How To Stop the Pity Party

You may think I’m writing this because I’m way past pity parties, but unfortunately I’m actually writing this because I was just having one! So I thought I’d share how I got myself out of it with God’s help, and some other thoughts.

My 2 year old son had a long pity-party after landing face-first in the mud,
but I don’t really blame him!

I had never even heard the word ‘pity party’ before I met my American husband. I just thought I was feeling down. But now I realise that a lot of the times that I feel like that, it’s actually more that I’m feeling sorry for myself. And ‘pity party’ is quite a good word for it, because for some weird reason it can feel good in a strange and depressing kind of way!

My husband has just left for America for a few weeks so after I put the kids to bed last night I breathed a sigh of relief and then started feeling really lonely and sad, knowing that I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to for three weeks. Which of course is a bit of an exaggeration, since I do have e-mail and a phone, but thoughts do that to you sometimes! And I started feeling sorry for myself.

Then after I had got back from taking the children out today I didn’t feel like doing anything because I felt depressed. And I realised that I needed to change my thoughts!

Get on With Your Responsibilities

I remembered what Dr. Jay Adams teaches about self-pity and depression, that it spirals downwards and gets worse and worse because you feel bad and therefore neglect your responsibilities. He says that the people who suffer the most from this are housewives and pastors because their time is their own, so they can more easily neglect their responsibilities if they feel bad because there is no earthly boss to keep an eye on them!

So the important thing when you are feeling down, or sorry for yourself, is to pray and then get on with your responsibilities regardless. It is hard to do, but otherwise you then end up more depressed because you’re behind with everything. If you keep going, and ‘do the next thing’ as Elisabeth Elliot talked about when her husband was dying, you will eventually get through those feelings.

Today I remembered this, and decided to get on with what I would normally be doing even though I didn’t feel like it. And surprise surprise, an hour later I felt great! I know that if I had carried on moping around I would still be feeling bad now.

When we keep going with our responsibilities we are then focusing on what we should be doing, and can glorify God in doing that.

‘Whatever you do, work at it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men’ Col 3:23

Be Thankful for What You Have

Another thing I realised in thinking about this today is that my self-pity was really a form of discontent, as I was basically saying that I wasn’t happy with the situation God had put me in. So I needed to thank God for what I do have, and be content.

‘For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content’ Phil 4:12

Focus on God and Others

Jay Adams says that when we are pitying ourselves we are too much absorbed in ourselves and need to change our focus from ourselves to God and others. Since the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others, these would be great things to focus on, and would take our mind off ourselves!

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 22:37-39
Remember that God Understands

You could easily have a far worse situation than I did, and it may be a lot harder to deal with. But God understands and knows what you are going through. And He will deliver you and help you through it.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:1,2

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4 Responses

  1. Brooke says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart! That is great advice: do the next thing. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping on and letting your feelings catch up with you instead of getting you caught up. I still laugh when I see that pic (laugh and feel so sorry for your little one)!

  2. Rhoda says:

    That’s a great way of putting it, Brooke 🙂

  3. We can only be joyful in all circumstances, if we have circumstances to be joyful in! Thanks for the encouragement, Rhoda. God is good!