Jealousy Almost Got the Best of Me {How I’m Escaping the Tailspin}

{image: Orlando Ruso / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: Orlando Ruso / 123RF Stock Photo}

My last post began with good intentions: to support another first-time author with a powerful message. Good plan, right?

Until I found out Ann Voskamp was featuring a post about this same author and her book. . . on the same day.

Which initiated thoughts that went roughly like this:

It’s OK. People will still read here.

No, really. It will be OK. Ann and I will approach it differently and that’s good. The world needs all our voices.

Oh, who am I kidding? The world may need all our voices, but it needs her voice more. Who would read the same topic on my blog when they could read a New York Times Bestselling, world-famous uber-author like Ann Voskamp?

I’m never writing again.

Using my best self-coaching (and remembering what I wrote in my own book!) I put those thoughts aside so I could reconnect with why I’d asked this other author to guest blog in the first place. I proceeded to Amazon.com to grab some great quotes about her book from the reviews.

And then came the tailspin.

Right there with the reviews were not one, but many Amazon best-seller rankings. . . in multiple categories.

Which ignited thoughts roughly along these lines:

How did this other first-time author get on THREE best-seller lists?

Obviously the clients I gave up and the hundreds of hours of writing last year didn’t matter.

I’m never writing again.

Been there?

Just in case you find yourself ambushed by a comparison-induced jealousy tailspin, may I share what is helping me pull free?

Ways to Escape A Jealous Tailspin

Stop looking at the scary shadow. Did you ever fear nighttime shadows as a kid? I know I did. I still shiver thinking of the shadows cast by twisted trees outside that I was sure would grab me in my sleep. The reviews and accolades this other author received? Shadows, friends. Images cast on the world when the light of God shone on this precious writers’s gifts. Shadows our enemy inflates to intimidate others from exercising their gifts too. But there’s this thing about shadows: THEY AREN’T REAL.

Look at the object of our jealousy. This other first-time author? She’s a person, just like me. She didn’t ask for the hoopla. She simply sat at her computer and wrote one word at a time. I’m sure she gets up and washes dishes, and picks up dry-cleaning and has arguments with her husband like the rest of us. And you know what? That image made by God’s light shining on her obedient writing? I bet it scares her just like it intimidates me. It’s always scary to step into the new, to be bold, to risk.

Suddenly, I want to call her instead of be jealous. I want to pray for her, ask how I can help. . . tell her she can do it and I’m cheering for her. And just like that, jealousy turns to empathy.

See the Big Things in our own lives. Jealousy is one way the enemy distracts us from light God wants to shine on our own lives. Just one day before I had this whole blog situation, I’d taken a risk to ask someone I admire to write the foreward for my next book, which releases in November. I introduced myself, and asked Joni Eareckson Tada if she’d write the opening words in a book written to release parents raising special needs kids from the stress and resentment that would kill us if we let it.

She. Said. Yes.

YES!

The enemy would love to dissolve big moments in our lives by sucking us into comparison. We don’t have to let him!
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Sadly, I did let him suck me in for a few moments. But then I remembered the hoopla shadow is as empty as the ones I feared as a kid. That the person in the midst of it all is a woman who needs friends and supporters to hold her up in the whirlwind that comes with being known by the world. And that God’s given me some beautiful gifts too—through my first book and this new supporter as I press on with the second. Holding on to those truths anchors me when jealousy stirs.

What about you? What shadows have sparked jealousy for you lately? How are you handling it?

-Laurie

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Comments

  1. says

    I actually DID read your post on “Love Idol” and put it on my ” wish list.” I won’t be able to start it until I’m done processing one of the most monumental books I’ve read in several years–yours.

    As a reader of Jennifer’s blog, and also yours, I’m aware that you each have unique voice which are much needed in this world.

    I don’t have an answer as to how I’m handling my shadows. You might recall a short video I shared with you recently? It was inspired by you. I thought it was a fresh beginning but it appears I’ve got some things to work thru yet. I’m not even sure what they are but this I do know.

