Self-Pity and the Pansy
Maybe it’s the time of year (will this winter ever end?) or the fact that I was mostly housebound with sickness in the family for a few weeks, but suddenly it seemed like everyone else was going somewhere, doing something, having fun and I wasn’t. Disappointment loomed and before I knew it, I was feeling sorry for myself.
Of course, this sort of scenario happens to everyone – both in seemingly small situations like this, and even bigger life situations like these: It seems like all my friends are getting married, except for me.It seems like everyone else is having a baby, except for me.
It seems like I am the only one who has to walk through grief.
It seems like everyone else has the perfect family relationships, or the ability to buy a new house, or…
I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. Be careful! Thinking like this leads to self-pity! The Lord recently taught me 3 lessons about self-pity, and I thought I would share their (convicting) message with you.
Every situation that comes into my life is designed by God. Even if it is a temptation to sin that is coming from the devil, it has been allowed into my life by God, because He knows that I need that right now. When I am tempted to blame my situations or difficulties on someone else, I need to remember that ultimately, it is God Who has arranged for me to walk through this at this time. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Self-pity is discontent with God’s plan for me. At its very heart, it is rebellion against God, because I am saying to Him that I think I have a better plan. It is a rude awakening when I realize that my inner griping is such a serious sin: as serious as witchcraft! “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23)
Every time I am tempted to self-pity, I am being given an opportunity to build my character, a chance to put my faith into action in my life. By refusing self-pity, I am showing that I DO trust in God’s plan for my life, even in the hard times. If I find myself spending a lot of time in prayer, asking God to change my situation, maybe I need to pray instead for my situation to change me!
I recently read a little story that inspired me. A king was strolling through his gardens one day and found nearly everything dying and withering away. The oak tree was upset, because it was not tall like the pine. The pine was sick, because it had no sweet fruit like the apple tree. This same discontent spread through the whole garden, down to even the smallest plants. The daffodils would not lift their heads, because they had no sweet scent like the roses. The roses would not bloom, because they were so disturbed about their thorns. Finally, the king happened upon the pansy, which had its cheerful face turned fully to the sun.
“Well, little flower,” said the king, “I’m glad that at least one of my plants is happy.”
“Your Majesty,” replied the pansy, “I know that I am small and delicate, and I have no scent, but I decided that you must have wanted a pansy here when you planted me. If you had desired a rose, or an oak, you would have planted that instead. So I’m just determined to be the best little pansy I can be!”
May we all decide to set aside our discontent and self-pity about those things in life we can’t change, and instead determine to just be the best little flower we can be – right where the King has planted us!