of the first few people in my class to have one – so it was a sort of status symbol. I would talk loudly about exchanging pins and laugh loudly about jokes shared on the BlackBerry messenger with only those who had it. But then, things gradually began to change, other folks were able to buy UK-used BlackBerries at cheaper prices, and the initial exclusivity began to wane. It was disappointing, but I was willing to accept it if it meant having more BBM friends. My BlackBerry was the first thing I would check in the morning. I craved to see the notification light, checking pictures on statuses, indulging gossips, spreading them.
There was so much to see on people’s statuses. I found it hard to understand how certain people were able to afford to buy certain things they had or showed. How were people able to travel to exotic places? How come everyone else seemed to have a happier life than myself? Was there something I was missing? How could I have at least a better life than others? I concluded that if I could just have life experiences slightly “above” others, my happiness would be sure.
And so, I fell into the rabbit hole of comparing myself with others. I always wanted to appear happier, more successful, more fulfilled, more, more, and more. I became deeply saddened at the slightest good news from others. I genuinely do not recall being happy at any news even though I had mastered the art of feigning it. I would express joy when others shared their good experiences, but my growing envy would become the fuel for my life pursuits. Oh, what a miserable time it was.
2 Corinthians 10:12: “Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!”
Finally, I got the revelation about myself – I was a very envious person.
I do not quite recall exactly how it happened, but I believe I went for a certain religious meeting, and it was there I was convicted of the rot in my heart. Since getting the BlackBerry, I had made it an idol, and it had aided the work of the flesh in me by propagating envy towards others. The only thing I knew how to do well was to compare myself with others and try to outdo them. The unfortunate part as I reminisce is that I probably had way more than those I was envious of, yet I did not believe that because I was lost in my envy and need for comparison with others – how ignorant of me.
After the night of my conviction, I stopped using my beloved BlackBerry and gave it to someone who needed a phone. I hope it was a blessing to the person though. Since that years’ experience, I became very watchful and sort to guard my heart against influences that could poison it – especially through social media.
Proverbs 4:23: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
I deeply sense that in the wake of so much news going on about reports of deep unhappiness, suicides, and depression, the spirit of envy and needless comparison is at the root of this. If we will just mind our businesses, stop trolling the statuses and pages of other people, and rather focus more on developing our relationship with God, our spirits might find the joy we need.
Make a move today, delete the apps that leave you un-edified after being on them.
A green-eyed generation is being raised and you don’t have to be a part of it.