Stupid, Childish Pity-Party

Today I’m throwing myself a pity party.  I’m being a baby, and I know it.  I hate that about myself:  these feelings of entitlement, of ‘being deserving’ even when I have done nothing ‘deserving’ at all,… of wanting what I cannot have.  The list of things I’d do with $1 million dollars is growing, and I feel like a brat.  It’s not attractive, and more importantly, it’s not at all God-honoring.

Last night I had a great phone conversation with someone I love so much who has hit a few unwelcome road bumps lately [then again, when are road bumps welcome?].  Despite the grief and disappointment that has come with those bumps, this person is trying to flip the coin over and look for something shiny.  To see any flash of brilliance, any shade of light that might overtake the darkness of melancholy.  And I appreciate that attitude.  That kind of optimism, that kind of striving for hope, is to be admired.

Yet, I pointed out, while it is important to keep one’s chin up, it’s OK–necessary even–to sit in the pain.  To feel the hurt.  At least for a little while.

“Yes,” E* agreed, “…but in the scheme of things, do I really have it that bad?

OK.  If we’re comparing ourselves to the kids I saw in 2004 with my own eyes–using a filthy, stinking pit toilet in the middle of Africa, and returning home to a roof and four walls with no food and no parents–OK, no.  We are blessed beyond measure.  We are blessed beyond comprehension when held up to the rest of our world.  Knowing this, and marveling at my good fortune should preclude the kind of stupid wallowing I’m giving into today.

In Philippians, Paul says that “He has learned the secret to being content in every circumstance.” [4:11]

EVERY circumstance?!

As you continue reading, Paul talks about being content whether he’s well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want.  I wonder if, when Paul was strapping on his sandals, he ever wanted new sandals.  Better sandalsDesigner sandals. Or if he ever looked around his tent and thought about redecorating.  26_bedouin_tentOr adding on.  Perhaps tossing in a few extra floor pillows to “better minister to weary travelers.”

I know, ridiculous.  If Paul was alive and among us today, he wouldn’t be pining for a new iPhone or new bedding or a new van.  He wouldn’t be fretting about the catalog of dog-eared pages of things he wouldn’t be adding to his wardrobe.

Why do I give in to this trap of Western-bread materialism?

Do I honestly believe that the things lying out of reach right now will truly make me happy?  Am I that person?  Joyful only when the house is pretty and the closet is full and the car smells new?

That’s shameful.  I don’t want to be that person.  I want to live like that Tentmaker and know the kind of pure contentment he wrote about so long ago.

This has been hard to write, because in essence, today’s post is a confession.  A confession that I have a lot of gratitude to catch up on, and a good share of sourness that needs to be scrubbed away.

Will you join me in the scrubbing?

What do you need to confess?



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5 Responses to Stupid, Childish Pity-Party

  1. lwayswright says:

    that is the beauty of grace…it takes the unlovely, the messy lives we live, hopelessness and turns it into flickers of light, small glimmers of hope, it can make lovely miracles out of the unbelievably painful! Only grace can do that!

  2. Lor says:

    You are loved and you give more than you think.

  3. Pingback: Casino Life 102: Simple & Sharp « Admissions of a Suburban Philosopher

  4. Alex says:

    Hi Jane,

    I have an question about the wonderful photograph of the Bedouin tent here in your blog.

    I am a, JUST graduated, architectural student and I stumbled across the photo some months ago while researching my University Thesis – on sustainable and temporary construction.

    The academic project is now finished but it/I have been nominated for the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) annual student award. For this I need to present a small set of images for the judging panel to look at (and possibly publishing if I happened to win).

    SO… I would very much like to use it as an introductory image to illustrate the philosophy behind the project.

    If the photograph is yours, then could I please have permission to use it. If the photograph is not yours, do you know whose it is?

    Thank you very much,

    Alex

    • heartscape says:

      Alex,

      Hello! Congrats on the RIBA honor! I wish I could remember where I got that photo…I think it was just a random picture with no credit attached to it on the web. Did you try clicking on it? Otherwise, if you do an image search for Bedouin tent you might get lucky. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! Thanks for reading. Jane

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