Carried By Goodness

I have been feeling sorry for myself lately.  

I went three days this past week without much sleep, averaging only 4.5 hours per night.  Additionally, my allergies have also been acting up, which has made me even more miserable. 

Add to that the usual stresses of work, life, parenting, etc., plus some additional anxieties that I have willingly and foolishly taken on, and you've got a full-blown pity party in the making. 

Maybe some of you resonate with this.  

You've had a rough week, a month, or perhaps even a year.  It feels like the deck is stacked against you, the stars aren't aligned in your favor---or several other metaphors that describe the tyranny of your circumstances.

And maybe this has led you to think some pretty dark things about yourself.  Perhaps you've decided that you're cursed somehow.  

Or you have begun to believe that you're now paying for all the sins of your youth. You might also think God might be ticked off at you for reasons that are unknown to you.   

Here's the thing about the self-pity trap that so many of us fall into: 

It permeates every aspect of your life, blurs your vision, keeps you from experiencing joy, and is not grounded in reality.  

It's also not at all what God wants for us.  In fact, I'm going to be bold and say that if I had to assign self-pity a spiritual label, I'd have to classify it as demonic.  I know that might sound a bit strange, but let me explain. 

Self-pity is a shadow that emerges from our spiritual world that obscures the image of God within us from sight and keeps us from being the people God longs for us to be.  So to call it demonic isn't weird or overly Christian; it's just accurate. 
Some time ago, I was introduced to a beautiful Ojibway First Nation saying that I recently read again in a random email: 

Sometimes I  go about pitying myself
And all the while, I am being carried across
the sky
By beautiful clouds 

It's taken me a long time to truly understand what this saying means, and even as I write this sentence, I realize I may not get it entirely.  But I'll have a go: 
When I'm full of self-pity, it becomes nearly impossible for me to see beyond the six inches in front of my nose.  The whole world collapses into a view that I can handle. 

And in those moments, I'm too focused on myself to realize just how much goodness there is in the world.  I'm also too preoccupied with my own junk to notice how I'm being lifted up and carried by this goodness--every day, all the time.   

But if I am strong enough to let go of my self-pity and raise my head, I will see the source of all that goodness is present all around me, in me, and through me.  

God is the source of the goodness, as you might imagine.  But God is not only the source but also the goodness itself.   It's all God---all of those "beautiful clouds" carrying us across the sky.  

May you and I come to know this truth in our hearts: We are carried by God through all our trials and travails---lifted up by goodness, sustained by love.  Never forsaken, always cherished and held.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and forever. Amen.  


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