Self pity clouds our vision

“Why does this stuff always happen to me?” says the guy who just ran head-on into our car while changing his radio station. His second car accident in as many weeks and he feels like someone is picking on him. His driving record indicates that he might be the problem.

He has taken his rash of car accidents and tickets and done what healthy people DO NOT do. He has overgeneralized his issue. He is blaming it on bad luck. Now I do not know this guy - maybe he has a lot of bad luck in his life.

But I suspect that if he were a bit healthier, he might discover some ways to change that reduces the PATTERN that his brain has identified as bad luck.

Do NOT overgeneralize and fall into a self-pity pot. We do not need to ask why God is picking on us because we don’t need to adopt a distorted image of God just so our brains can take a break. God doesn’t tempt or test us to see if we will be a good girl or boy, nor does God withholds good things from us.

My new acquaintance would do well to admit that he has a driving issue, not a luck problem. Maybe some classes would get his competency up and his driving record improved.

When we adjust our thinking, we often find solutions to our problems. That’s good news!!

Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

~ Psalm 143:10, The Message

Reframing

Shepherd of Israel, I am listening!

You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep.

You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures.

Show yourself 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!

Wake up me up to understand how you lead me!

Come to save us!

3 Restore us, God!

I long to see your face shine so that we can be saved! Forgive my distractibility!

4 Lord God of heavenly forces,

how long will I fume against your provision for me? How long will I ignore you?

5 You’ve fed us even when our disobedience brought us to tears;

you’ve given us water three times over because we have been stubbornly resistant!

6 Our selfishness has put us at odds with our neighbors;

our enemies make fun of us because we behave laughably.

7 Restore us, God of heavenly forces!

Make your face shine so that we can be saved!

The Israelites often expressed their self-pity over their difficult circumstances, some self-inflicted, others simply part of living life on life’s terms. It served neither them nor us well. How about we give it up for the Advent Season? Turn it in and ask for a refund. Instead, lean into the collective effervescence. In sickness and health. Conflict and camaraderie. Joy and sorrow. Getting our way or giving away our preferences for the sake of the tribe. How can we apply this to our decisions as we plan for our holiday festivities?

And maybe we can do what the Israelites got so very right - ask God to save and restore us so that we might see the value of singing in the rain, even if it is very, very uncomfortable.