Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. No. Let me rephrase that. MANY times I feel sorry for myself. I try not to, knowing that it is anti-everything mentally healthy for me. However, sometimes I entertain it.
I have recently learned from an unusual source that self-pity is actually deadly.
My granddaughter is VERY knowledgeable about all things animals. I call her the animal whisperer; she is kind of a 21st century Snow White, as I have seen wild rabbits come out of the field to sit by her (for real) and tiny birds land in her open hand (for real). She raises goats and chickens, hoping to be a veterinarian someday. Did I mention she is 12? She researches and studies facts about the animal world that I never knew, and that sparks deep thoughts in my blogging brain.
First of all, let me say that most of the time we feel sorry for ourselves there is a legit reason. Sure, lots of time we can moan and groan about things that are trivial but mostly the things we secretly mourn over are real to us.
In the animal kingdom, if an animal is consumed with self-pity, it would kill him – literally. When an animal is in pain (birthing pain for instance) if it cries out, that is a direct signal to predators, as if to say – HEY, I am in pain over here; follow the sounds of my cries and you can find me and kill me. Really, that is pretty much how that would work. This fact got me thinking about my own pity parties.
MAKES YOU A TARGET
Pity parties are generally solo. In fact, they get much worse as we don’t share our pain with anyone who in all actuality could help us overcome it. We sit at our own tiny table set with tiny dishes and we stew in our own despair. This is sad yes. It really is and I am NOT diminishing our legit pain that is consuming us. However, it might help us to understand that self-pity is REALLY dangerous.
Self-pity makes you a target. It is a bull’s eye. It gives you a certain scent that is attractive to the predator of your soul.
When I am feeling sorry for myself because of my own reasons that are real to me, I immediately have succumbed to a trap. I have taken my eyes off of a whole list of other options – in that moment or moments of ‘woe is me’ I have dismissed faith, hope, purpose, courage, selflessness, and God Himself. I have made the immediate feelings of despair greater than the will to overcome it, or the other more positive options.
There truly is something to be said for positive thoughts, inspiring scripture readings, anointing oils, worship music and reaching out to other people. This is my strategy against self-pity. I have a hard enough time walking out my life without intentionally choosing to give satan the ability to find me! I would prefer to stay hidden from his wiles and his evil plans.
Self-pity makes you feel rotten. Really it does! The more you entertain it, the darker the day gets. It is all-consuming and destructive to our soul. It calls out to our enemies named hatred, jealousy, fear, shame, guilt, and hopelessness.
The sorrier I feel for myself, the more these enemies start their whispers. The more I listen to their whispers, the more they become actual voices and they eventually get so loud I can’t hear the truth anymore.
JOB’S SELF-PITY PARTY
Let’s think about Job in the Bible who really had much to feel sorry for himself about! In his own words, “I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 10:1) In this little verse we feel his pain, his justification of that pain, and his choice to wallow in it. To be quite honest, if anyone ever had legit reason to wallow in self-pity, it was Job. He lost it all – his kids, his house, his health – everything. Realistically, none of us would or could be all happy about such loss and do a happy dance in the midst of any tragedy.
“Ah woe is me! For the Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no rest.” (Jeremiah 45:3) Ever felt that way? I have! And resigning myself to such woe is all-consuming and destructive.
Think about it like this – something bad happens. You react and respond with pain. This is normal because at our best and our worst, we are still human. There then comes that moment to go further and deeper into the darkness of our pain. It changes from reaction and response to, choice. “The testing of your faith (choice) produces endurance.” (James 1:3) There is a saying we all know and recite it frivolously in memes, but in all reality it IS truth. “What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger.” True.Story.
BEWARE OF SOUL PREDATORS
If an animal can learn to endure extreme pain in order to prevent worse from happening, knowing that predators will quickly show up to destroy it and their family (keep THAT in mind), then we as humans need to also learn NOT to let self-pity have unbridled reign over us. It really matters. It really does. Will it happen overnight or every time we are in pain? No, but with the tests and the passing of the tests, comes strength.
If we can grasp that self-pity opens the door to much worse, at least it is a place to start.
STRENGTH IS FROM GOD
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 11-13)
Not going to lie here – THIS is so hard and in itself is a continuing journey.
Let the predators of our soul only smell the sweet scent of the grace and mercy of Jesus coming from our lives, as HE becomes our fierce defender and our protective covering.