Pity parties. Who hasn’t wallowed in one every now and then? I know I have – plenty of times! It can momentarily feel good to indulge in feeling sorry for yourself … ”How could this happen to me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”, ” It’s not fair!” etc etc … but if you stay in that place – you’re in trouble!
As a single mum, there were plenty of opportunities to feel sorry for myself. I was alone. I had no-one to share the joys, lows and plain hard work of raising kids. I would look at my friends and their beautiful, whole families and think, we’re missing out on that … my kids deserve that … I deserve that! Christmas’s, birthdays and holidays were especially hard. I remember always trying to make it exciting and magical for the kids but it was in those times I probably felt the most alone. You smile and you laugh … but deep down it hurts, it hurts a lot. And with that pain, self-pity comes calling – the temptation just to curl up in a ball and wallow that this wasn’t meant to be my life and that “I can’t do this anymore!” Yet, amongst the tears (and chocolate), was also a still small voice … ”you can do this”, “rise up”, “My grace is sufficient” …pulling me out of the pit of despair to a place of hope and faith again.
Don’t let your struggle become your identity.
Self-pity wants to make you a victim. It will literally debilitate you and leave you living in a place of defeat. It becomes the negative, self-centred filter you see life through. When you’re a victim your whole life is about what happened to you and who did what to you – it becomes your identity. Living this way will hinder us from ever becoming whole. This is not how God wants us to live! The Bible says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and that we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). No matter what we’ve been through, we can overcome through God’s grace.
Let me just say there were plenty of times I threw myself on the bed and had a good cry, and that’s okay! It’s okay to feel sad, but I didn’t allow myself to stay there, because if I did my sadness would turn into self-pity and soon I would become weak and despairing. The thing is, my kids needed me to be strong. Sometimes I had to do the “fake it till you make it” by getting up, putting a smile on my face and just making a choice to be okay … and do you know what … most of the time it worked! Once I got my eyes off myself, and stopped letting my emotions rule me, I was fine!
You may be the victim of someone’s bad choices or of life just being unfair but whatever your situation or circumstance, don’t allow yourself to stay in that place of feeling sorry for yourself – it will only bring more harm. God wants to heal you, just as He healed me, and that healing comes through choosing to trust God and rely on His strength and by refusing to give in to self-pity.
God has called and equipped us to be victors not victims. No matter what we’ve been through, our lives can be a testimony of His amazing love, goodness and faithfulness. His beauty for our ashes. His joy for our pain.
That’s way better than any pity party!