Yesterday I threw myself a major pity party. Oh yes, I did. And I held nothing back–tears, laments, rants, the works. It was a sight but not a pretty one.
Aren’t you glad you missed it.
I know my husband wishes he had.
It’s funny, really (in retrospect that is, only in retrospect–a pity party is never funny at the time). I had had a great week–a GREAT week. The conclusion of a fantastic six weeks in Bible study, our usual celebratory meal at the Chinese restaurant, and hey, seeing my name in print. True, I’ve been feeling somewhat under the weather and cannot discount the effect the physical has on the emotional well being, but feeling yuck aside, it was a good week.
So, despite a great week with much to boast in the Lord about, last night I crashed and burned instead.
Interestingly, one of the questions from Bible study last week, one we didn’t get around to discussing, asked why great defeats often follow great victories. Surely there are greater victories than going out to eat Chinese food with ten of your closest friends and certainly there are greater defeats than a crying fit on a Friday night but I think the question can still apply. Why does defeat seem to follow victory? Why a pity party at the close of a great week of seeing the Lord’s faithfulness?
I don’t know but I suspect it has something to do with my pride. I know my pity party sure did. Pride, that insidious, rebellious demand for self glory, it is not only the root of my pity but also my discontent, my envy, my bitterness. Psalm 10:4 describes the prideful as having no room in his (her) thoughts for God. How true. How horribly, heartrendingly true. When I indulge in a party party I have room for one thought and one thought only: ME. Poor me. Poor, unappreciated, overlooked ME.
As we have discussed pride and humility these past few weeks of Bible study, we’ve often made the point that humility often comes through humiliation. The example of Nebuchadnezzar comes to mind, the king whose prideful response to the Lord’s confrontation resulted in being driven out from his people, eating grass like an ox, his hair and nails growing long and unkempt. Humiliation indeed. However, his humiliation was only for a time, and Nebuchadnezzar summarizes his experience by proclaiming:
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Dan. 4:37)
I know what you’re thinking. I wonder the same thing myself. Why go through the degradation of living like an animal? Why not just humble yourself and submit to the Lord’s authority? Don’t you know Who you’re dealing with? He’s the King of heaven, certainly able to humble your prideful self!
By the same token, in shame I must ask myself the same thing. Why (over) react to some perceived slight? Why even indulge in comparison-turned-discontent? Why jump into a full blown, all out, no holds barred pity party over something so silly? Why not just humble yourself? Don’t you know that He is able to humble those who walk in pride as well as those who wallow in self pity?
I have to admit, today I feel pretty stupid (though thankful I didn’t have to eat grass to get to that point). Stupid, foolish pride. Faithful, holy God who lovingly disciplines His children, humbling them when they will not choose it for themselves. It’s not the first time I’ve had to learn this lesson; I wonder if it will be my last. I’m sure my husband hopes so.