A little bit ago I had one of those weeks that was a struggle in the ~feelings and drama~ department. You know when you just get in a funk? When nothing seems right and it rains too many days in a row?
I was truly a pouty, pitiful mess. I chose to internalize and pick apart every single little thing that went remotely wrong and, in doing so, threw a blowout of a self-pity party.
Self pity is a sticky, tricky thing. Sometimes it is super obvious. Sometimes it sneaks in and breeds discontent and bitterness in the most sly way so that you think you're TOTALLY JUSTIFIED in feeling unloved and misunderstood and victim-y.
That is the place I found myself. I was all, "I am trying so hard here and it is obviously everyone else's fault that I feel crappy. Woe is moi."
Specifically, I was frustrated at my (incredibly gracious, kind, and dear) boyfriend. For the record, he had done zero things to deserve my pitiful wrath. But somehow I had decided I was the victim and the problem all at the same time, and it was clearly his fault that I was not feeling very loved on and OBVIOUSLY THAT IS MY BOO'S JOB, RIGHT.
You guys this is one of satan's best self-pity tricks. He gets us to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves because:
1) We think we aren't good enough to be loved and
2) We feel we are owed love because we are obviously trying to be lovable.
Ew. Ick. Bad. And also...flawed logic in the biggest way.
Operating under the delusion that love needs to be earned, that it is a reward for good behavior, is toxic and dangerous and prideful. It leads literally only to self pity. The inner monologue goes something like this...
I'm not ever good enough, but even when I try to be the love isn't reciprocated like I think it should be. I am so unlovable. People are so unloving. UHG.
Have you ever been there? It's a terrible cycle, and one that traps us far, far too easily.
So there was me: pouty, tragic, and hurt. Holding a grudge against the person who least deserved it. Full of self pity. Over. It.
I came home on a Tuesday, drug myself up my bedroom stairs, and STOPPED DEAD IN MY TRACKS.
There was a brand new (to me) desk in my room, set up with my books and mirror and a lamp turned on to make everything cozy. A writing desk. From the sweetest boy in the entire world. Who saw my bad attitude and raised me the most gracious act of service.
I could have cried. (I did, a little bit.) All the wind in the sails of my self-pity sailboat immediately died. And in that moment, I was hardcore gospel-ed by a desk.
This wasn't love that I had earned, because (let's be honest) I most definitely had not earned it. I was the opposite of deserving. But my boy loved on me anyway, because that’s what real love does. The way love works—the only way it can ever work—is when it is given like a present on Christmas Day. (Or a desk on a Tuesday.)
Love, when it is given as a gift, is freeing, mind-blowing, and completely disarming. It leaves no room for self pity. It leaves no room for fear or selfishness. It deflates the ego while simultaneously bestowing worth. (Which, incidentally, crushes satan's two-pronged self pity attack into one million tiny pieces.)
And while being given a desk by your boo is a really tender picture of what love is, here's the real joy, y'all:
Any gift-love we experience from another human points us directly to a sweet Savior, our one truest Love, who quietly whispers:
Beloved, you don't have to be perfect in order for me to want to lavish love upon you.
The gift-love of Christ is extravagant and precious and it changes absolutely everything.
We are the least deserving of grace and love from the Creator of the cosmos. We cannot and never will earn the favor of God. But he still looks each of us right in the eye and says,
I love you. I will move mountains to have you.
That truth can change us. That truth is meant to change us. The love of Christ is the wellspring from which everything else flows. It means that fear, anger, and pride have no place. Instead, we can operate from places of love, humility and courage. If we know we are loved extravagantly, it frees us up to love extravagantly.
If you're deep in the throes of self pity, sit right here for a minute:
You are loved more fully than you can ever comprehend, by a Savior who died to rescue your undeserving soul. Whatever pity party you're throwing is a giant lie meant to distract you from the life-altering beauty of the gospel. Don't miss it. Don't be held captive by the lie that you can earn love. Earning love isn't love at all.
Gift-love, on the other hand, will rock your world in the best way. And THAT is what Jesus offers each of us. Take it. Soak it up. Revel in it. Bid pity parties adieu.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.