No invitations to this party

Life is tough. My adorable little niece is only three years old. And even she seems to get it. My sister posted this picture on Facebook a while ago and I remember when I first saw it I literally laughed out loud.

I mean — what in the world can be going so horribly wrong in the life of a three-year old to bring about such a pouty face? Mommy didn’t let her eat an extra piece of candy? Daddy didn’t buy her the present that she wanted?  Her favorite barbies head fell off (I’m sure it happens)? 😉 Whatever it was – I bet it was quite terrible in her little world.

Looking at this picture bring me back to a memory… a memory of myself at eight years old – sitting in a dark closet – crying…  and waiting for someone to find me and punish me for the terrible thing I had done. From what I recall I had taken a closed bag of Doritos during a siblings birthday party…opened it… and ate it… (hopefully not all of it ^_^). I know – I was a bad little eight year old. If that’s what I did. I could have my story all wrong here. Nevertheless – what I do remember is sitting in that closet and waiting. Apparently I had a very strong conscience to make me feel so terrible over such a little thing.

I don’t know how long it took… but obviously, I didn’t stay in that closet forever. Eventually, the exact person that I was hoping would not find me…did – my dad. I’m not sure why I was scared of him at that moment. I don’t remember ever being “physically” punished by my dad – but apparently the thought of just being lectured by him for my horrible deed was enough for me.

After seeing me, and realizing that I had been crying he sat down next to me and asked me if I wanted him to bring me a big bucket. I was really confused so I asked him why – and he said it was so that I could put all my tears into it and then once it got filled up to the top I can show it off to God and maybe he’ll feel sorry for me. I’m not sure why… I think he must have been making fun of me and the fact that I was crying over a silly bag of chips that I shouldn’t have opened – but at that moment I remember laughing through my tears… and feeling 1) relieved that I was apparently not getting punished after all and 2) mad that he had the decency to make me laugh in the middle of my little pity party (how inconsiderate, right?)…

Although I cannot remember the exact details of that day the lesson that I was taught at that moment will remain with me forever. Pity parties are not allowed in my world (although once in a while I’ll admit…they happen :() and nothing is worth crying myself an ocean over.

I think pity parties are probably the easiest parties to throw. Usually you only have to invite one person: yourself. Because if you choose to invite anyone else…well, most likely they’ll ruin that party for you, just like my dad ruined mine for me. And you’ll have absolutely NO problem with showing up on time to this party. You can cry yourself buckets of tears in hopes  that someone “up there” will feel sorry for you and make it all go away for you , bring your world back together, make it all feel better…

Honestly – I think God loves us and cares about us… but he does not feel sorry for us when we throw our little pity parties. He cares about your tears and your pain… but he doesn’t care to see you crying over your little issues as if He doesn’t exist. As if there is no hope for things to get better when He is so clearly part of your life. As if that thing you’re crying about is really going to be the end of your world…

I must admit I have been tempted many times to throw myself pity parties – to grab a bowl of my favorite ice-cream and lament to God about the thing happening in my life that just does not make sense to me – ask all of my “why’s” – and ultimately feel sorry for poor little me, myself, and I. But just like that day of crying in that closet – I have learned to not waste my precious tears on things that God will take care of. On things that maybe I feel like I have no control over. Things that definitely will not change by me merely crying about them.

Instead I choose to throw a different kind of party. A praise party. A party where instead of choosing to look at the negative thing in my life – I choose to look at the positive things. I remember the things I should be grateful for. The things that are going just right. I remember the many times God has provided for me – and I am re-assured that He will take care of me once again. I put away the bucket for my tears… and get ready to overflow with His joy. I get rid of my pouty face and replace it with a smile… and instead of feeling heartache at the end… all I feel is God’s overwhelming peace and joy washing over me.

What a difference it makes – to throw praise parties when what you want most is to throw yourself a pity party. To remember the good things in your life when all you want to do is dwell on the bad. But at the end… is it really worth it to fill that bucket to the top with your tears? I sure don’t think so. Next time you want to throw a pity party don’t even bother to send out those invitations – invite Jesus to come join you and you’ll have nothing to be pitiful about. 🙂

-Pity Party Cancelled-

I’m having a pity party –
Just me, myself, and I.
We’ll rehash all the hurts and pains,
Each punctuated by “Why?”

What, Lord? Are you invited?
Did my invitations include Your name?
No, Lord, I didn’t include You;
The party wouldn’t be the same.

For if I took just one look
At the nail prints in Your hands,
I’d be reminded of what You endured
And forget my party plans.

And then I’d look into Your loving eyes
And know that You suffered for me.
I’d know that it’s Your power I need –
Not pity – to set me free.

On second thought, Lord,
Would you come in and take a chair?
Forgive me of my selfish plans,
And lift me from the pit of care.

I’ll get out my very best cup, Lord,
And ask You to fill it to overflow
With Your power, Your Spirit, Your grace –
Then I’ll drink and in Your strength go.
~G. Thaxton – 2001~

From blog: Listen to My Heart Sing

“When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile”

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