Pity Party

So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.

                                             1 Kings 21:4

 

“Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

                                           Jonah 4:3

 

The past couple of weeks or so have been quite stressful at work. I’ve been asked to consider taking on a different role within the same department. It is better suited to my strengths than my current role (as my current role evolves, I am expected to be more strategic minded and less in the details. I love to be in the details!). I’ve grappled with the decision, knowing that while it would be better for my emotional health if I took this job, I’d be overly concerned about potential effects on my reputation (“Oh, she couldn’t cut it over there.”) I prayed about it, and felt that the Lord was leading me to take the new position.

 

Since my decision, I’ve felt an increase in the frequency and velocity with which the enemy’s barbs have been hurled at me. Although no formal announcement has been made nor transition plans set, I’ve felt excluded from discussions and requests that I’d used to handle, as my successor takes over some of my responsibilities. I am the proverbial “man without a country,” and it’s unsettling to me. Self-pity and doubt cling to me, clouding my ability to assess the true state of affairs around me. Self-pity’s twin sister of self-absorption keeps my focus inward, blind to some of the need right outside my door. I feel wronged and resentful, despite the stern talks I gave myself to snap out of it and be thankful for the many blessings I have in my life. Nope—I couldn’t really see past the perimeter of “me” that filtered and shaped my views.

What an ingenious tool self-pity is in the hands of the enemy. Self-pity masquerades as concern and protection for one’s self—enticing the “victim” to catalogue every perceived slight so that they can be used as ammunition against the offender later on. The weight of all of these slights can cause one to raise a fist at God, raising the proverbial “why” question, leveling implicit accusations of His unfairness while implying that He owes an explanation in the first place.

 

A sin of self-pity is that it focuses on the first word entirely too much. C.S. Lewis writes “The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the center—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan, and that was the sin he taught the human race.”

 

We can overcome self-pity by confessing it to God and asking His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), recognizing that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13), realizing that the Lord works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), and rejoicing and thanking Him for the trials (1 Peter 1:6).

 

Prayer Requests

  • For those who haven’t heard the good news, and for us to obedient and share it with them
  • For us to see past our differences and be united in the work of His kingdom
  • Praise for the wonder that each day brings, knowing that it was planned and provided by God
  • For our pastor search committee
  • For us to be obedient in all things

 

I am blessed to share that through the prayers of good friends who are my accountability partners, and my repentance of the sin of self-pity, and solely by His grace, I am no longer held captive in the muck and mire of self-pity. I’ve not fully shaken it off my shoes, so it trips me up from time to time, but its debilitating restraint has been disarmed. To God be the Glory!

 

Quotes

“If you find that your mind wanders while you’re praying, maybe you should pray about what your mind keeps wandering to.”

 

“The satisfaction we desire won’t come from God answering our prayers; it comes from learning to trust Him regardless of His answer.”