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Needing a Pity-Party?

Ever have a day when you feel like everything and everyone is against you? When you feel like you can do nothing right and the harder you try, the more misunderstood you are?

When I’ve had a day like that and I’m feeling a little beat up, the right response is hard to get to. Sometimes a good cry feels like the answer, instead.

Relationships in this fallen world will be filled with misunderstandings, broken promises, hurt feelings, pain, and suffering—but, the truth is: I deserve more rebukes than I receive.

The right response is to let go of my right to be hurt. To “let it go” like Colossians talks about when it says that I can “bear with” the faults of a friend because of what Christ has done for me. Rather than focusing on my injury, I need to seek to understand and to empathize with the one who threw the punches, knowing that “hurting people hurt others.”

I know that I need to “count it all joy” because a right response to trials produces endurance.

But if I’m tempted to hold onto the hurt and just have a good cry, it may be that I’ve wallowed in a few self-focused thoughts like:

“She completely misunderstood me.”

“Why do I try? Why don’t I just stay home and never go out in public again?”

“If he only knew my heart . . .”

Those thoughts are my signal to pour it all out in prayer. I need to relay to the Father every detail (although He already witnessed it all, knew it was going to happen, and surely has some purpose in allowing it).

Pouring it out to Him provides the sounding board that I need, and I can take comfort in the fact that the Father delights for me to come to Him honestly.

Moving Beyond the Pain

When I’m hurting, God wants to move me past the expression of the pain and lead me to embrace His perspective.

I need to ask Him to let me see beyond my own pain so I can learn what He knows I need from this encounter.

Questions tumble out of a broken heart, but one that desperately wants to respond in a way that honors Him:

  • What do You want me to learn from this?
  • What are my heart issues that need to be dealt with?
  • How do You want me to bless or serve the one who rebuked me?
  • How can I glorify You through this?

On those days when self-pity doesn’t give up easily and keeps rearing its ugly head . . . I determine that I will fixate on this one thought:

Jesus Never Gave Way to Self-pity.

Never.

Not once.

Jesus, of all people, had reason for a pity-party. But never once did He give way to self-pity. Never once did He jump to His own defense or expend energy crying over how He was misunderstood, mistreated, or maligned.

Not once.

He was misunderstood; accused of being demon-possessed, a drunkard, and glutton; ridiculed for associating with sinners; and ultimately crucified after a horrific beating. And through it all, he never gave into self-pity. In fact, Jesus viewed His mission of suffering as a joy.

[box]Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. (Heb. 12:1–2)[/box]

Relationships in this fallen world will be filled with misunderstandings, broken promises, hurt feelings, pain, and suffering—but, the truth is:

I deserve more rebukes than I receive.

My heart may be misunderstood by someone I love and respect, but my less-than-sanctified heart still struggles with deception and wickedness. I may have good intentions and honorable motives, but I’m still in need of much growth and refinement, and (obviously) I still mess up.

No matter what the conflict is, no matter how mistreated I feel—there is one truth that always gives me the perspective to counter self-pity:

[box]For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin. (Heb. 12:3–4)[/box]

How can I hold onto self-pity when I focus on what Jesus went through for me?

How do I have a right to indulge in a morbid pity party when I think about Jesus shedding blood for me to have victory and deliverance from the sin of self-pity, self-absorption, and self-focus?

As I focus on Jesus, on His work on the cross, on the glorious gospel and my unworthiness to receive His great grace . . . my self-pity evaporates.

His glorious love flowing from the cross overshadows all.

Invite me to your pity-party today, and tell me how you counter the temptation to stay there.

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

12 Comments

  • Lisa Morris

    Thank you so much for your words today. I needed to hear this. It is so easy to get caught up in the pity party and forget what Christ has done. Thanks again for the reminder! God Bless. Lisa 🙂

  • Patti Simmons

    Thank you for sharing because I was having a pity party today big time and no one was invited but me! Instead God calls me gently to a count it all joy party instead. Your statement “I deserve more rebukes than I receive.” really hit to the heart of the matter for me. Thank you for being faithful to share truth.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Lisa ~

    Thanks for stopping in to leave a comment and letting me know that God used this today. I need Heb. 12:1–4 EVERY day! 🙂

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Patti ~

    So good to hear from you! Aren’t you glad that He is willing to break up our pity party with a good dose of the cross? Every time I focus on that, all my me-stuff has to evaporate, it can’t stand up under the work of the cross!

