Envy Conquers World Book Day

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

Envy is rarely presented as a positive attribute. Rarely? Ok, possibly NEVER. Yet, envy is precisely what enabled me to go from reading maybe a handful of books (even that’s probably exaggerating a bit) each year to reading 78 books in 2022 and 35 so far this year. In honor of today’s celebration of World Book Day, I want to encourage y’all to stop scrolling and read more.

At some point during the pandemic, while on breaks from playing Merge Dragons and as I scrolled my social media feeds, someone’s feed kept appearing with book covers. Over the course of several weeks, one book title after another appeared. I began to think:

“They can’t possibly be reading all of these books!” see: Denial

“How on earth are they reading all of these books!?!” see: Curiosity

“I wish I had the kind of time to read a lot of books.” see: Envy

And that is when the rotting in my bones started to happen. I started getting angry that their life was being filled with new thoughts and ideas while my own was stuck in my house (surrounded by unread books). Then, when I also noticed their appearance changing because they were also running, I started to diminish their reading accomplishments by thinking, “Ahhh, they aren’t reading, they are listening to audiobooks while they run.”

Bone rotting envy.

The thing about envy is it’s outward focused. We only see what the other person has that we want. We don’t see what is available to us. We don’t see those things we sometimes invite and allow to gnaw at our being little by little, leaving discontentment in their wake, and eventually stealing our joy. We may even stop seeing what may be possible in our own lives while focusing our attention on someone else’s life.

Recognizing how envious I’d become, even to the point of unbelief in my friend’s capacity to read, enabled me to discover my heart’s desire. I really wanted my world to be filled with thought provoking ideas. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to be comforted. I wanted to go to interesting places. All while being stuck alone in my house during the coronavirus pandemic. I knew it could be possible if I was willing to MAKE the time for reading.

Too often, when there is something we want to do in our lives, we are able to come up with far more excuses than possibilities. Initially, I thought, “I don’t have time to read!” Then, noticing the amount of time I was spending scrolling social media and playing games in order to “relax”, it helped me find the time that I could easily repurpose. Now, I’m not saying you should give up scrolling or online games (though there is an interesting book discussing what can be discovered and achieved). Instead, we each need to recognize that if there is something we’d like to do or try, and since we all are allotted the same 24 hours each day, there may need to be some shuffling of current activities…whatever those may be.

For me, a decision to pick up a book first thing each morning and last thing each night instead of looking at social media on my phone was the first key to my increase in reading. Along the way, I discovered how much the scroll had taken over my life in the hopes of finding out how some of those dearest to me were doing. (In another post, I’ll share how reading also helped me connect better with people.) Additionally, someone shared Goodreads with me as a way to keep track of what I was reading and set a goal for myself.

Goodreads has been a godsend in multiple ways. It’s helped me finish books when new books catch my attention. It’s helped me understand that I really can (and often do) read multiple books at the same time. It’s helped me keep track and then recommend books when the titles are difficult to remember. It’s even helped me post this writing today because I figured out how to share the widget on my webpage with y’all so you can see what I’m currently reading (and link through to what I want to read and what I’ve read).

Today is the 29th annual World Book Day. Started in 1995 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is intended to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. Today’s date was chosen, in part, in observance of William Shakespeare’s death (and as it turns out lots of other writers).

Today, I’ve read and now published. Someday, I hope to have a copyright on a publication. In my case, recognizing my envy of others doing the things I wanted for myself has transformed into good thing. It enabled me to channel the envy that was rotting my bones in order to stop wishing and start doing. Along the way, I’m finding peace and experiencing new life.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

How about you?

Do you have “Reading Envy?”

Why not start with one book?

Why not start today, World Book Day?

Why not create a Goodreads account for yourself or to share?

What do you have to lose?

You may discover new life in a heart at peace. ❤

One Reply to “Envy Conquers World Book Day”

  1. thank you..i’ve just recently this year started to read novels again (instead of theology/pastoral books) great habit to recultivate!! thx for encouragement

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Like

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