Get Out of the Pity Party

II Cor. 10:1-12 Bringing every thought into captivity–the weapons of our warfare are not human but mighty through God [v. 4].

You know, there is no excuse for the failure of a marriage in present day America. The primary reason for failure is that we fail in controlling our own selfish natures. Every single women’s magazine as well as other publications regularly have articles on marriage. For 30 years I’ve been reading popular women’s magazines. Two themes have consistently remained at the top of the list: how to lose weight and how to improve one’s marriage.

However, when you take a look at the marriage and divorce statistics in our country, you figure no one is reading that stuff. It’s not that no one reads it, we do. But reading the prescription and putting it into practice is like trying to keep water and oil mixed. The only hope in any endeavor to accomplish real and lasting change in our lives is with the help of Christ. The act of trying to get the victory over the weaknesses in our lives matures us, deepens our relationship with Him, and makes us a better person.

Take dieting for instance. Is there a normal woman in America that has been satisfied with her physical condition? One wonders. I myself have a whole shelf of a dozen or so books and a file of numerous magazine articles on health, nutrition, and dieting. Why do I continue to purchase those things? The everlasting hope is that one of those plans will easily and effortlessly turn me into a Miss America.

My friend, that thinking is defeatist. There is no magic pill or special dispensation of God that will suddenly and miraculously make us gorgeous. The best lessons learned in life are accomplished through hard work, struggle, and force of will.

Take the case of Rush Limbaugh. He lost a great deal of weight. His radio listeners saw him on television and the news was out. They wanted to know his “secret.” Guess what? There isn’t any. His father died from complications related to diabetes. Rush watched him suffer and decided that he needed to get himself into a healthier state. There was no special trick or magical pill or specified diet. Yet people want him to write a book about his experience so they can do it too. Rush makes no secret about the fact that he and his wife have a cook who leaves them their dinner before she goes for the day. They leave the meal planning up to her and don’t snack. Not too many of us can afford to have this luxury. What works for our neighbor may not work for us — we need our own plan. (By the way, I wrote this article some time ago. I have no idea how Rush Limbaugh looks now but at the time of its writing, he had slimmed down a great deal.)

People, we don’t need a new book. We need to dig deep down inside of ourselves and pull out the character, resolution, and stick-to-it-iveness required to take control of this aspect of our lives. I’ve had it for a week or two or even a year. Then it fades away again like the dye in a new pair of blue jeans.

Life changes are difficult to maintain over the long haul so we need to take life one day at a time.

Matthew 6:31-34 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Our lives are so blessed yet we are so spoiled that we have no character for getting through hardship. Believe me, it is hardship to try and control seemingly uncontrollable habits.

I know what it takes, but I haven’t been able to sustain the actions long enough–yet. But, you know, I finally decided to stop buying diet books. The information is all so contradictory anyway that after reading 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 of them, you are probably worse off than when you were totally ignorant on the subject.

More importantly, we must get the help of the Holy Spirit in it so we can give the glory of success to God who richly deserves it. II Cor. 12:9-10. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Rejoice in your weaknesses for it is a sure sign that you need Christ to make you strong. You show His glory through your own infirmities. Others see you reacting in such an opposite way to how others handle troubles, that they see not you but Christ working.

Our culture is far too hung up on how our bodies look. Guess what? That body will die and decay. If only we could be so intent on getting our souls into great shape! That is the part of us that lives on, yet we spend huge amounts of time and energy on these physical houses.

Think of it. We sleep 8 out of 24 hours. When I read that Martha Stewart sleeps only 5 hours per night, I stopped wondering why I wasn’t more like her. We eat at least 2-3 times per day. Guess what? The majority of diet info hitting the media now advocates eating 6-10 tiny meals per day. Don’t we already spend too much of our day in food preparation?

We have to shower every day, dress, exercise, do laundry so we can keep looking great. What a time sink all of these activities are! Add in the thousands of hours I and perhaps you have spent looking in the mirror and bemoaning the fact that we don’t look like a super model and we realize that we have wasted a great deal of time. Get over it! Move on!

I Tim. 2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

I Pet. 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man [woman] of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (verses leading up to this are directed at wives being in subjection to their husbands)

I am not advocating sloppiness or uncleanliness. I am saying, let’s get things in proper perspective. All of that primping, food preparation, and thought time wishing we were who we are not is a waste. Satan can use this tool to keep us from doing God’s righteousness and work.

Jesus said look at the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin but Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as beautifully as these. Our heavenly father provides for us. He loves us just as we are. It’s okay to accept ourselves just as we are. It is not okay to forsake working for the kingdom. God tells us what our priorities are to be: serving Him, walking humbly before Him, telling others about Him, growing spiritually as we travel this sod. In Philippians, he tells us what to think about: the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise.

We are wasting too much time searching for the lazy, simple answer to a monstrously complex issue: the subjection of our human body and appetites. How about the old axiom “moderation in all things”? Cut down food, increase activity, stop being addicted to food as our pleasurable indulgence in life, and look toward God to give us spiritual growth–the one thing that really lasts.

Take control–just do it–stop being a whiner–summon up the strength to say no to food and temptation. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind us that we eat to live we don’t live to eat. If we can’t–accept ourselves and quit agonizing. We should do something about the things in our lives that we can successfully improve and quit wasting mental energy in feeling sorry for ourselves.

Now I started out on marriage and got sidetracked on to dieting. The solution is the same. Quit expecting the unrealistic. In marriage, we have to dig down and suppress our own selfish desires and work (yes, I said consciously work) at making our marriage relationship wonderful and long lasting. We must stop thinking about ourselves and what we want–get busy figuring out how to please our spouse. There is no better cure for depression or the doldrums or disatisfaction than to get out of the pity party and do something for someone else.

There are no magic formulas in life. We determine how we act, react, and perform. The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that we have a support system and a guide book to help us. The Lord will go with us every step of the way. He will give us the desires of our hearts when they are in harmony with His will for our lives. Quit complaining about all of the injustices and do something positive for someone else. The best place to start is with our loved ones and most especially our spouse.

Jesus said, And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matt. 20:27,28

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.

There is joy in serving others. Don’t we want to live a life of delight in serving our King rather than a life of defeat in wishing we were different? Everything God created is wonderfully made and He made you and He made me. We should live lives that show the glory of His creation to others.

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It’s impossible — Luke 18:27

I can’t go on — II Cor. 12:19

I can’t do it — Phil 4:13

It’s not worth it — Rom. 8:28

I feel all alone — Heb. 13:5

I’m afraid — II Tim. 1:7


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