    Would love for you to post a life-update here and let me know how I can be praying for you.

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Jackie

    Kimberly,
    I needed to hear this. As a pastor’s wife, I’m prone to self-pity when how I lead the women’s ministry is criticized or something I said, or failed to say, to someone is misunderstood and people’s feelings are hurt. I’m prone to think: “Why bother?! I’ll just shut up and they can cannibalize someone else.” Having the humility to actually consider their criticisms as being something God wants to use to change me is hard. Even more so to consider blessing or serving my rebuker. My first response is defensiveness. But, as I’m learning through Nancy DeMoss’ “Brokenness” study, that response is borne of pride.

    I’ve been praying Psalm 19:12 and asking the Lord to reveal my “hidden faults.” The ones I’m not seeing in myself, and asking Him to show them to me. I believe reading this blog post today is one of His means of doing just that. Ouch! But his discipline brings about the harvest of righteousness if I allow myself to be trained by it. Amen!

  • Pauline Butler

    Kim, several years ago I was listening to Elisabeth Elliot on the radio. I heard her say something along these lines: Self-pity comes straight from the pit of hell and to pity someone else is even worse. The truth of those words pierced my heart that day. The realization that self-pity is sinful cut me to the quick. I needed to repent of that sin in my life. God opened my eyes to show me that wallowing in self-pity was at the root of why I so often found myself feeling depressed. I would love to be able to say that after that, I no longer felt sorry for myself or depressed. But the truth is, it has been a process. Gradually, over time and by God’s grace, I have been able to resist going down that road more and more. Keeping the Cross in view certainly is the answer to staying out of the pit. It is all about Him; it is not all about me. In Him we have victory over sin. The more I have come to understand His amazing grace in my life, the more able I have been to extend it to others. What a difference it makes when we spend our time beholding our Lord Jesus instead of ourselves! I praise His name for the good work He has done in my life and that I know He will continue to do (Phil. 1:6). I praise Him for you, for you are a vessel that He uses in mighty ways (I appreciate all of your posts). I praise Him, for He alone is worthy of all of my praise! Thank you for being a faithful servant of the Lord, Kim. Blessings~~Pauline

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear Pauline ~

    Thank you so much for your precious and encouraging comment. I’m so thankful you are plugged in here at the blog. Thank you for sharing how He has been teaching you. He’s so good to us, isn’t He?

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Leonor

    Blessed beyond measure! Thank you for your devotion and your love forJesus!
    I need it to read this today so badly. I have been encourage to counted all joy! And trough
    Chirst, I can do it!
    Blessings to you and your ministry, Kimberly!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Jackie ~

    Oh, how deeply I understand your struggle. I’ve been a pastor’s wife for three decades now : ) It is a gracious refining process, when in God’s sovereignty, He allows us to experience rejection and rebuke. So hard, but ultimately for our good. When we receive it with the understanding that our struggle is not with flesh and blood, and remember that “hurting people hurt others,” it helps us to have compassion for those who’ve hurt us (Col. 3:12 –17).

    Thank you for your transparency in sharing and I’m so glad you’re reading Nancy’s book: “Brokenness” it is an excellent and helpful resource. Also, I’m including a link to a pdf from Revive Our Hearts that you can print out and might find helpful:

    http://bit.ly/1vFVN2e

    I hope you stay connected on the blog. Loved hearing from you. I like having fellow-pastor’s wives on this sisterhood journey here on the blog!

    Pausing to pray for you now ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Leonor ~

    Oh, I am so glad God used this in your life today, so thankful! Thank you for sharing your heart and giving me a true word of encouragement this day.

    God’s blessings to you ~

  • Jackie

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I attended your “Fierce Woman” break-out session at True Woman 2014 as well. Talk about a zinger between the eyes! I’m printing off the resource you linked in your response and I also bought a pack of the Brokenness “Proud Person vs. Broken Person” cards and keep one in my Bible and read it each day and pray over the aspects I see or God reveals in me. Thanks again!

  • Vicki

    Great post, Kim! This is the second word of warning about self-pity that has come to me within the space of an hou I don’t feel like I’m wallowing right now, but I’m going to take it all as a warning to keep my eyes open. Perhaps I can back clean away from the self-pity pit before I tumble in!! 🙂 I know from experience that once I’m in, it’s very hard to get out!