I had spent many, many years whining & complaining before the Lord and the whole time I thought it was prayer.
Remember the red couch I sat on waiting for the ambulance to arrive? The story where I thought I was having a heart attack but it was a panic attack ( different type of heart attack.) Story here It was on this same couch a few months previous to that vital day that God spoke to me very clearly. I was crying, sitting on the couch complaining about how discontented I was, how depressed I felt and how miserable I had become. In that moment of self-pity I opened my bible and the word dropped in my lap.
Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pain seized you like a woman in labor? Micah 4:9 (ESV)
Around the same time I had another self-pity party on a blanket in the backyard as my children played. I cried, and told God how miserable I was and I opened my bible and the word dropped in my lap.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. Matthew 24 1-5 (NIV)
God said to me, pick up your lamp.
Another time I begged and cried and pleaded for God to deliver me from fear. I was in the thick of a raging mental breakdown and I was stuck in this phase of not being able to move forward because I was so depressed this was happening to me. Then I opened my bible and the Word dropped in my lap.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Exodus 14:15 (NIV)
Anytime that I have grovelled before the Lord informing Him of my inner misery, thinking it was prayer has always been met with…
Why are you crying? Do you forget who you are? Have I abandoned you? Pick up your lamp (the word) and walk prepared with the truth and move on!
I soon realized that grief, sorrow, anger and all of our emotional and mental mess must be brought before God in prayer but self pity is not prayer. In fact, self pity, I believe hinders prayer and God moving on our behalf.
I’m all about being real, real to you, real to myself and real before the Lord but I have learnt that I have never moved forward and overcome in my life through self-pity.
I was so thankful for my sister-in-law who spoke so honestly to me the other day as I shared with her some of my frustrations. She encouraged me to turn my mindset from self pity to action and faith. Instead of “God, why haven’t you showed up yet in this area” to “God, I’m moving forward and I know you’re going to meet me as I move”
I was so thankful for her push because it was that faith and attitude that broke me out of mental illness. I should have known better. I turned my focus from “God, why is this happening to me?!” to “God, I trust you will tell me what to do next”
In my work with anxiety sufferers I can usually tell right away who will find freedom quickly and who will wander the wilderness for a season more and it always has to do with self-pity for their circumstances versus a will to move forward despite their mental illness.
I came across this scripture last night and it reminded me of the voice that God has spoken to me when I fall into self-pity. This challenged me to change how I pray. We cannot expect breakthrough when we pray in self-pity before the God of the Universe – the one we have CHOSEN to put our trust in! We cry out “woe is me!” expecting his hand to move. If we would just look up we would naturally cry out “wow is HE!” and find that breakthrough was there all along!
The Lord Comforts Zion –
51 “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,
You who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.
2 Look to Abraham your father,
And to Sarah who bore you;
For I called him alone,
And blessed him and increased him.”
3 For the Lord will comfort Zion,
He will comfort all her waste places;
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord;
Joy and gladness will be found in it,
Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
You people in whose heart is My law:
Do not fear the reproach of men,
Nor be afraid of their insults.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
And the worm will eat them like wool;
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation from generation to generation.”
9 Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the Lord!
Awake as in the ancient days,
In the generations of old.
Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart,
And wounded the serpent?
12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?
13 And you forget the Lord your Maker,
Who stretched out the heavens
And laid the foundations of the earth;
You have feared continually every day
Because of the fury of the oppressor,
When he has prepared to destroy.
And where is the fury of the oppressor?
14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed,
That he should not die in the pit,
And that his bread should not fail.
15 But I am the Lord your God,
Who divided the sea whose waves roared—
The Lord of hosts is His name.
16 And I have put My words in your mouth;
I have covered you with the shadow of My hand,
That I may plant the heavens,
Lay the foundations of the earth,
And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
I love this Word from the Lord that paraphrased is saying to us … “Listen to me, you chose to follow me because of who you think I am, yet you place my power beneath the enemies false power. Strengthen yourself in faith and I will take care of you, even when things get rough I will help you. Stop being afraid of men who will eventually die but look to me who will live forever. You have lived with anxiety everyday, moaning about your life and all the bad things that have happened but look up! I am the LORD YOUR GOD, I am powerful, I am covering you because you are mine.
When we sit before God, be real but turn your self pity and begin declaring who He is. That’s prayer!