Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking My Eyes Off Myself

Please allow yourself a few extra minutes to read this post.
Grab some coffee or come back when you'll have a bit of quiet.
It will be worth it, I promise.
Last night I went to a meeting with fellow home schooling mothers.  I attend monthly and count myself fortunate to do so.
We discuss a different topic each month, based on writings by Charlotte Mason, whose educational philosophy and methods we all follow.

Our topic last night was joy.  
In light of this post, I knew I wanted to attend even more than I usually do.

It was a good discussion, and the part that hit home most to me was the discussion of self pity.
I have been inclined to some self pity in the past few months.
And in the past few days, I have been hit over the head with reminders that I need to change my attitude.

This description of self pity, by Miss Mason herself, sums up so exactly the dangerous and destructive nature of self pity.
It robs us of our joy.
Self-Pity.––There is another class of persons in whom Pity is strong and ever-active; but all their pity is given to one object, and neither sorrow, pain, nor any other distress outside of that object has power to move them. These are the people who pity themselves. Any cause of pity is sufficient and all-absorbing. They are sorry for themselves because they have a headache, because they have a toothache, or because they have not golden hair; because they are lovely and unnoticed, or because they are lanky and unlovely; because they have to get up early, or because breakfast is not to their mind; because brother or sister has some pleasure which they have not, or because someone whose notice they crave does not speak to them, or, speaking, says, 'Make haste,' or 'Sit straight,' or some other form of 'Bo to a goose!' Such things are not to be borne, and the self-pitiful creature goes about all day with sullen countenance. As he or she grows older you hear of many injuries from friends, much neglect, much want of love, and, above all, want of comprehension, because the person who pities himself is never 'understood' by others. Even if he is a tolerably strong person he may become a hypochondriac, with a pain here, and a sensation there, which he will detail to his doctor by the hour. The doctor is sorry for his unhappy patient, and knows that he suffers from a worse malady than he himself imagines; but he has no drugs for Self-pity, though he may give bottles of coloured water and bread pills to humour his patient. You are inclined to laugh at what seems to be a morbid, that is, diseased, state of mind; but, indeed, the Demon of Pity, Self-pity, is an insidious foe. Many people, apparently strong and good, have been induced by him to give up their whole lives to brooding over some real or fancied injury. No tenant of the heart has alienated more friends or done more to banish the joys of life. (Charlotte Mason volume 4, pg 90)

Then, this morning, I awoke to read two eye opening blog posts.

The first is from my friend Nicole, and is about her  one year old daughter, Anabelle.  
Annabelle has spinal bifida and Nicole's daily life with her involves things I have never had to deal with.  Physical therapy, catheters and many rounds of doctor visits are all part of their life now.  Nicole also has a husband and 2 sons to care for.
I am certain she is often overwhelmed and if anyone could be given to self pity, it should rigthfully be Nicole.
But she she just plugs along and takes care of her baby girl and all the rest of the things she has to do as a wife and mother.
Last night Annabelle was admitted into the hospital.
She is having severe difficulty with her bowels.
You can read about what is going on here.
Go read it now.
Quite  a reality check, right?
Here I am, blogging about making orange juice with my kids and there is Nicole, up to her arms in poop.
Pray for Anabelle, will you?

The other story I read is of Joanne. 

Joanne is a 38 year old wife and mother.  
She is a writer.
3 days ago she suffered a massive stroke and is in the fight of her life.
I have been following her blog--had never hear of it before Tuesday-- and saw this post by her husband.
Go read it now.
Yet another reality check.
Please pray for Joanne and her family.

It is easy to get caught up in our own problems and our own sorrows.

And while I will not deny there have been things in my life as of late that have brought me great sadness, in comparison to what so many other people are going through, my problems are small.
It is important to have the proper perspective.
Otherwise we turn to self pity and we are robbed of all joy.

Taking my eyes off myself and putting them on others keeps me from being self absorbed and helps me be others absorbed.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."  Philippians 2:3-4

I have such a long way to go.
And I am grateful for the opportunity to think of others, to pray for them and to take my eyes off myself.

Wishing you a joy filled day.
Love from,


The Melvin Fam said...

Well said, my friend. :)

Pam... said...

A reality check of us all. Thanks for sharing, and for letting us share in the lifting up of others in prayer. I love the idea of studying Charlotte's writings from the character aspect (vs. what I usually focus on, which is the academic type stuff she writes.) Now I have an idea to pray about. I may just start a similar thing. God bless you and cause your countenance to shine with hope and joy in him. I pray he will put a song of praise in your head that will 'turn on' whenever you begin to go to those low places. That you will set your mind on things above. That you will cast down every other thought that is not pure, lovely, virtuous. That this casting down will become a habit. I need to do this I speak to myself also. Much love to you, pam

Lillian said...

Your post today certainly spoke to my heart for who among us does not struggle with self pity.....but praise God, He is faithful to forgive us our sin and give us someone else to pray for. As I was moving things around, in what I call my office, I picked up a book of memory verses that Dori put together for the women in our Bible study. These verses spoke to many issues in your post about suffering and struggles....and praises to God. Philippians 4:4-8. A worthy goal!
I will be praying for the two women you who's lives you shared about today. I will be praying for you my Greta girl and I hope you will pray for me as well, as I continue to yield to the Holy Spirit working in me.

Phyllis said...

I understand. I had a similar thing when I read about this:

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a great post....

and what a wonderful lady Joanne is

Kristine said...

Beautiful, Greta. I love how I often come home from these meetings with conviction to make changes and adjustments along with great tips on how to implement them. It was a good reminder for us all. Thanks for being transparent and still for encouraging the rest of us to take time to do things that matter (like homemade cakes and OJ) :)
Love you. And always enjoy seeing you at the meetings. Your smile is infectious.