I spent several years wallowing in self-pity after near-fatal complications during my daughter’s birth required an emergency hysterectomy.
I cursed at God, demanding to know why loving parents like me and my husband can’t have a big family while other homes are full of abused and neglected children? What did I do to deserve this? You know these kids are better off with me, God!
I started down the same path after a year or two of migraines, brain damage, and vision loss. But as I was reaching for Jesus during my illness, a sermon gave me the slap of reality I needed when the pastor asked a different question:
What makes you so special that you have a right to everything you want and a life of ease?
I realized there were two reasons I felt sorry for myself.
- I didn’t get what I wanted (I deserve this).
- I got what I didn’t want (I don’t deserve this).
Entitlement and pride.
Yes, the root of self-pity is sin as old as time. Moses and the Israelites, Job, Jonah, David, Elijah – they all tried to tell God they had a better plan. And God showed them all a way out of their sin.Feeling sorry for yourself? This post has 5 Bible verses to help you overcome self-pity. Click To Tweet
5 Bible Verses to Help You Overcome Self-Pity
God knows we go there, but He doesn’t want us to stay there. So here are three verses to overcome self-pity.
1.) John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33 NIV
Cancer was smack in the middle of a gauntlet of quick, successive trials. One day, I cried to my husband “By the time I catch my breath and get back up again, something else kicks me in the knees! I’m so tired!!”
But Jesus told us to expect trials. He didn’t say “some of you…” or “you might…” have tribulations. Trauma is a part of life – everyone’s life. But when it comes, we can have peace by leaning on Jesus.
I learned that by giving even my exasperation to Jesus, He’d take it and reimburse me with His peace.
2.) Colossians 1:13-14
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV
Sometimes when people comment that I’ve been through more than my share, I solemnly agree, feeling both cheated and deserving of my martyr status.
When you think you don’t deserve the misfortune you’re going through, know that you’re right. As sinners, we all deserve eternity in Hell. In fact, that was our destination until Jesus’ rescued us. My self-sacrificial attitude changes when Jesus gently reminds me, that He saved me from the status I truly deserve.
3. Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,Proverbs 3:5 NKJV
And lean not on your own understanding.
“Why, God? Why me? I’m a good person, this suffering is pointless! Haven’t I been through enough already!”
Just me…? (Please tell me I’m not alone…!)The opposite of gratitude? Self-pity. Valerie shares more in this post… Click To Tweet
Self-Pity in the Bible
Job thought so, too. He’d lost all of his children, his possessions, and his health. And he was so good that God bragged him up to Satan. Naturally, Job had a lot of questions for God.
God answered Job’s questions with a hailstorm of His own questions, summarized by “Do you want to argue with God? Then go ahead and explain to me how the world works and then you can tell me how to run things,” (Job 40.2, Valerie Riese translation!)
We don’t understand God’s plan, and we don’t see the bigger picture. But we know He loves us and that He can use anything to bring you closer to Him and more like Jesus. Sometimes your trial isn’t even about you. It’s so God’s glory and faithfulness can be shown to others through you.
In these moments of indignation, I find peace following raw honesty in prayer. God already knows what I’m thinking anyway.
“God, I don’t get it. This makes no sense and to be honest, I’m just mad. But I don’t know the bigger picture – You do. I know you love me and I trust you. I give this ugly anger to you, Jesus. Please help me trust you more.”
4.) Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield;Psalm 28:7 NKJV
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
I held on to Psalm 28:7 when I had cancer because it reminded me to cling to Jesus. As I leaned on His strength and let Him guard my thoughts, I saw that He was always there for me. And I am so glad I learned to trust Him, because the trial was easier to bear as Jesus carried me.
5.) Psalm 7:17
I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,Psalm 7:17 NKJV
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
My first awareness every morning of daily radiation treatments was dread. I learned by accident that Christian music lifts my spirits because praise lifts up Jesus.
Praise and thanksgiving redirect our inward focus upward. Every good thing in your life came from God, so remember them and thank Him. We can all begin by thanking God for the gift of salvation through Jesus.
You Are Not Alone
My Grandpa Gordon used to say, “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet.”
Self-pity is about perspective. We all waste time feeling sorry for ourselves, but Jesus gives us a way out of every temptation. The God who made you knows it’s normal, but His Word tells us to take those thoughts captive. If you’re struggling, all you have to do is ask and He will help you.
Related Resource For Christian Women
In this 30-day study, Candid Gal Sarah J. Callen challenges women to identify areas where you’re thankful for in you’re every-day life. Through real-life stories, introspective questions, and space for reflection, you’ll be encouraged to go past superficial gratitude and unearth a lifestyle of thanksgiving. Pick up your copy of Thankful here.