Self -pity is an appealing companion. It’s always on my side, constantly agreeing with my complaints and affirming my rights to this or that. It doesn’t shout or bully, it operates in smooth subtlety.
Self-pity says, “Come here Rachel, tell me all about it. I’ll listen to you since it’s apparent nobody else will… I know Rachel, I know you deserve better.” It’s like a faithful friend who says “I’m here when you need me. And I won’t say a word, I’ll just let you do all the talking.” Harmless right?
Wrong. The moment I begin to entertain self-pity, anger walks into the room of my heart and begins to make itself comfortable nodding in agreement and scowling. Before you know it, fear sulks in, glances at the other “guests” and settles across the room. A pungent odor seeps under the door as bitterness slithers into place. Then comes, doubt, confusion, and finally.. regret.
How did I get here? This is not the company I would like to keep and I certainly don’t want them talking to each other (as anger shakes hands with unsettled doubt)! Wait. This is MY heart, shouldn’t I have a say in who gets to make themselves at home here?
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
– Proverbs 4:23 –
How do I “keep” my heart? I’m all too familiar with what it looks like to have an unkept heart — it does some pretty nasty damage to me and to those around me. But surely there is something I can do to guard it?
David, a man after God’s own heart, asked the same question thousands of years ago:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
– Psalm 119:9-11 –
Ah ha. What my heart seeks is what enters into it.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 –
As Scriptures begin to fill my head, I notice a new guest in my heart. Someone who has been there since the beginning of this unsightly gathering: the Holy Spirit. He looks me intently in the eye and then looks around the room. He’s got everyone’s attention.
Slowly but surely the unwanted guests leave, anger storms out (of course), doubt gives the Holy Spirit a skeptical and haughty once-over… but heads for the exit. And eventually, it’s just me and Him.
Me and Him.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart.”
Who or what are you allowing into your heart? Does your life feel unkept? Could it be reflecting the condition of your heart?
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:7 –