Our tendency in the midst of trials is to focus on ourselves. Everyone who’s honest and walking with the Lord through a trial probably realizes this at some point or another. It is so, so easy to turn inward and focus on how we feel and what we need. But in truth the only thing we need is Christ and to worry about other “needs” is to get caught up on distractions from Him and, even worse, tempt us to doubt His faithfulness and goodness and distrust His promises and His sovereign wisdom, implying that He is not doing what’s best for us.
One of the most lethal things for a Christian is self-pity. Think about it: It’s self-centered, it distracts you from Christ and others, it doubts God’s sovereign wisdom and faithfulness and goodness and perfect, loving plan. And it paralyzes you, making you unable to obey and serve God in the place He has put you. You risk losing control of your responsibilities to other people because you become so focused on yourself. We need to learn that self pity simply has to go: 101% of it. NONE LEFT. If you’ve established it as a patterned response to trial it takes a huge battle, training yourself to refuse it whenever it tempts you. We must learn to look away from ourselves and “just do things,” serving Christ and waiting on Him. The battle with self pity, once undertaken, is hard. But it will bear fruit, so be hopeful, trusting God’s promises: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” says James (James 4:7).
Learning to discipline our emotions and will so that we don’t indulge in feelings of self pity will set us free to a stability and happiness that equips us for serving God and others with cheerful abandon. The trick is to keep our eyes off of ourselves.