“I’m just going to lay here in my soiled bed and be smelly and hungry and depressed until I either starve to death or get kicked out of my apartment, whichever happens first.” Those were the words that I muttered in my head this morning after I had just lost my mandarin instructor job which was my main source of income due to not having money for gas. When my legs got too antsy to stay still under the covers, I got up and checked my facebook page and email hoping that there would be some notes of sympathy from my friends in response to my post last night. In my post I had been lamenting over my job situation and telling people to come and take stuff from my apartment if they wanted any of it. “Please let me know if you want it or I’m going to call Goodwill to take it all. I don’t have the energy or the heart to move it to storage,” I wailed. Several people responded with possible solutions for my income situation and/or ideas for managing my possessions. I ignored all of those and instead gravitated towards the ones that sounded like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You must be going through such a hard time. You poor thing.” (Please do not misunderstand me. Those of you who did express sympathy, I appreciate it. I am targeting only myself in my rebuke.)
You know what’s interesting about this whole thing? Well, several things. First, while I was in emotional pain yesterday morning (before I had lost my job) my pastor warned me about self pity. You know what my response was (in thought not in word)? “How dare he think I’m just feeling sorry for myself! He has no idea what kind of pain I’m going through!” In other words, “How dare he not come to my pity party!” Also, perhaps the most striking thought was that I was offered provision for gas, but refused it because I didn’t see how it would help. “Boo hoo! I’m never going to be stable enough no matter how much help I receive from those who love me. Woe is me!” Last night at 10:00 the mother of the kid I nanny for called me while the music for my pity party was blaring its loudest. She said that she has a friend in need of a babysitter tonight and wanted to know if I would be able to do it. Guess what I said. You guessed it! “(Sniffle, sniffle) I don’t have any money for gas. (Sniffle, hiccup)”
Do any of you want to strangle me yet? (Or at least slap some sense into me?) Well, that’s what God did through an email from my pastor. It wasn’t really anything he said, but the fact that he was still committed to loving me and helping me succeed deflated the imaginary black balloons I had hung all over my mind. Suddenly I realized that God was not going to let me give up (tangibly represented by the call at 10:00 last night). He has provided everything I need and continues to provide like a never-ending fountain of grace even after my blow-ups. At that moment, I also received God’s enabling to receive his provision of grace through the lifting of my emotions. I marveled at the mercy of God who not only provides his grace, but also the means to receive it. I got up, showered, accepted the provision for gas, and called the mother to tell her that I would be able to take the job tonight. Then I went online and searched for teaching jobs for the fall and found open positions in my favorite grade level. I instantly applied and loved how easy it was since I was already in the district’s system having worked as a teacher there before I got laid off a couple years ago.
Pity parties are deadly, and I had to experience a loud one in order to realize just how deadly they are. So to my pastor and all others who have persistently pulled me out of bed and torn up my black invitations, thank you for not coming to my party and insisting on life and joy for me. Most of all, thank you to my Savior who continues to relentlessly pursue me and never lets go of me!