Day #28

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

An acquaintance made a comment once that deeply wounded me. We were discussing depression, its causes, and how to reverse it. She said, “It’s just self-pity.” She didn’t realize how deep a pit of depression I was in at the time and how shamed I felt at the thought that I’d fallen prey to self-pity. 

In fairness to her, she had a point. If she’d presented the issue in a more constructive way, it would have turned my life around. Rather than, “Depressed people feel sorry for themselves,” she may have said, “Gratitude can make us healthier.” 

Many studies have shown gratitude to be effective in combatting depression and other psychological disorders. But one particular study shows that it can make us physically healthier and more motivated to take care of our health. The experimenters studied ungrad students in three groups. Once a week, one group listed five impacting events, one listed five complaints, and one listed five gratitudes. After 10 weeks, the gratitude group not only felt better, but exercised more. The amount of research on the effects of gratitude to our physical, mental, and spiritual health is incalculable. 

Sometimes life becomes overwhelming. The problems loom large. It is then that the positives get pushed out of our awareness. But giving thanks for what is good can lift us up to a better place. So think of three good things in your life right now and speak them out loud. 

And let us pray. Dear God, in Christ Jesus you have saved us from death. If that is the only thing for which we can praise you for eternity, it is enough. But there is so much more. You send so many tokens of your love to us each day, and we miss them. Help us become more mindful of the good is our prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

42 thoughts on “Day #28

  1. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    I appreciate looking at life through the lense of gratitude. There are many things I can feel self-pity about and I deal with it daily, but I’m so thankful I can talk to God about it all, because He helps change my angle of vision. Gratitude is what I strive for each day through God’s love, grace, mercy.
    Peace

    Reply
  2. Daniel Parsons

    Share with us something you’re tempted to feel self-pity about, but that, looked at from another angle, becomes a source of gratitude.

    It is easy for me to feel self-pity over my health problems that I self-inflicted when I was a younger man. Looking from another angle, my wife Patricia and I are very careful about what we put into our minds and bodies. Our diet is very clean, we only drink pure water or herbal teas and exercise regularly.

    Reply
  3. Cheryl

    I have been tempted to live in self pity because my expectations haven’t been met by me or my family members. I’m trying to look at my traumas and trials as the way God is trying to teach me to let go and trust Him. That He is working to change my character for my good. The refining process is difficult and painful. I’m working on being grateful for this.

    I’m grateful for the Jesus meditations too.

    Reply
    1. Rumb

      All the traumas and unmet expectations have also really taught me about forgiveness. I went into a season of deep searching out of what forgiveness really is and what it looks like in principle. It was hard, but I had the opportunity to see into the heart of God. It’s still a learning process but God has been faithful.

      Reply
  4. Valerie

    Sometimes when I am exhausted it gets really hard to speak Norwegian (I live here now and speak fluently). It gets annoying and frustrating when I feel like I can’t say anything right. I can feel tempted to feel self-pity that I even have to speak Norwegian at all, that I’m “stuck” in Norway and studying in Norwegian, wishing I could just dump it because it’s hard. In those times I can be grateful that I was able to learn Norwegian at all and that it has made life overseas much easier and opened doors to more opportunities and friendships. And I can speak more directly to my husband’s heart in his native language.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      I know all about how difficult listening to and speaking another language can be when you’re tired! I’m surrounded by other languages, too, but my classes are all in English. That’s so amazing that you’re studying in Norwegian! You’re stretching your mind in more ways than one, and someday, I hope and pray, you’ll be just as comfortable in Norwegian as you are in English.

      Reply
    1. Shirley Mann

      I can relate. I haven’t had as much snow as usual so far this winter, but I agree – it looks nice and shoveling is good exercise.

      Reply
  5. Jane

    I’m sometimes tempted to feel self-pity regarding being the caretaker for my widowed elderly mother. Part of my emotions are likely to be driven by my fear of what the future holds if her memory issues continue to worsen. It’s a scary thought to think she may come to a point where she no longer knows who I am, but I need not borrow trouble from tomorrow. The Lord promises to give me the strength I need for whatever lies ahead. Looking from the angle of blessing, because of her need for help, I spend more time with my mom than I might have otherwise. I have the opportunity to honor her with the care I give, just like she cared for me when I was young. I want to find the good in the moments of today and am thankful that she is currently still able to live in her home at this point.

    Reply
  6. Sabrina

    I’m sometimes tempted to feel self-pity for how many hours I’ve had to put in at work and how stressful it has been recently. But I’m grateful to have work in a place where I have opportunities for ministry, and I was able to get this job a few months ago at a time when many people had lost their jobs.

    Reply
  7. Kristina

    I am sometimes tempted to feel self pity when my husband has to work extra long hours at the hospital because of covid but I am grateful that he has a job and is able to provide for us and is able to help others.

    Reply
  8. Shirley Mann

    I guess I sometimes feel self-pity that I do not walk as fast as I used to. Getting old does slow one down! However, the alternative to getting old is not so great. Many people die before they get to my age. I am grateful that I can still walk and am fairly healthy in general.

