A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. -Proverbs 14:30
Every morning several blogs, including Borrowed Light, will feature a list of recommended articles from the day before. For a little guy like me making it on one of these lists will mean an instant boost in traffic.
I normally get about 400-500 hits per day. Not much, but it’s a steadily increasing number. The few times that I have gotten a link from a certain blogger, whose name rhymes with Clem Tallies, my hit count went up to about 3000 for the day. Not to mention gaining a handful of subscribers. For an aspiring writer these links are important.
One temptation that bloggers can face is to scan these recommendation links for a link to that super rad article that you posted yesterday. (Little tip—using phrases like “super rad” in this century usually means you won’t make the list). Every time your name is not present the temptation to envy can set in. Why did that joker get a link but I didn’t?
As soon as envy seeps into that little crevice in your brain from which all writing flows out of you might as well give it up and just go play Backgammon with your neighbors cat. Envy will rot your bones. Which of course means that it’s already rotted your flesh. And everyone that has went to college with a guy that used to frequently set his hand on fire knows that burning flesh is really rank. You get envy, you’ve got a stinky blog.
Envy makes you write for the wrong audience. You start writing for the audience you wish you had instead of the audience that God has already graced you with. You certainly don’t write for the joy of the Lord.
And before you know it the precious audience that you did have begins to get nauseated by the smell of a rotting blog. The life has been sucked out of your writing and so your audience begins to go where there is life. As your numbers plummet bitterness ratchets up and your writing only gets worse. Envy has made your blog rot into oblivion. If, you want a rotting blog, become envious.
If you don’t want a rotting blog then you need grace to fight envy. Here’s how:
- Repent. Envy is a sin. Turn to Christ in faith and confess your sin of envy. Get clean.
- Love your audience. That means your audience of One and the borrowed influence that He’s given you.
- Pray up. Instead of trying to be Justin Taylor pray for him. There are probably many days when Justin would desire a small corner in the world of the internet.
- Trust the Lord’s sovereignty. If you only have 7 people that visit your blog rejoice in them and trust that the audience He has given you is for your good and theirs. In other words have a “tranquil heart”.
- Link to others. And not just so you can get links back. Fight envy with generosity.
- Avoid a sense of entitlement. You don’t deserve 1 person listening to you. Influence you have is borrowed from Christ. Enjoy whatever grace you’ve been given instead of bemoaning what you don’t have.