I don’t know what you have gone through. But I do know that satan seeks to persuade you that your suffering and struggles have set you apart. It is almost like you hear a whispering in your ear convincing you that your past separates you from other people.
In the years after my daughter died, I saw myself as a survivor. Someone who had been to hell and back, and made it out alive. The tragedy defined me. I believed that I deserved extra compassion because of the loss I had suffered.
When times were tough, I expected special concessions. When life was good, I saw myself as a hero for being happy. Most of all, I saw myself as different.
It’s a mindset
As I went on to have more children, this mindset continued. When I stood at the school gates waiting for my son to finish lessons, I thought of myself as the bereaved mum. Others had more normal stories but I had lost my little girl.
I was always aware of the people that I had told versus those that did not know. It was the unspoken but ever-present issue. It was my elephant in the room.
When we see ourselves as different, we make allowances for all sorts of things. We accept isolation, allow negative thinking and excuse bad behaviour. When we believe our lives are unusual, we can think that we can’t achieve the breakthroughs that others enjoy.
This type of thinking all too easily leads to self-pity. It can leave us feeling badly done by, disappointed and dejected. It does not create an atmosphere for faith or determination. It makes us feel like downing tools and giving up. Left unchecked, self-pity is a destiny destroyer.
Joseph must have been tempted to feel sorry for himself, and with good reason. He was betrayed, beaten, enslaved and imprisoned. Imagine how many times he must have felt like giving up on God. After all, it looked like God had given up on him.
How often must he have felt like forsaking his dreams? They must have seemed like a joke as he swept the floors in Potiphar’s house. Then when promotion out of slavery seemed a possibility, he was accused of rape and thrown into prison.
After several years inside, he thought escape was certain when he gave an accurate prophetic word to a palace worker. Unfortunately, his ticket to freedom (the butler) completely forgot about Joseph for two long years.
How many times do we look at the delays and disappointments of our lives and feel forgotten? If the enemy can keep us thinking that we have been forsaken, he can trap us in our misery.
Self-pity is a common human reaction to pain and hardship. We think we have been short-changed, we believe that we have had more than our fair share of struggles. It makes us focus on ourselves and our problems.
Although Job had every right to feel dejected, it never helped him. He not only felt sorry for himself, he also hankered after the sympathy of others: “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has struck me!” (Job 19:21).
Sometimes we just want people to acknowledge the cruelty of our lives, but it was only when Job took his eyes off his terrible troubles and instead reminded himself of the genuine goodness and greatness of God that his circumstances started to change.
Self-pity nearly killed Jonah. He resented the Lord showing mercy on the people of Nineveh. Their undeserved blessing somehow made him feel robbed. Does that sound familiar? He was grieved when he witnessed God showing favour to unworthy sinners. He could not handle the kindness of The Lord because it did not seem fair.
The Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun. It teaches us that no trial we face is unique. Others have fought our giants – and won. When I stopped thinking my story was special, it set me free. Let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and instead get really grateful.
If you want to be free from inner issues so that you can fulfil your purpose, I encourage you to order my book 30 Day Detox for your Soul from Amazon. Also, come to Healed for Life, our transformational event that helps get you ready for your destiny. See jonaughton.com for details