As I listened to their list of accolades and heard about their accomplishments, I felt the envy bug creep up my back.
I was attending my first writer’s conference. For a beginning writer, I was impressed with my short list of accomplishments. Two self-published books, a few published devotions, and a few published poems. But nothing that anyone paid me for. And I had a website-not long off the press, with a moderate amount of daily visitors.
My pride in my accomplishments didn’t last long. Other writers and authors who had much longer lists took the stage. Multiple books published by traditional publishers with mega sales. Authors who made a living by writing short stories and devotions. Writers who had websites that hosted thousands of followers. I felt the envy bug make its way to my shoulder and proudly sit.
Then one of the hosts of the conference asked a question that humbled me and sent the envy bug scampering: “Suppose none of your writings ever appeared in print. Would you still write?” The question caused me to examine my motives for writing. Was I doing this for me . . . Or for God? This conference was supposed to help me hone my writing skills but also to remind me who I was writing for. I had not called myself to the position of writer; God had.
Several years later, my list of accolades is much longer, but the envy bug rarely sits on my shoulder anymore. Serving as an assistant editor for two major websites allows me to help other writers who are beginning their journeys. Doing so also reminds me this journey as a writer is not about me but about the One I serve and write for.
The psalmist warns about envying those who do wrong. While I wasn’t doing that, I was envying-and envying in any form is wickedness.
God has a unique plan for every individual. For some that might mean possessions, power, and popularity. For others, it could mean obscurity with a limited amount of influence. Either way, it’s my job to find God’s niche and be content where He places me. After all, what I do I should do for His glory-not my own.
Don’t let the envy bug creep up your back. Remember to do everything for the glory of God.
Prayer: Father, May our motive for everything we do be to honor the name of the One who gave His life for us.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA