There are a few reasons why we need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.
- Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. Have you seen that skit on SNL? It’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, Debbie Downer responds with the absolute saddest story or comment. It’s hilarious. Also exhausting to both her and the people around her. Let’s not be like Debbie.
- When you’re consumed with how sad your life is, you can’t step into whatever God has for you.
- Whatever is bad, God is better.
I don’t say any of this to discredit what you’ve been through or are going through. For a season, I felt entitled to self-pity because of things I’d come up against in my own life. It seemed impossible to find joy in the littlest things. The. Struggle. Was. Real. If you’re in a season where you need to grieve, mourn or are just struggling: that is okay! Be there. Let people come around you, help you and encourage you for as long as necessary (and that might be years). But ultimately, do not stay there.
2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
In Romans we read that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us…creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
God has made some pretty hefty statements about what He has in store for those who love Him. He’s made some big claims about what our troubles here on earth look like in light of Him. So when we go through difficult times, we go through them…and keep going.
So how do we stop feeling sorry for ourselves?
- Face it. Maybe you feel sorry for yourself because you can’t afford something another person can. You’re not as good at your job as you think you should be. Nobody’s asking you out. You spilled coffee on your shirt this morning. Your family is a wreck. Whatever is making you feel sorry for yourself—name it and face it.
- Find a redeeming quality about it. Let’s dig in:
- “…Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” –1 Corinthians 7:17
- “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.” –1 Corinthians 12:18
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Matthew 6:19-21
- “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” –Matthew 6:31-33
While you’re at it, take a look at Galatians 2:20, Proverbs 16:3, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Timothy 2:15…the list goes on and on! God has presented us with a zillion and one redeeming qualities about whatever situation we find ourselves in. He’s told us He’s allowed us to be where we are, there’s a reason we’re where we are and He loves us exactly where we are. Find the redeeming quality you need to cling to and trust God at His word.
- Take a step forward. We live in a world that pays attention to giant leaps and exciting advances. You know what really creates lasting change? Baby steps. Two steps forward and one step back. That’s reality. No matter how small the step may be, take it! Next time you spill coffee on your shirt and you’re tempted to feel sorry for yourself because you always spill something and you’re so clumsy…make a choice to laugh it off and clean it up. In light of the truth you’re armed with, it’s just not so bad.
Find a redeeming quality about it.
Take a step forward.
Jesus didn’t do everything He did (you know, hang on a cross) to give you a mediocre experience of His presence. So keep pressing on and relying on Him—He’s coming through for you even if you don’t quite see it yet.