I don’t know when it started, but I realized today that I’ve been harboring a secret resentment of Jon Acuff. It’s random and stupid, I know. But I have to come clean about it.
If you don’t know who Jon Acuff is, let me sum up his career this way: he’s a famous blogger, best-selling author, and highly-regarded speaker. His books are witty and inspiring. His blog posts have been passed around by your Facebook friends—trust me, they have. He’s got a beautiful family, and from the outside looking in, it seemed like he had it all going for him.
Then, a couple of years ago, he walked away from what some would call a dream job and went solo again. He didn’t really talk about what happened, and neither did his famous former employer. And from my lowly perch, what seemed like lightyears away, I became a bit indignant. Suddenly his blog posts sounded smug instead of clever. Self-pitying instead of introspective. I thought he was being a bit hypocritical.
Jon Acuff owed me no explanations. He has never been accountable to Dave for his life decisions. He wrote books and blog posts that had inspired me (though I rarely did more with that inspiration than think, “ooh, that’s good”). But he “got to” walk away from his day job, and I was still “stuck” in a job that, admittedly, I struggled with for several years. (And still struggle with, from time to time, though God is giving me grace to do my best and be a blessing as much as I can.)
Today, I heard two really great interviews with Jon Acuff that helped me realize what an ugly jerk I was being. This is a guy who has really struggled with what it means to be a writer and have a large range of influence, and he’s wrestled with some of the lesser-known dangers and pitfalls of having a big public platform, like the need to put on a mask to keep others happy (something I am all too familiar with). He’s not perfect, and he knows that. I can hear in his answers a bit more experience and wisdom than I’ve read in his writing over the years. More humility. More grace for himself and others.
I realized as I was listening to these interviews that I actually like this guy. If we were to meet and talk for a bit, I think we’d hit it off, because he seems like a good dude. I realized I was feeling bitter and jealous of the fact that he’s only 5 years older than me but he has the kind of life I dreamed of in my younger years but never pursued. I realized I was begrudging him the fruit of his hard work, hustle, and patience. I still want some of the things he’s achieved, but I haven’t worked nearly as hard as he has. And even if I had, that doesn’t mean that I deserve anything more than what I have already. God has been exceedingly generous to me. I need to learn to be content.
All this to say: I’m sorry, Jon Acuff. I’ve been kind of a jerk to you, even if only in my head and heart. I’m glad you’re doing well. You’ve earned it. Keep it up.