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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Self Pity and Selfishness

Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are not quite what WE would like them to be. Sometimes people do not act how WE think they should. Sometimes WE think one thing should go 'this way' but it goes 'that way' instead. When these things happen (and they will) what is our reaction?
The bible encourages us to give thanks in everything. Do we believe that? We might say we do, but do we really? Maybe we believe it when 'everything' is going OUR way, however what happens when 'everything' seems to be going 'wrong'? If we would but just step back and think instead of react in the flesh we might see things differently. We might really be able to give thanks in everything ... even the seemingly 'bad' things. Afterall, don't all things work together for good if we love the Lord and are walking in his will?

But then maybe that's the problem right there. We must check ourselves. Do we really love the Lord like we say we do? He has told us that if we love him we will keep his words. Are we keeping his words? One thing he said over and over again (in direct and indirect ways) was that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbour as ourselves. Are we doing this truly to the best of our ability? Do we seek out ways to please the Lord and to bless others? Or are we moping around wondering why no one likes us? Maybe we are hiding in our houses doing our own thing because we are 'too shy' to go help someone else? Shy? Really? Or selfish?

A brother has said "you are only as close as you want to be." I remember when I first started visiting churches over 10 years ago. I was 'shy' and found it hard to step outside of myself and try to be social. Often times I found myself standing against the wall, feeling sorry for myself, wondering why no one would come talk to me. "I just don't fit in" or "They must not like me" and other like thoughts would fill my mind. I consider myself a pretty logical thinker, however that logic goes out the window when self pity strikes. Thankfully my logic came back and I found myself thinking, "Why don't I just go talk to someone instead of waiting for someone to come talk to me?" Dah! It worked great and I made friends. The saying really is true - you are only as close as YOU want to be.

Waiting for someone else to do something before you will be happy or before you will step out is just plain selfish. We must love others more than we love ourselves ... and when that happens I believe there will be no room for self pity. These thoughts of self pity and all ... it's from Satan. Submit to God: deny yourself. Resist Satan and he will flee from you.

This also reminds me of my long-time excuse for not visiting the elderly. I really am not naturally a nurturing person. Some people are just that way. They see a need and have no problem whatsoever filling that need. They know how to deal with those who are sick, handicapped, or otherwise disabled in some way or another. My daughter is such a person and it's a blessing to see her work with the elderly and sick. She certainly did NOT learn this from me. People like me have to work hard to make this stuff happen. It takes a lot of effort. In the past I used my excuse of 'being shy' as a reason to not go minister to the elderly or those in need.

When I first moved here to Monett one day the elder told me he set up a little cleaning job for me -- I was to go to this elderly woman's house and clean her oven/stove out. I was SO NERVOUS. It really was a stretch for me. That was over four years ago; Brianna and I have been going about 3 times a week ever since. She liked me so much that first time that she wanted me to be her new helper ... I did not know that first time was a 'trial run' but it was. Christine is a dear old woman who has become exactly like a grandma to me and a 'great grandma' to Brianna and the boys (she is 94). She has become our family. How could I have ever been afraid of visiting her?? I was selfish, that's how.

Another time soon after that the elder came to me and said he thought I should go visit Vana at the nursing home. Nursing homes scared me and it was the last place I wanted to be. But, I could not argue because I KNEW it was the right thing to do. The children and I went and sang some hymns to her. Vana was in her early 60s and stricken with cerebral palsy. She could not move on her own except to flop one hand around a little and she could also move her head. She could not talk but was able to make some noise. Once in a while, on her good days I guess, she might make a noise enough like a word that we knew what she was saying, however this was pretty rare. Her body was tiny and shrivelled up from lack of use. For all of her handicaps, her brain was 100% normal. Could you imagine???? She was literally trapped inside her body. She spent her days staring at the wall, waiting for someone to come in and move her body around to prevent sores for forming. She also had to wait to relieve herself - the nurses were quite busy and could not always make it there on time. Someone had to feed her. Bathe her. Clothe her. Turn on music for her. Turn the TV on or off for her. She usually did not have a choice. Sometimes we'd walk in there and there was some violent movie on. She hated that! But she could do nothing about it and was always thankful when we came in at those moments. She'd much rather hear us sing than to listen to that garbage on TV.

So anyway, back to my first visit. We sang for her and tried to talk a little by introducing outselves. We spent about a half hour there and then hugged her goodbye. I cried when I left. How selfish I had been! I finally saw it and understood. It's not about ME!!! It's about loving others as Christ loved us. How shameful to stand before the Lord on judgement day and hear him say, "Why didn't you minister to those in need?" and my pathetic excuse, "Lord, I was shy!" His reply? "Why do you call me 'Lord' but not do the things that I say?" By rejecting others I was rejecting Christ.

I am so ashamed of how I used to be but praise the Lord for repentance and forgiveness ... and more importantly, for the freedom to move on and do his will.

This is an encouragement to you women who are facing those same struggles right now. If you feel alone, unloved, unwanted, shy or any other number of emotions, please see these for what they are: selfishness. Instead of wasting your time and energy feeling sorry for yourself, or letting your 'terrible past'  run your life today [because we ALL have a story to tell], go visit someone who really IS alone, unloved and unwanted. Make them loved! Make them wanted! Make them a part of your life so they are no longer alone!!

Are you a true follower of Christ? He says we are to deny ourselves and follow him. Do you think he would be sitting around feeling sorry for himself? No way! He'd be about his Father's business and if we really are his then we should be doing the same. And if you do, don't think you are doing anything special. No. You are only doing what you are SUPPOSED to be doing. Loving God and loving others.

Praise the Lord.


  1. This is a good post. although I don't feel sorry for myself or my life that I live, I too am shy and always have been. Many times I've thought that I should extend myself to help the elderly. But I have had to wrestle with my insecurity. This post was encouragement for me to push past myself and think of others. It is an eye opener to think of this shyness as maybe a bit of selfishness. Barbara

  2. I find this really inspiring! For me it got much easier with age. And many of us are going to face old age or disease where we are no longer able to help or serve others very much in the same ways - I know my mother (who is elderly) has a lot of comfort about the things she did over all the years she was healthy, strong, and able. The time we are given is precious!

    I know it doesn't really "feel like" selfishness to feel shy or frightened to reach out, but when we do that we are actually putting our own feeling of comfort above what other people might be receiving from us if we were to be in contact with them.


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