|St. John the Baptist–Donatello|
Ever catch yourself comparing?
As women, we might compare how put together we look, how big our houses are, how many activities our kids are involved in.
Men compare jobs. They also might compare wives, or intelligence, or cars, or video games. I don’t know, since I’m not a guy.
Whether it’s spoken aloud, or whether it’s just a feeling simmering deep in our chests, it doesn’t take long for comparison to morph into something bigger.
This applies to writers (yes, I just WENT THERE). We wonder why other authors get picked up faster, why their blogs have more followers/comments, why we don’t seem to be in on the “inner loops.” We might wonder how their books got published, when their prose isn’t up to our standards or their genre strikes us as lame.
For Christian authors, how do we deal with this? Honestly, our typical response is to rant…even if it’s just in our heads.
Let me tell you about another dude–John the Baptist. He was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. He came out of the wilderness, telling people to repent and baptizing them. And then Jesus came on the scene and became Popular Rabbi Number One.
Here’s what John the Baptist’s followers said to him:
“Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” (John 3: 26)
In other words–“John, this guy you told us about is swinging through here, taking all your followers! How rude is that? What you gonna do about it!?”
Now, John the Baptist was a big deal. It was easy for people to recognize he was the prophet God had promised in the Old Testament. He’d baptized Jesus!
I think this comment could’ve made John feel useless. Instead, he used it as a chance to put things in perspective.
After reiterating that he wasn’t the Christ (which he’d told them all along!), he said, “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.” (v. 31)
In other words, John remembered his role–a servant of the most High God.
No matter how righteously justified we are in the roles we take on or the way we go about it, we have to remember that we are servants, just like Christ. Our job is not to point people to us, but to point them to Christ. Even Christ Himself pointed people to His Father–God:
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2: 5-6)
I think the key to overcoming jealousy is to keep it in perspective. There will always be someone smarter than, prettier than, or more skilled than you. There will also be someone less smart, less pretty, and less skilled than you. Doesn’t matter. We’re all servants.
I’ll be candid–I’m talking to myself here. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that at some point in my almost five-year stint as a “serious writer,” I haven’t compared my blog or my writing ability or my author headshots with someone else’s.
But the Biblical perspective is so freeing. As Christian authors or parents or people, we’re serving the same Master. We might be ahead of or behind others in this process, but at least we’re in the process. We’re serving.
We might tick each other off.
We might not understand how others are going about their tasks.
We might not have the same abilities or opportunities or positions as others.
But it’s not about us. It’s about HIM. John the Baptist knew this, and it cost him his earthly life–yet he died knowing he’d used his voice and his abilities for God.
****How about you? Be honest here…I know you’ve compared yourself at some point in your life! How do you keep comparisons from morphing into the full-blown, green-eyed monster?****