When you've mucked things up – Don't give up!

Where do we go from here? I have said that to myself over and over again seemingly all of my adult life. Where do I go from here?
Mistakes aplenty seem to exude from my life like water over Niagara and accompanying these endless displays of ‘hiccups’ is the self-pity syndrome that comes along for the ride.
I love to throw “pity-parties” and have the world see exactly what a wonderful martyr I can be.
What does a guy like me have to do to break these cycles of worry, self-pity and the endless mistake making? What have I learnt after all these years.
I reckon one of the things I have learnt and am so grateful for is that God isn’t finished with me yet. Praise him that He has shown me that not one of us will ever be perfect and our very salvation is being perfected through His Holy Spirit constantly.
Usually when things go wrong instead of acting appropriately and working with God to find solutions I often indulge myself in a depressive mindset, feeding my melancholy state with my own despondency. I wallow in self-pity, become morose and start playing the ‘blame game’ to all and sundry who happen to be in my personal firing line.
When people like this sink into the ‘pity-party’ attitude they tend to focus on themselves and crave the attention of others, inadvertently inviting all and sundry to attend their ‘pity-party’ and join in the “poor me” chorus.
Self-pity is probably one of THE most destructive attitudes we can have. It robs us of self-confidence and Independence. Focusing everything on ME, we become self-centred and often physically exhausted.
We tend to worry more over every detail, becoming short tempered and easily upset by seemingly innocent remarks or actions by other people which in turn leads us to a never ending cycle of hurts and upsets.
Thinking about this problem has driven me to seek the Lord with a totally new focus. I have gleaned much from reading about how others in the Bible coped with ‘mucking things up’. It’s encouraging to know that where I am as a Christian many others have been there before me and yet have led lives for God in fulfilling and amazing ways.
Reading in 1 Kings 19, I was astonished to see that even Elijah fell into the “mucking things up and self-pity’ brigade.
He had just shown what a mighty warrior he was for God because he had actually killed all of King Ahab’s and his wicked Queen Jezebel’s prophets of Baal with the sword – the lot by himself, then surprisingly took off because he was afraid of Jezebel’s promise of death.
She had said to him “may the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them” 1 Kings 19:1
Elijah had had enough, he fell into wallowing in self-pity and said to God “it is enough! Now Lord take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
I can relate so well to Elijah here. He started to worry, then worry led to a presumption of an outcome that was pretty much sewn up in his own mind. He focused on the problem and he focused on himself!  Does it ring any bells with you? It certainly did with me!
Elijah retreated into himself – he turned away – you can imagine him crawling into a foetal position and just asking to die.
What does God tell him to do – well in a nutshell “get up and get moving”! It’s quite a story and well worth the read – I learnt so much here.
God wanted Elijah to be obedient rather than relying on his own emotions. He wants from us the same thing – genuine repentance and a reliance and trust on Him.
It’s just so easy to become a victim instead of a warrior. God Himself has provided solutions for us time and time again to alleviate and get rid of the victimisation and self-pity syndrome. He has told us and re-told us not to worry and certainly not to bring others in on our worrying and self-pity cycles.
Jesus is ALL we need – all of our worries, all of concerns and uncertainties and indeed our misgivings and apprehensions can be handed to him.
In fact all of our self esteem and confidence comes FROM Him so we really don’t need to go bandying about and sharing our worries with all we meet, seeking pity and self confidence in them when we have the very best listener and the actual author of empathy, sympathy and supportiveness right here in our lives.
Being focused on ourselves can bring about pretty big disasters. Look at Abraham and Sarah. Told by God that they would be the parents of a great nation – as numerous as the sands of the seas or the stars in the sky. Did they believe Him? in a way they did but they thought they would do it their way and so the whole ‘Hagar incident’ came about with disastrous effects.
Yes we can ‘muck things up’ so easily. We can through self-pity spoil amazing plans God has for our lives, simply by looking inward and not trusting God.
We can let worry overtake us and inadvertently drag others down with us to an never ending spiral of self doubt and depression.
I guess in lots of ways it is only natural, being human, that we can respond to difficulties, trials and struggles with self-pity and ‘what did I do to deserve this’ attitude, but don’t be mislead, it is not because of worldly pressures that ultimately lead us to self pity.
These pressures can either lead us to excessive worry, self-pity or to all sorts of dilemma and mistakes or it can lead us to overcoming through the example of the selfless Jesus – the great overcomer.
So, with God’s Spirit living in us we can choose to trust God and refuse to indulge and wallow in our so-called natural desires of feeling sorry for ourselves and giving in to our all-consuming worries.
We can be warriors for Jesus, regardless of our past mistakes. we can be overcomers with Him who saved us in the first place.
May God bless you as you put aside any thoughts of  self and stride out purposefully with Jesus. The very ‘author and finisher of our faith.

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1 reply

  1. Thanks for sharing these wise words with us Bruce. I see me in this article – “sigh”. 🙂 May Christ be our all at all times. God bless you Bruce.

Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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