You know what I’m talking about… those “yucky” things we like to harbor within our hearts. Things like: selfishness, anger, bitterness, self-pity, hatred, jealousy, meanness, harshness, faithlessness, agitation, conflict, disloyalty…the list could go on…
There is a lot of “yuck” in our lives on a day to day basis. Especially if you’re married or a parent. It’s in those “yuck” moments that it can be very easy to slip into the pit of self pity, yo give in to our feelings of “my problem is worse than your problem and here is why.” We, as humans, are really good at justifying self pity, thanks Satan, who seeks to destroy our relationship with God and fuel the fire of “self”. His all-consuming goal is to keep “myself” first, and God last.
There are many days when I would like to stay curled in my bed under the warm covers, lock my door, and tell the world to leave me alone while I think of how awful my child’s death is for me. I could stay curled up in my bed thinking only of my misery and come up with innumerable reasons ans to how, in my mind, it trumps most anyone else’s misery.
Once I’m there, all tucked in and cozy with my self pity-centered thoughts…its mighty hard to get out of bed and brave the cold morning air. The longer I stay there, easier it is to justify not moving from there.
And that is where danger resides.
Danger resides in my comfort zone. The zone where the “yuck” is omnipresent. The zone where I feel entitled to myself and my own selfish thoughts. Just as laying in bed for days and months on end is dangerous and damaging to one’s body physically, so self pity and self justification are just as dangerous to my soul. There’s a reason the “pity pit” is so enticing. It’s comfortable, familiar, enjoyable, even. After all, I am the “star of the show” in my pit. The center of attention. It’s all about me and I am the most important person there. We like those feelings. It’s part of how we are built as humans. So, we naturally tend to lean toward them.
Self pity allows my “self” to become my center, rather than God as my center. If I give in to my human nature and let it run wildly away from God, then how can I expect God-centered results in my life?
Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the Spirit gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong.” (ICB)
A life centered on God bring these things:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
Which, in turn, means a life centered on me brings the opposite: hate, depression, sadness, disloyalty, unhappiness, corruption, dishonesty, weakness, lies, mercilessness, anger, rashness…(to name a few).
Here is what I have learned…Satan’s best plans are usually comfortable and appealing. God’s best plans are usually seemingly impossible and vague. Oftentimes, we feel unqualified or ill-prepared to follow God’s direction. Our default is to go to what we know and like…but I propose rethinking that.
I will be the first to tell you that I want to give in to the “yuck” some mornings. I want to stay in bed and cry and think over how extremely awful my situation is. I want to make sure the world knows my “yuck” trumps anyone else’s. At least in my mind, it does. Sometimes the “yuck” is over my son who died. Sometimes I just want to think of all the “yuck” than could include any number of day-to-day things like: my marriage, our finances, friends and/ or relationship strains, or kids…or really anything else.
But,I have a choice…to follow “me” or to follow God each day. So, I get up. I leave the comfort of my covers and polar fleece sheets, and I get dressed. Add I try to move forward.
Living outside of the “yuck” takes a daily conscious and intentional effort. It takes intention to live. To show up. To serve others instead of myself. To write. To be a friend. To be the spouse and parent God calls me to be. To follow God in the daily moments. Sometimes, even to breathe.
It takes intention, determination, (and some days something close to a miracle for me) to not crawl back into my pit of self pity at the first offense, or the second, or the twelfth.
God is there, with me and beside even through my moments of “yuck”. But, its really hard to see Him or feel Him through all that “yuck”. And it’s really easy to feel the ”yuck” that surrounds me.
I guess that’s where my faith steps in. I must have faith that God is there even when I can’t see or feel Him. I must trust that He will guide me through this mess of slime and “yuck” and into a shower of clarity and love one day. I must seach within myself and push the “yuck” that I can away so that I can see the good God has for me more clearly.
I think that sometimes, God allows this “yuck” to consume us so that we can learn about the strength of our faith, the level of trust we have within Him. Sometimes he allows the “yuck” so that we can learn something that we could learn no other way.
Going through the “yuck” doesn’t always feel like it, but is as awful as it sounds. And when we find our way out, it brings an even greater reward in the shower of God’s grace.