    The devil is a liar and a thief.

    He TRIED to steak something from you but in the end you didn’t let him.

    I’m proud to know you and thankful for your ability to pull the mask off enough for me to learn. I’ve got some things to thinks about again, thanks to you.

    • says

      How is it that every time you comment here, I end up with tears in my eyes? Thank you, Melinda. For the reminder about the lying thief who never gives up trying to wreck God’s gifts for us. Praying you’ll be free of his grip and fully in God’s as you press into that fresh beginning, however it unfolds, And I hope you’ll share it with me as it does! So glad to call you friend, and to be able to peek out from behind masks and dig into the good stuff together.

  2. says

    Kind of funny in a twisted sort of way, Laurie. I’ve been teetering on jealousy of those who have 1000-plus followers and a book published (like you) and you’ve been having the same feelings about those authors who are even more successful. 🙂 Do we ever get past such self-seeking? This is a great post for all of us.

    Congratulations on the forward by Joni! Love her and her ministry. I’ve been tossing around an idea for a book about raising a child with special needs too. Sometimes I wonder though if it’s all been done before, if there’s anything new I can add. I’m sure you know the feeling. Likely all writers do.

    Blessings, my friend.

    • says

      No, I think we never do. Someone I’ve long envied wrote today to tell me how she’s gotten past envying me, and we laughed and laughed about it. I guess the beginning is to tell each other how much we admire one another. Now that you’ve said this, I feel like there’s a new space for relationship. May God use all our honesty to build allies in place of envies!

  3. Dawn Michelle King says

    Such a great post, Laurie!! And so helpful today when I feel like a failure next to others.

  4. says

    A great topic, Laurie. Really appreciate your honesty. Jealousy and approval are both things I’ve had to battle and most of the time the only way I know to do is to take a step back because somewhere along the way I’ve veered off the path. I need to remind myself of who is in control, who holds the plan, and who I live to please.. It’s only then the shackles break and fall. Some days, I get this right…other days it’s not very pretty.

    • says

      So true, Eileen, we need to step back and do the work on our inward needs when we get to focusing on what’s outside us. I was up part of the night after I wrote this post, finally able in the kids-sleeping silence to verbalize what was really going on: I am disappointed. I felt like God inspired something big in me. People who walked alongside me as I wrote my book shared that same sense from the Lord. I looked up at Him last night and said, “did you forget, God? Did you forget what you showed me?” This morning, know what verse He left as a love note on my Daily Bible app? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.” The NOW part hit me hard. NOW, Laurie, is where your faith begins. In the not yet seen moments of life, the hoping moments. It filled my heart with so much joy I laughed out loud! God is so tender with us in our weakness, no?

  5. Nicco says

    Laurie, you possess the one quality everyone looks for in someone to respect: that awesome ability to look truth in the eye and address it. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met in more than 30 years in ministry who would rather avoid the hard stuff or softpedal it just to maintain their comfort level. We just must respect you for your continual openness and commitment to God and His truth. Thank you for the example you are. You’re on God’s best list and that’s the one that counts.

    • says

      God’s best list. That brings tears to eyes and a grin to this girl’s face. Reminds me of The Shack, and when Father God says, “I’m especially fond of you.” Thank you for that.

  6. cathyhorning says

    Laurie, you’re one amazing women! Yesterday, a friend visiting my house for the first time asked about the “marriage building blocks” covering my kitchen table. I use these blocks when I speak on marriage. When I described to her the odd shaped blocks, the ones I use to describe things that can erode the foundation of our marriage, she suggested there was one more block that I needed to add. Then she described the jealousy she and others are battling as they see and read about the things other women are doing on social media. I think we are all susceptible to it. Me too. One thing that is helpful for me is to be thankful for who I am and the blessings I have. Plus, to know whose I am and what I am uniquely called and gifted to do. Thank you for discussing hard topics! Love you!

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