On Team Jesus?
Though we serve the true and living God, and we’ve been given all-access to the all-powerful Almighty, every now and then you’ll run into a miserable teammate.
You know the ones. No matter what’s going on with you or the world, their story is always the saddest, the worst-est, the gloomiest?
For instance, if you have a headache, he has a migraine. If you have a migraine, she’s having an aneurysm. Shameless misery monopoly. There is no way you’re going to beat them at being the most miserable and unfortunate person on planet Earth.
The Winning Losers
Are you the King or Queen of Misery Monopoly? Are you constantly inviting guests to your big, red hotel on Boardwalk for the latest Pity Party?
To be honest, I have been on both sides of the dice a time or two in my life – either shielding myself from their barrage of despair OR battling for my own claim to miserable fame.
For years, I wore “my truth” of abuse, absentee Father/Daddy issues, clinical depression, and a plethora of other doom-and-glooms on my sleeve. My misery was justified and I had the honorary scar-badges to prove it.
It took one heck of a life-fight to stop re-telling those stories, get unstuck, and turn the pages of a life with less despair, more Truth and Love. Even as a follower of Christ, maybe you, too, are becoming aware of your addiction to sympathy and misery, and you’re ready for a change.
The Dungeon of Gloom: Keep Out!
Here are some ways we can all keep our gloom, despair, and agony levels to their all-time low:
1. Reject the pity paycheck
Misery’s currency is pity, and when you are rich in pity, your personal growth goes BANKRUPT! Imagine a toddler learning how to walk, and a parent running to sympathetic rescue every time she falls down. Will that child ever learn how to take a fall and get back up on her own two feet – no! Self-pity, pity parties, being over-stimulated by the sympathy of others sucks hidden strength from your core before you get a chance to tap into it. Don’t cheat your own personal and Christian growth with pity pennies! You are worth more.
2. Remember there’s always someone worse off than you
Pass the mic, Team! Are you hogging the mic because you think no one else knows the song? Truth is – somebody DOES know the trouble you’ve seen – and then some! No matter how valid our sadness, gloom, and despair may be, things could always be worse. Unfortunately, somewhere in the world – it is! There are people in this world facing homelessness, starvation, isolation, and death who would give their all in exchange for your worries. Yes, we face some challenging times in our lives, but none of us has a true monopoly on pain and suffering.
3. Accentuate the positives
Whatever you focus on, talk about, give energy to grows. What’s in your mouth? Do you emphasize that your car was almost paid off before it was totaled, OR that you actually walked away from a totaled car with your health and well-being? Will you bless the Lord at all times (Psalms 34:1)?
When telling your stories of misery, do you realize that the breath used to speak signifies that you still have life to choose differently, be better, grow, overcome, change, live nevertheless? It’s the little things, tiny seed blessings that will bloom if we’d just give them our attention. So, if you really want to keep the gloomies away, sprinkle your life with a little gratitude – what we are grateful for grows!
There’s Gain in Pain
Sure, you want to win, gain something, benefit from your pain. I understand; I do too! But we must accept that whatever we think we gain from misery, gloom, and pity – it’s NOT winning and deserves no place on this winning Team!
Here’s how to gain from pain: Believe in the overcoming power of Jesus Christ, and keep living and trusting God with every baby step toward victory. Your victory will be a victory for other teammates, as we all win from each others’ testimony (Revelations 12:11).
So, What’s the Play Call?
Exchange your misery dice for the Master’s plan (Jeremiah 29:11). Trust that although rain will fall, hard times will come, persecution is uncomfortable – God’s plan for you is to prosper you through it all and give you hope and an abundant life.