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.
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.
The enemy would love to dissolve big moments in our lives by sucking us into comparison. We don’t have to let him!
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?