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.
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.
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!
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.