Continued from here.
God created us to worship Him, so if anything other than God is the primary focus of our lives, we are going to be miserable. By nature, pity parties place ourselves at the center of our lives, which the Bible calls pride.
I had a difficult time applying the label of “pride” to myself because I had such low self-esteem. I saw prideful people as those who were overly proud of themselves – as in believing they were better than everyone else whereas I saw myself as more pathetic than everyone else. I was shocked to learn that these extremes were two sides of the same coin. Just as someone who is beautiful can be prideful by always thinking of ways she is better than everyone else, I was prideful in thinking of ways that I was worse off than everyone else. In both cases, the self is the center of one’s focus rather than God, which is pride.
An even more difficult label for me to accept was “idolatry.” I believed that idolatry was one of the Ten Commandments that I did not need to worry about. After all, I never bowed down to a golden or wooden image of Baal or other “god.” However, idolatry is anything that we bow down to instead of God, and I repeatedly “bowed down” to my emotional pain, which I saw as bigger than God. When the Bible said that God would give me “beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Is. 61:3), I didn’t believe it because I had not experienced it.
I wanted God to do all the work of healing my emotional pain without my having to do my part of forgiving my abusers, and that’s not the way it works. I cannot pray a pumpkin patch into existence without first planting pumpkin seeds. While God can do anything, he requires the farmer to plant the pumpkin seeds first. Then, He does His part to grow those seeds into pumpkins. The same concept applies to experiencing healing from your emotional pain. Until you plant the seeds of forgiveness and gratitude, the healing God promises in the Bible will elude you – not because God is not capable of healing you but because God is waiting for you to do your part before He will do His.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace crying with a cat. Courtesy Bitmoji.]