As you can see, I've released any inhibitions and am moving forward. Do you ever struggle with envy? What is envy? According to Dictionary.com - Envy is "a feeling of
discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc." So I'll ask again, have you ever experienced envy?
If you are honest, I believe most, if not everyone, has battled this issue at one point or another in their lifetime. Some of you might find this a daily battle and decided to read this blog because you just want to know why I would make such a statement. Regardless of your level of envy, the first step to deal with it...is to admit you have it.
I had & sometimes still do, author envy!
While I celebrated the success of other Indie authors, deep within my heart, there was a terrible green monster living - envy. This led to the pointless questions of "Why them and not me?" "When is it my turn?" and so on. In case you didn't know, if you let all this ick and envious thinking infiltrate your brain and heart, it only leads to discontent and more negative thinking.
The reason I didn't post this blog initially was because instead of running to all of you for help, support, guidance, encouragement, and hope ~ I went to the One we should all run to when we face any troubles, battles, stress, or joys in life...God.
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30 NIV
Some of you might have noticed the root of the issue right away, the "me", "I", and "self" statements. To look back at 2013, I'm humbled and amazed at the way God worked through me and used me to share Heidi, hope, and Him with others.
I didn't publish Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey to make money, this was never the goal. The prayer was to hopefully break even at the end of the year. Goals are good and necessary, yet we need to set realistic ones in order to achieve them. So what do goals have to do with envy and running out of extension cords? A little...and nothing!
Did I achieve this one goal, to break even? No we didn't...BUT (remember the word "but" negates whatever is said before it, just something to think about) lives were changed in ways I never dreamed. Another goal I had was for "One sibling to have hope and not live in the darkness of despair any longer after the loss of their brother or sister." This was my spiritual goal, holy cow, God wowed me in the ways He answered this prayer with "yes" and people opened their hearts, eyes, and lives to trust and love again.
People came to know how much God loves them because of the words written in this book. Siblings reconciled and are making conscious choices to live for today, and not in the past because of the way God used my writing and speaking. One family took their Christmas decorations out after more than a decade because of how God touched their hearts through the message I shared while in Texas. One sister who didn't think she could go on and continue the search efforts for her missing sister, found hope and encouragement in this book.
Mother-daughter bonds were strengthened. Misunderstandings cleared up. Hurts healed. Hope restored. Tears shed in grief followed by tears of joy and anticipation for tomorrow.
Heidi's picture, story, and case have been shared across the United States and over 75 countries through this blog and the Where's Heidi? Facebook page. I did live radio and television interviews about the book, each revisited Heidi's case and shared how people could contact the police with information they may have not thought were important at the time, but looking at twenty years later - your little piece of information might be the puzzle piece to finding Heidi - pick up the phone and call it in.
1-888-349-3411, 1-800-724-8477 or 315-349-3411.
"Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Proverbs 4:25; Ephesians 2:10; James 5:16
Did I plan to use so many extension cords? No
Did I plan to run out of extension cords to the One who saved me and only be plugged into myself? No
Did it happen? Yes
Some may have recognized the signs while most didn't notice anything was different. Sadly, I didn't realize it until I started this blog months ago. Oh my gosh, I shed some tears on my knees once God helped me recognize the root of the envy. Is it normal to say, "Why not me?", I think so. It becomes a problem when we dwell on it.
As we struggle to pay bills, instead of shouts of author envy for the Indie authors making a living at writing, I should be thanking God for all the amazing and wonderful things He has done through my writing and speaking. I need to thank God for the way He blesses my heart and brings tears to my eyes weekly for the changed lives because of the words He guided me to write in my books or to share when I speak.
I want to challenge you to lift thanks and praise to God when you are tempted to ooze envy in your thoughts, hearts, and words. Thanks and praise are the opposite of envy, and I think they have the power to erase the negative thinking and selfish goal setting. I admit, I would love to have my writing and speaking income be profitable, but not to the point I lose sight of Who made this all possible and Who I do this for. If and when God choses to bless us financially, I pray to be the steward He's called us to be in the Bible.
I'm grateful God chose me to write and speak for Him. I'm thankful for the places I've traveled, the people I've met, and for the hearts opened to hear the message God gives me each time I meet someone. God has blessed us like Ephesians 3:20-21 in 2013. We battled illness, financial difficulties, and loss of friends and family yet the entire time...God was and is there!
Instead of focusing on my friends' books winning awards or sharing how their incomes have multiplied because of their book's success...I will continue to cheer for them, share their successes, pray for their continued success, and learn from them.
Last summer I disconnected from many friends, family, and the busyness of life to get reconnected with God. Summer was relaxing and we spent many hours at home, on the deck, at the lake, or enjoying the simple things. It was a necessary time because the green monster of envy and the enemy were moving in to my heart and they weren't invited.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.
If you do not remain in me,
you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers;
such branches are picked up,
thrown into the fire and burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:5-8 NIV
I spent the summer eliminating extension cords to the King of Kings ~ months later and I fight against the envy when I can't figure out how to make the bills. The "when" questions still creep in but they don't remain. For each negative thought or green moment of "why not me", I open my Bible and read the truth.
Life is like the weather, full of seasons. I'm thankful for this season in my life because God opened my eyes and showed me a harsh reality - I did and sometimes still do, envy my friends or family for what they have that I don't.
This blog would have read much differently last summer because the bitter, negative, and resentful attitude was smothering the thankful, humbled, and blessed spirit God restored because of time spent on my knees, talking with God (aka prayer), and reading His Word, the Bible.
Rejoice! God can do anything and we can do anything through Him - when it's in His will. He doesn't want us to envy others, we are called to build each other up. I pray you found encouragement in this blog. Will you join me in getting reconnected, or possibly connecting for the first time, to God? His grace is sufficient. His love is eternal. With Him...envy is eliminated.