Self-Focused Suffering {Day 5 of Sorry, Not Sorry}

Pain, injury, illness.  Unpleasantness, defeat, loss, damage.

If you’ve lived on this planet for more than a few days, you’ve experienced one of these to some degree. You’ve know pain or loss. You’ve known illness or endured injury.  Perhaps you feel damaged.

You’ve suffered.  

Day 5 of 31 (1)

And before we even get started, don’t compare “suffering.” Do NOT let Satan win the day by feeding you lies about how your suffering is worse than or less than so and so’s suffering. Don’t even let yourself travel down the path of “oh, I’ve never really suffered compared to those living in poverty.” That might be true.  Maybe you and I do not know TRUE suffering by the world’s definition, but this is NOT about what the world says.  

This is about you.  Your pain, injury, illness. Your defeat, loss, or damage.  

What story would you tell me if we were to sit down for coffee?  Cancer treatments. Husband’s infidelity.  Friend’s rejection.  Daily depression. Unending infertility.  Dad’s death.

Loneliness.  Loss.  Betrayal.  Illness.

Whether physical or emotional, suffering is suffering

If you’re in the midst of the pain now, acknowledge it. Say aloud to the room or to a friend – this stinks. I am suffering. {Again, none of the “I don’t really have it that bad” stuff. Name the pain.}

If the pain lies in the past, take a moment to reflect on that time.

Whether now or then, just sit in the struggle for a moments. Acknowledge it. Admit how you feel about the suffering and the people you feel caused it.  And if you feel God caused it or allowed it, and you’re angry at Him, say so.

I have done this a few times.  I am the girl who says…oh, my “suffering” is nothing. I’ve been to Honduras, I read Humans of New York, I see the news.  My suffering can’t compare to the Syrian refugees being whipped in the town square because they shaved their beards.

And, friends.  My suffering can not and does not compare to that.  But, if I do not acknowledge my pain and its legitimacy, I may be stuck forever  – and not even realize it.  

I won’t share the details of what my heart deemed “suffering,” but life was hard for a few years.  I don’t care which side of a divorce you are on, it is hard.  

And you know what I noticed in the season of suffering?  While I was going through heartbreak and transition?  It was so very hard to focus on anything or anyone but myself.  I didn’t realize it at the time or while in the process.  I did my best to love others, keep serving, keep caring.  But, in hindsight, my heart couldn’t seem to move away from my trials.

If I had spare time alone, I’d think through the what-ifs and the unfairness.  Someone would be sharing their heart with me, and I’d hear myself telling them about me.  I saw my pain in everything. 

Being so self-focused lead me to apologizing – over and over. Because I was so stuck in my own head and my own pain, I felt sorry for myself and that spilled as apology for everything – my parenting, my messy house,  my lack of discipline, my inability to lose weight.  

Apology permeated my life.  

Thankfully, Jesus did not leave or forsake me.  He (with the help of friends) slowly began to point out the self absorption and the resulting apologies.

And, I realized:  My focus HAD to change.  Instead of mucking around in the mire, I had to move forward – move my focus off self and onto Jesus.

{Day 6: Lean on the Lord}

Comments

  1. I can relate to so much of this!! I was actually thinking about this just today. Thank you for putting it to words better than I could!

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