    Reply
  9. Sharon

    So many to choose from, again. One repeated temptation to self-pity is whenever someone brings up the cultural and societal expectations of my age group. By those standards I’m an absolute failure. I have very little in common with most people my age, who have at least somewhat met those expectations. My life is the road less taken, so to speak. I’ve always been different, but I still struggle often with the fact that I don’t really fit in anywhere. And yet, the fact that I don’t fit in, and haven’t lived up to the world’s standard, is a benefit, because it lessens the allure of this earthly life and keeps the reality of this sinful world not being my true home in clearer view.

    Reply
    1. Megan

      You’re not alone, Sharon. It’s so tempting to compare ourselves to where we feel we ‘should’ be, especially if others make us feel inadequate with where we are. Yet, Jesus can work in us, and through us, even if our lives don’t follow the standard pattern or script. He’s that good! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  10. Nicky Dube

    Hello everyone, in answer to today’s prompt, I am likely to feel self pity about all the challenges in my life but when I look at challenges from a different angle, they are what God uses to produce good fruit in me. What a journey this has been. I can’t believe it’s almost over! Or maybe it’s just beginning

    Reply
  11. Mel

    Sometimes I’m tempted to feel self pity that I have to work to help support the family rather than be able to stay home full time with my kids. But I’m choosing to be grateful that God has given me a steady job when my husbands job is not, I’m grateful that even though I have to go to work, the children still get to be home with their dad , I’m thankful that my husband loves gardening so his extra time at home fills our basement with lots of food for the winter. I’m also grateful for all these reframing exercises we’ve been doing, which is challenging my thinking and helping me to choose to think things that build myself and others up, rather than just bring me down.

    Reply
  12. Ann

    Oh I can be good at self pity. It’s not pretty. And makes me feel even worse. And yes, being grateful makes life much more bearable and joyful.

    Reply
  13. Megan

    I can relate to being deeply wounded by people who don’t understand depression and make callous remarks. If they could only see the damage they inflict, they would surely repent. Words deployed in a careless manner can kill.

    A ready source of self pity for me has been having a poorly-understood chronic illness. Sometimes I look healthy enough, but am unable to keep up with healthy people. This has occasionally resulted in judgement: people drawing wrong conclusions about my character, attitude, or willpower… without ever seeking to understand. It really hurts when people assume the worst about you, just because you don’t have good health and can’t participate like they can. It’s like languishing in an invisible prison, being taunted by those who are fit and free.

    Anyway…

    With that said, I am grateful for a couple of friends who have so far proven to be safe. I’m grateful to have a place to live. I’m especially grateful that this world and its ways are not all there is.

    Reply
  14. Karen

    I am tempted to feel self pity about my children’s decisions, but looked at that from another angle, I know exactly what to pray for. Prayer is a powerful weapon. Thank you God for giving me the ‘other angle’ on viewing this agonizing, ‘taking over my day kind of worry’ so I do not fall prey to self pity.

    Reply
  15. Amy

    At times I have felt self-pity over having a learning and behavior challenged child. It can be hard to socialize with him and I have to homeschool to meet his needs so my options are limited. However, my son is such a special kid whom I love deeply and he is teaching me so much about myself. Perhaps we are meant to heal together.

    Reply
  16. Sarah

    Right now the thing I am most tempted to feel self-pity about is having no support group. When I pointed out the abuse that was happening, the directors didn’t believe me. Neither did some of my childhood friends. They chose the abusers and the directors began making my life so difficult I knew the only healthy choice was for me to leave. I have been on my own less than a year, and I flounder around a lot still, but being on my own has also given me the freedom to rethink how God is calling me to do this work without being required to fulfill the demands and expectations of others. Freedom to think for myself and follow my convictions is such a blessing!

    Reply
  17. Jenny Montenegro

    Gratitude is the only thing that had gotten me out of bed when in “the depths of despair”. I have started with being thankful for my bed and then my sheet, my comforter etc…

    Reply
  18. Vanessa

    Yes, gratitude does lift my spirits. When I take the scenic route home, I’ll converse with God and just give thanks all the way home.

    Reply
  19. Tara

    I often get super overwhelmed and feeling sorry for myself doing the accounting at the mission school we work at. I’m a math teacher, not an accountant. 🙂 BUT, it’s only challenging and time-consuming because there is money to count. So I am very thankful for that. God has done some amazing things here in the last three years. And He’s always provided for our needs.

    Reply
  20. Nowelle

    I’m tempted to self pity our current living situation. We’re working on a project at a mission school, and we’ve been here for two months longer than planned…but, the area we were going to go to got hit with snow and ice storms, so this is much better, and we have a roof over our heads with heat and power. We’re so blessed.

    Reply
  21. Ericka

    im not entirely sure that i have a good grasp on self pity.
    but i guess my gut instinct is to say that i sometimes get in my own head about how bummed i feel about things sometimes and i forget to look around. life isnt that bad, even if i feel bad.

    Reply

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