“Self-pity is a vacuum into which gratitude cannot enter. In fact, self-pity and thanksgiving cannot coexist. They are mutually exclusive. Although thanksgiving is the antidote to this poison, few bound by self-pity will take the foray into expressing thanks for all the blessings they do have.” – William P Farley, “The Poison of Self-Pity”
Thanksgiving is the antidote to self-pity.
Self-pity is a weed that grows in the garden of expectations. I expect an easy life. I won’t have to suffer. Things should always go my way.
Self-pity says things like: I can’t believe this is happening to me. I don’t deserve this. How could a loving God do this to me? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why does this have to happen now?
Self-pity forgets all God’s benefits. It fails to give thanks. Instead it focuses on what it doesn’t have. What it thinks it should have but doesn’t.
That’s why its antidote is giving thanks. So if you’re entrenched in self-pity, or have recently been slipping into it, you can turn it around.
Start thanking God for anything and everything you can. Thank him for saving you and forgiving your sins. For giving you eternal life. For giving you his Holy Spirit. For adopting you into his family. For his steadfast love that never ceases.
Thank him for his mercies. For NOT giving you what you DO deserve – his condemnation and wrath. For being your refuge and strength. For being a sympathetic high priest who knows what you’re going through and cares about you in it. For any respite or relief from your pain, for the gift of sleep, for friends who pray for you and care about you.
Thanksgiving is a fight. Especially when you don’t feel like it. It’s a fight against self-pity. It’s a fight of faith.
Thanksgiving is the antidote to self- pity.
Write that down. Read the above quote again. Get a journal and record all God’s benefits. Thank God for as many things as you can each day – your food, your sight, hearing, taste and touch. For whatever provision God supplies.
Thank God that he is using your suffering to make you like Christ, to produce perseverance, character and hope. And thank Jesus that someday he’ll wipe away every tear from your eyes.
So if you catch yourself asking why is this happening to me, grab yourself, shake yourself and start to offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving. You’ll find joy will begin to trickle back into your soul.