by Harry Kraus
There is a green monster who hides in the closet of every author. I know. I’ve met him. Sometimes he comes out and helps himself to my refrigerator, feeding off the nutrition I choose to feed him. Sometimes he barges his way into the den of my life where I am supposed to be celebrating with friends.
His name? “Envy.”
I’d bet that some of you have met him too. You know him as the unwelcome guest who whispers about all of the attention other less worthy authors are getting. She’s so new on the scene. I’ve been at this for so much longer than _____!
Every author needs to be ready to do battle with Envy. Every one of us. From the newbie, pre-published author to the multi-published, best-selling novelist. We are all made of the same stuff and it’s not really pretty.
I can be critical. Petty. Plastic.
But I can also learn to rejoice in your success, not with an implant smile, but with genuine joy.
Fortunately, we have a powerful weapon: the Gospel of GRACE.
Grace is unmerited favor, a divine characteristic whereby God freely loves, forgives, favors, and exalts undeserving sinners into sonship (and allows us to walk free of envy as a part of the benefits package!).
I’m convinced that walking in a fullness of grace (which rejoices in other authors’ successes) is a result of realizing two things: One, I don’t deserve my next breath. Two, everything I have (including writing talent) is from God (and undeserved, but you’re getting that point, huh?).
Paul says it this way in I Corinthians 15: “I am what I am by the grace of God…” If I find myself tempted by envy, I need to go back to the gospel of grace and realize that the ability to write one coherent sentence is an undeserved gift. What God does with my writing is up to him, not me. The Bible admonishes us in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” A few verses later, he helps us with perspective. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
That’s the cure for envy. Get your eyes off of yourself and your fellow authors and onto the source of every ounce of creativity in the universe: our wonderful and grace-filled God.
Stop feeding the green monster by comparing your sales with every one else’s. Stop reading reviews. You’re only giving the green monster energy. Starve him by getting your eyes back on Christ and the wonder that He is.
If you find yourself in envy, cry out to God and acknowledge your condition. Then go to the Bible and remind yourself of the grace of God. Spend time in His presence until the green monster is locked away again.
Board-certified surgeon and missionary, Harry Kraus, is the best-selling author of 15 novels and three works of non-fiction, including Breathing Grace: What You Need More Than Your Next Breath and Domesticated Jesus. His latest novel, Lip Reading, was released this month.