Thursday, September 24, 2015

the Writer & the Green-eyed Monster

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

All writers need to beware the Green-eyed Monster.
Here I am a born-again Christian, a published author, full-time writer, writing coach and group leader, speaker and teacher at writer’s conferences. I can look you in the eye and say, with all sincerity, I am living my dream. The dream God gave me.

And yet, there are times—way too many times—when jealousy and envy clench my heart. I’m scheduled to teach one class at a writer’s conference and hear a fellow writer will be teaching two. Why her and not me? I’m published and she’s not.

I’m working to get my second book published and I hear where someone has signed a three-year contract for nine books. To quote Charlie Brown, “AAUGH!”

I find myself ankle deep in the pond of self-pity, about to take the next step which will plunge me up to my nose. And the water is thick, pulling me deeper.

God's voice can refocus us away from jealousy.
And then, I hear a voice. Not always audible but deep inside and loud enough to grab me by the hairs on the back of my neck and lift. “Had enough of the pity party yet?” It’s amazing how many times I want to say, “No, not yet,” even as the gunk is seeping into my nose.

He pulls me out anyway and we walk and talk. And He reminds me of His plan for me, for my life, for my writing. The only thing I should compare myself to is that plan. Am I doing what He led me to do? Whenever I compare myself to someone else, I will always be left with the short end of the stick. I will always see them as better, more successful and myself as the loser.

My peace, my satisfaction comes from doing what He wants. My path is different from anyone else’s. He has gifted me in ways different from others. His gifts enable me to be me and to minister to others in unique ways. And He has blessed me beyond anything I can dream or imagine.

My peace comes from trusting Him. I am where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do, serving those He wants me to serve.

How have you handled the attacks of the green-eyed monster?


Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. 

He serves as Associate Director of North Texas Christian Writers. 

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers. 

Connect with Henry on his blogTwitter and Facebook.


  1. Henry, Thank you for being honest. The green monster rears its ugly head in my heart too. You and others are doing what I want to do. Teach at conferences. I desire a bigger speaking platform. Just like you, when this sinful feeling tries to consume me I run to my Abba. He reminds me that I am His servant. To quote you, "My peace comes from trusting Him. I am where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do, serving those He wants me to serve." I have the honor and privilege of being used by the King of the Universe, no matter what task He has for me.

    1. You're right, Cherrilynn. We need to focus on where He has us right now, on the place He's put us, on the assignment He's given us. Until we get to heaven, we will never know how many lives we've touched in our obedient service.
      Jealousy is one of Satan's tools to get us out of relationship with God.

  2. Henry, this is spot on. It is only God's Plan for us that matters at all. Fulfilling His Plan pleases Him, fulfills us, advances His Kingdom purposes, matters for eternity, and ensures that we will hear, "Well done!" Most of my friends are in ministry and accomplishing far more for the Kingdom than I am right now. I constantly have to pace myself and stay focused on what God has ME doing.Thank you for one more, well-done, reminder!

    1. Thank you, June. Staying focused on what He has called me to do can be hard when I see others have "more success" than me. I have to remind myself He defines my success, not me. Some of what I thought were my stinkiest moments I later found out blessed others.

  3. Sometimes it is difficult not to compare. I have to keep reminding myself that my success or failure does not hinge upon theirs. God has a special timing for my journey that is perfect for me. Anything different would not be good.

  4. You're absolutely right, Michelle. Your comment reminds me of John 21:19-22 (NLT) where Peter wanted to know how John was going to die and Jesus told him, essentially, "What business is it of yours? Your job is to follow me." To me, Jesus is telling me to keep my eyes on Him in all I do. (By the way, I think this Scripture is one of the funniest scenes in the Bible.)

  5. I don't know it's that I get envious when something like that occurs. I do get hurt, because I'm extremely sensitive; but then the feeling of inferiority kick in. Why wasn't I asked? Am I not good enough? Do people think my work is not good? So-on and so-on. ;-}

  6. I know exactly what you mean, Carole. I sometimes find my self asking the same questions. I guess that's why God inspired the blog. To have me talk to myself about it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Such a good reminder, Henry. That's why the Bible tells us to use Jesus as our standard and not compare ourselves with others. :)

  8. Amen to that, Andrea. Thank you for sharing.