By Andrea Merrell
We’ve all battled with it to some degree at one time or another: the green-eyed monster of envy. It’s part of our carnal nature that has to be redeemed and brought into submission. Exodus 20:17 (NLT) says, You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
If God instructs us not to covet, why is it so hard to overcome? It usually begins in childhood. Susie has a nicer outfit. Tommy has a better skateboard. Lisa’s family has a swimming pool and a newer car with a DVD player. Left unattended, envy escalates in the teen years and morphs over into adulthood.
As writers, envy is a subtle enemy that can steal our peace, our joy, and our purpose. We all have our heroes—people in the industry we look up to and want to emulate. Having these people as our inspiration is fine as long as we don’t allow our admiration to become an obsession.
I’ve heard writers say things such as, “Look at her. How did she get a contract so fast? I’m a better writer than she is.” And "I’ve been writing longer than he has. How did he get so successful? It’s not fair.”
On the other hand, some might say, “If I could only be like _____ (you fill in the blank). She has it all together. She’s talented, outgoing, and … well, I just can’t compete.”
And therein lies the problem: trying to compete.
Envy not only causes competition, it can create a stronghold that produces bitterness and a critical spirit toward those we view as successful. This is what the Bible says about envy: Envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30 NIV). The NLT puts it this way: Jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
Pastor and author Bob Gass writes, “In essence, envy says to God, ‘you made a mistake when you made me like I am. I want to be like that other person and have what they have.’”
The truth is found in Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV). Your calling and destiny are unique. God has a plan and purpose for you that no one else can fulfill. He can use you—and your words—to reach individuals that no one else can reach.
Writer, you are special. You are unique. There is no one else like you, and no one is able to do what God has called and equipped you to do. Don’t allow the green-eyed monster of envy to steal your God-given destiny from you.
Lord, thank you for the gifts, talents, and abilities you have placed inside me. Thank you for the words that flow from my heart to bless others. May I never give envy a foothold in my life, but use it as a tool to motivate me to become the person you created me to be.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/Graur Codrin.)
Don’t let the green-eyed monster of envy steal your purpose, your calling, and your God-given destiny. (Click to Tweet.)
Writer, you are special and unique. No one else can do what God has called and equipped you to do. (Click to Tweet.)