So I'm just going to be totally honest. (Isn't that what a blog is - raw, honest thoughts like reading a page from someone's diary?)
I have blog envy. It's a new struggle for me. Only about a month old. Ever since I started blogging. My husband likes to tease me about my late arrival to this world by saying, "welcome to the 90s honey." But yes, now that I'm here, I've been introduced to a whole new world. I had NO idea how many talented, beautiful writers there were out there, especially in the mommy blogging realm, since that's mainly what I read these days...who are so incredibly gifted with their words, photography, layout and design. Most of them are stay at home moms (you go, girl!) who may have hundreds, even thousands of followers. I am in awe...and with that, a little envious. Maybe a lot.
When I'm at playgroup or at the park with a bunch of moms, there's often a plug for someone's blog. You know how it goes, "Oh my gosh, have you read such and such blog? You've got to check it out! Her pictures, her stories, her writing, etc., etc., is awesome." Then I go check it out for myself, agree that it is just as they said and start thinking thoughts like, "wow, I wish I could write like that" or "if only I could take such artistic pictures of my children" or "if only I knew how to add gadgets like that at that place on the page" and especially, "how does she have 4,000 followers?"
Once I'm finished admiring, ogling, and drooling over their blog, I return to my own, which suddenly looks plain jane, elementary, and inadequate...like going from a Picasso masterpiece to a kindergartner's fingerpainting.
Why is it an issue for me? Well, perhaps I've always wanted to be identified as a writer. I want people to approve of me, to think I'm smart, to think I have a witty, honest style that is endearing and fun to read. My dream has always been to write a novel that makes it on the NY Times Bestseller list.
Writing is part of my identity. And that's where the issue lies.
As always, God is using this opportunity to teach me. Just today, as I felt these ugly, envious feelings, He reminded me that whether it's a blog, the size of my house, whether I have wood floors or stainless steel appliances, the way I decorate, how stylishly I dress, how well and how often I host playgroup, the way I parent, the way my children behave, the way I entertain, the amount of activities I am involved in, the number of friends I keep in touch with, how I cook, etc....whatever that THING is, there is always going to be someone who does it better. And therefore, there is always room for envy.
It's been that way since the beginning of time. Satan wanting God's job. Eve wanting "knowledge" from the Tree of Life. Cain wanting to be better than Abel. David wanting Bathsheeba. Saul wanting David's popularity. Pharaoh wanting the worship of all people, including the Israelites.
So what's the lesson? It goes back to the issue of identity. The verse that spoke to me last week comes to mind, "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord." If I truly am setting apart Christ as Lord of my heart, as the ultimate love, ruler and authority of my life, than my identity is in Him....and in who I am in relation to Him.
So who am I? I am a daughter of Christ. I am loved, I am cherished, I am forgiven, I am free to live and love like Jesus. I have no guilt, I have no shame because it has all been paid for on the cross. I am accepted. I am full of joy. I have no fear, because I know this is not my home. My home awaits me in heaven, where I will one day rejoice in the glorious presence of my Savior, in a place where I will feel pure joy, no pain, no suffering, no tears...no envy.
So whether I have one follower or thousands, it doesn't matter. Why? Because my identity is not set on how many blog followers I have. It's set on the fact that I am a loved and precious daughter of Christ, who approves of me, who is proud of me, who loves me. Nothing can separate me from His love.
Knowing that, clinging to that truth, is the only way I can move past my blog envy. Or any kind of envy. So I may not have an amazing blog. I may not have thousands of followers. I may sound preachy or rambly or boring. But who am I writing for? For my Lord. Writing is something that gives me pleasure and I do it out of joy and I want to do it in a way that pleases my Lord, not anyone else. Because His approval is the only one I need!
So the next time I go blog browsing, the next time I come across blogs that are more beautiful, better written, more artistic, etc...I will remind myself: my writing does not define me. Jesus defines me. He approves of me. He loves me. He is proud of me. And that's all that matters!