As I read this chapter I realized that I had already made this choice by the simple fact of how my personality developed. My natural personality is impatient. Impatience doesn’t like parties! For me, feeling sorry for myself is a waste of time. You will not find me attending pity parties willingly. Impatience doesn’t like to waste time. When I was younger this translated to having a tough attitude. You know, the pick yourself up and keep going type. The problem was it got me going but often in the wrong direction and with the wrong motives.
However, not all personalities develop the same. Wouldn’t you know it, my patient husband came to me with a Master degree in pity parties. Needless to say, we have had many battles over this. Very ugly! The larger the pity party He would throw, the more I would ignore him and actually think less of him. So, although I didn’t tend to throw pity parties, I experience pity parties by proxy.
What God had given me, was man who is loving and gentle and kind and all I could see is this pity party area. Boy, was the plank truly in my eye, but I was trying so hard to clean the speck out of my husband’s. See, pity parties are bad but even worse is judging those who do so with a prideful attitude. That was me and still is at times. It always is and always will be me that needs to change….because that is the only person I can change and the one who needs it the most.
Joyce writes, ” It is amazing how easy it is to stay out of self-pity if we look at the other person’s side and not just our own. Self pity is supported by thinking only of us and no one else. God will not deliver you by your own hand, but by His. Only God can change people!”
I am the one who needed to change. What a challenge to me, to submit to God as my husband learned about pity parties. I would like to write, that I do a great job at this, but then I would have to repent for lying. I don’t do a good job at this at all. In fact, I consider this a perfect place for the scripture that says, “His strength is made perfect in my weakness.” It is a place of great faith for me. What I am learning is to ask God for His perspective of the moment. Instead of being angry at being forced to be apart of Gabriel’s pity party. I get to seek God for His plan. It is amazing what happens when I allow God to lead me. I begin to see the holes in my husband’s heart that need to be filled. I see the hurt that caused him to respond this way. I begin to understand how empty he must be feeling. In that moment is my opportunity to Godly love. In fact, God has equipped me with the healing love that my husband needs. If I focus on Gabriel, his needs and mine will be met supernaturally by God. But if my focus is on how stupid it is that he is upset about this or that, then war will break out. Satan wins and we each lose. I lose my opportunity to grow in love. Gabriel is hurt more and I have to go around the mountain yet again. Yet, when I let God help me choose the right focus, my heart changes from harshness and judgment to kindness and compassion. God will use me to minister the comfort and support my husband needs, in words and expression that touch his heart. Peace reigns and victory comes. We all win and Satan loses! Love is expressed and the supernatural comes into reality. This is my heart desire but still very much a work in progress for me. As I allow God to change me, it helps my husband in his own transformation. I become a helpmate instead of a hinder-mate.
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.
Pity traps our focus on ourselves and strands us in the past. It disables God’s ability in our life. Not because He isn’t greater but rather because we chose to stop His flow. God said HE would take care of us and He will. Joyces writes and I strongly agree with it, “Self pity is perverted, because it is taking something that God intended to be given to others and turns it in on ourselves.” However, it is how we are taught to deal with ourselves. It is the human way of dealing. When we try to met our needs, we are saying to God, “You aren’t great enough or care enough to take care of what I need. So I will fulfill my own needs.” Getting our needs met becomes our true focus and actual place of worship. We use our strength and ability to do that. But God has a new way. A better way.
18 Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
I am learning to let God do a new thing…..to change my prideful response to pity parties. He is faithfully making a way through this emotional wilderness for me, but also for my beloved husband. The places in our relationship that had become wasted through hardness of heart and pits of woundedness have become rivers. Rivers filled with His living water that flows through our beings and touches each others hearts. No more pity parties but instead parties of His power, His restoration, His refreshment.