I don’t think you’d be human if you were sunshine and roses every day, especially in the face of chronic struggles and hardships. However, some will tell you you’re not a good Christian if you share that you are depressed or upset or frustrated. It’s not like the Lord doesn’t know you feel this way. It hasn’t escaped His notice. It’s not a sin to be angry or sad or frustrated with your situation. It’s only destructive if you stay there. It can actually be quite therapeutic to throw yourself a little pity party now and again.
I think the only people who don’t ever go down deep in the valley of despair are those who don’t have any problems. Know any people without any problems? Me either!
So when you’re exhausted after getting up in the morning, when you go looking for your sandwich in the closet, when your electric bill is past due, when you have only two nickels to rub together…AGAIN, you will enter the valley. What you do there and how long you stay will determine your quality of life and the joy you find in spite of it all.
THE VALUE OF A PITY PARTY:
Allow yourself time to grieve and/or express your negative emotions so you can move on. Without a pity party, some find it difficult to gather the strength to move on to life’s next chronic hurdle, because they haven’t dealt with the previous one. Making time to express anger, sadness or frustration can help you get rid of those feelings.
WHAT TO DO AT YOUR PITY PARTY:
Invite people to your pity party. You don’t have to send out formal invitations or anything, but fellowship with one or two trusted Christian friends or family members. They will not only understand and allow you to vent, but will lead you out of the valley of despair and back to the Lord. They can also help by validating your feelings so you aren’t concentrating energy on justifying why you feel the way you do. You have a right to your feelings. You don’t have to marry them, but you have a right to feel them. You come by them honestly.
Play “Woe is Me.” Express how you feel and allow your trusted friends or family members to see the real you – even if it isn’t pretty. This is your party and you can cry if you want to, so cry if you want to! You’ll feel better afterward.
Allow friends or family to lift you up. I know it’s frustrating to make a single statement and have well-meaning Christians jump all over you about not being positive, telling you just to cheer up, but once you’ve had a good cry (or scream as the case may be), you need to be lifted up out of the valley or you’ll be tempted to stay there. And trust me, pity parties are a nice place to visit, but you don’t want to live there! Your friends want to help. Let them.
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOUR PITY PARTY:
Have some FUN! Here are a few ideas:
- Go for a walk. Look for the beauty God put on this earth.
- See the humor in your situation and poke a little fun at yourself.
- Lift someone else’s spirits. Make someone laugh.
- Concentrate on someone else’s problems and try to help. It’s amazing how focusing on others will draw you out of the pit.
- Write about it.
- Sing about it.
- Hug your blessings (better known as your children).
- Hug someone else’s children. LOL!
- Pray. Ask God to take this from you and, if He doesn’t, pray that He would use it to lift someone else up.
- Lastly, thank God.
Thank the good Lord for the good things in your life. Count your blessings. You have some! Even in the lowest pit of despair, you have blessings you can count. If your dishwasher breaks and you can’t afford to fix it, thank God that your water bill is paid for this month and you can afford dish soap. If you’re so tired you can’t get out of bed, thank God for your bed. If your pain level is high, thank Him for the life you have and the chance to perhaps find some answers.
Maybe you’ll discover a $20 bill in the couch that will pay for a few groceries. I’ve looked there a time or two myself!
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I pray this has been helpful and up-lifting. Share your feedback in the comments, or your story. And be sure to pass this post along to others who might need a little help planning a pity party of their own.
JO JO TABARES is a Christian author, speaker and chronic illness survivor who shares her humorous and inspiring insights on www.JoJoisms.com. She is a regular contributor on SheLovesGod.com and her articles have appeared in various homeschool magazines such as The Old Schoolhouse, and on websites such as Dr. Laura.com.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.