June 15, 2022 – Joni And Friends Daily Devotional | Wednesday Message
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TOPIC: Self-Pity at the Door
The modern technology that has brought us so many helpful new products, plastics, insecticides, and preservatives looms like a deadly curse for a friend of mine.
Linda has been chemically poisoned. As a result, she’s lost the ability to tolerate this synthetic world of ours. I went to see her last week at her little place tucked back in the Santa Barbara hills. For two weeks prior, I had to go through a total “detoxification” of my clothes, my body, and my hair. I couldn’t use any perfumes, deodorants, or soaps. I couldn’t even eat garlic or onion or anything spicy.
As we ate together in her home, Linda described an incident from the previous week. She had been forced to endure a lengthy confinement in her bedroom simply because the neighbors down the road were having a barbeque. One whiff of wind-blown lighter fluid can cause her to lose consciousness.
Because of her disability, Linda is mostly alone, isolated from friends and family. Yet her solitude is often disturbed by a persistent visitor at her door. This unwelcome acquaintance knocks and knocks, whining and pleading to get in.
His name is Self-Pity.
It’s certainly easy to understand why Linda feels tempted to let this unrelenting visitor in. It would be easy to feel sorry for herself when she has to use some ancient, metal piece of phone equipment with deteriorating parts that can’t be replaced. Her shouted conversations over that technology dinosaur leave her frustrated, exhausted—and more isolated than ever.
Does she have it rough? Uh-huh.
Don’t you think she deserves a some time off for a few hours visit with Self-Pity? Some people would say yes, and understandably so.
But Linda? Listen to what she told me.
“No, Joni, suffering and sickness and pain don’t rank high on my list of best possible options for a happy life. But God alone can determine what’s best for me. Only he sees the beginning from the end. He’s the only One who knows what it will take to conform me to the image of his Son. And he spares no pain in accomplishing his will in my life. I don’t need pity. And what I need even less is my own pity.”
We all find days when Self-Pity, like an unrelenting stalker, keeps peering in our windows or trying to slip in through the back door. These are days when we feel like nobody understands how tough we have it, what we’ve been through, or what we have to deal with.
Ah, poor me! you think to yourself.
Before you offer hospitality to Self-Pity—before you let him settle in and kick off his shoes—remember a lady named Linda in a little house in the Santa Barbara hills. Linda…who endures so much aloneness, but surrounds herself with the prayers of caring Christian friends, and refuses to allow Self-Pity to even get a foot in the door.
If she can keep that door closed and latched, so can you.
June 15, 2022 – Joni And Friends Daily Devotional | Wayside Interlude
“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:11-13, The Message
The best way to keep Self Pity from gaining a foothold in the living room of our souls is to refuse her entrance altogether. Ignore her knocks on the door. Close your ears to sad and sorrowful voice on your front steps. Denied entrance, she will go away. Encouraged even in the smallest ways, she will move in and become a permanent resident.
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