I thought my depression was rearing it’s ugly head the last few weeks, but I realized today that it’s actually self-pity.
There’s nothing pretty about self-pity. It’s defined as pity for oneself, especially a self-indulgent attitude concerning one’s own difficulties, hardships.
Check, check, check. All me.
Woe is me, I don’t have my dream job or dream man. Woe is me, I have a mental illness that holds me back in life. Woe is me, I’m all full of woe.
I’m so glad the Lord revealed what is really going on in my heart because I was going to talk to my psychiatrist about upping my Prozac. It’s not medication I need, it’s a change of heart!
My wise friend Jeffery Holton told me today that a business lesson he has learned over the past decade is: “do something. Even doing the wrong thing is preferable to doing nothing. You can change course. But it’s easier to move, either way, once you already have momentum.”
So that’s what I’m going to do. Something. The first thing I’m going to do is finish writing this blog entry. Lately I’ve felt too sorry for myself to even write here, because it’s hard to feel inspired or be inspirational when you are in a downward spiral of self-pity. So by writing this entry I’m doing something. Score.
The next something
I’m going to do is give thanks. It head butts self-pity. 1 Thess. 5:16-18 came to mind this afternoon as I was awakening to the truth about my malady. It says “Be joyful always:
give thanks in all
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That little word “all” is a game changer. God didn’t say give thanks when times are good and be self-indulgent when times are bad. No. He said give thanks in ALL circumstances. So here’s the thing. Most of my days slip through my fingers without meaning. I long for more but do nothing to move forward. I forget to give thanks because I obsess about what I don’t have. The devil is great at reminding me what I am lacking. Giving thanks is not part of my normal routine because I’ve been bitter about what God seems to be withholding. Self-pity sure is ugly.
The truth is that I have much to be thankful for. To name a few: a roof over my head, clothes on my back, water that flows without end, food that is plenty, a family who loves me, friends who care deeply about me, and a God who, in His sovereignty, gives me exactly what I need when I need it and not a minute before. I am blessed.
For my second something I will start a gratitude journal. It’s a move in the right direction. I can choose to feel sorry for myself, or I can choose to be thankful and joyful because of what God is doing in my life. The truth is that no one gets a perfect life. Even if I did have a dream career and the ideal man, I would have obstacles and still battle self-pity, it would just take a different shape. Something along the lines of: “I wish I could work less and be at home more” or “Why won’t they give me a raise?” or “He forgot our anniversary, he must not love me anymore” or “I used to think it was so cute how he used to pick at his food but now I’d just like it if he ate what I cooked.”
We all have this chance to have self-pity OR to say, “Life is not perfect. But I have a gracious God and so much to be thankful for, so I’m not going to let self-pity win.”
This may be the six shots of espresso I had earlier talking, but I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. It’s not too late for me to do more somethings. I know that self-pity will rear it’s ugly head again but I can recognize it for what it is and move beyond it with God’s grace.
One small something at a time.