I found myself internally shaking my head in disbelief. Looking at the women around me, I could tell that they were as mystified as I was.
A woman had been telling us about how she was overwhelmed this year and simply did not know how she was going to pull off Thanksgiving Dinner. Nobody ever helped her and she just wasn't feeling up to it this year.
The six other women at our table began to offer suggestions. Perhaps she could just make the turkey and the other guests could bring various items. She shook her head. No, she didn't mind doing all the cooking. It was the clean-up afterwards. No one helped.
Hmm... well, perhaps she could use disposable products. That would cut down on the clean-up. No, that wouldn't work either because her husband didn't would want a "real" plate. Someone drily remarked, "Well, give him his own plate and tell him he can wash it." Our laughter quickly died when she did not join in.
The suggestion was made that if Thanksgiving was too much and no one helped with the clean up, perhaps going out to eat would be another option. There are numerous Thanksgiving buffets in our area which when you add up the cost of making a full dinner, really are a viable option. Oh, no, no, no. Her husband and adult children would never stand for it if she did not make Thanksgiving Dinner.
As she shot down one suggestion after another, refusing to even take a moment to consider them, it dawned on us that she was not looking for solutions. She was seeking sympathy by way of complaints.
We've all been guilty of it. We start out thinking about all the things we must do or what people expect of us or what has happened to us and if we are not careful, we shift into high gear and quickly drive into the State of Self-Pity. It is not a good place to live, let alone visit!
When we are there, we are unable to see past ourselves and our needs and we wear our neediness like a badge. If anyone offers us a way(s) out of our need, we reject it. "No, no, no... I couldn't do that, they wouldn't do that, it wouldn't work. Sigh... I will just have to make the best of it".
This sort of attitude does not please God and quite frankly it is not good for us. It wears us down, robbing us of the joy God gives us, robbing us of our strength. It drives people away from us rather than drawing them to us. It eats away at our testimony.
When you find yourself in the State of Self-Pity, remember God has given you the freedom to leave it! Take those thoughts captive, bring them to the Father and leave them there. Ask Him to replace them with the thoughts of contentment which we get when we are resting in Him. And if your brothers and sisters give you advice... listen.