I was sitting at a stoplight, and I could just feel it. Even as the sun shone outside, the clouds in my head began to darken. My hands gripped the steering wheel and I drew in my breath, trying my best to stay in control and keep my thoughts from heading down that path. But the clouds swirled, the storm grew, and before I knew it, I was overwhelmingly burdened by feelings of anger, jealousy, disappointment, and hopelessness.
You guys. I throw the best pity parties. And just like that particular solo soiree at a stoplight on a random sunny Thursday morning, they are frequently triggered by nothing at all.
Oh, every so often they’re based in something halfway close to reality. Something didn’t happen that I was really hoping for, or something did happen to someone else and I wonder why they’re so lucky and I’m so not.
But most of the time it’s just the lies of the world that seep into my brain and travel down to my heart, and I begin to see everything through an ugly lens of unfairness. And I start to pick out the bits and the pieces of my life that don’t seem fair and if someone could actually peek in my head and hear the thoughts that were going on, I’d be horrified because they’d sound embarrassingly similar to things I hear from my toddler.
So these pity parties happen, and I hate them. I hate them for the way they make me feel, and I hate them for what they reveal of my heart. And on that particular morning I didn’t know what to do. I tried to “choose joy” and “speak truth” and do whatever else you’re supposed to do in order to pull your mind out of the pit.
But the storm wouldn’t subside and I grew increasingly frustrated.
And suddenly, God whispered these words into my heart: “Grace works both ways.”
In an instant, the skies cleared and my soul calmed.
We are so fortunate to serve a God who doesn’t give us what we deserve. We worship Him for that when we realize our sinfulness. We thank him for his grace and praise him for his mercy.
But then, when we think we’re doing things right? Instead of remembering that we walk in grace, we demand what we think we deserve.
We tend to lean on grace when we need it, but lean on ourselves when we think it might serve us better.
But we can’t have it both ways.
I’ve since tucked that little nugget of truth in my heart, and the amazing thing is that it’s managed to keep those storms at bay. I’ve realized that sometimes the answer isn’t in counting your blessings or choosing joy, but rather trusting that we are under the care of a Father whose love for us is greater than anything than we could ever comprehend.
He shows us that love through grace – and that grace works both ways.
*This post is focused on dealing with occasional moments of self-pity, jealousy, or emotional struggles with fairness. It is not meant to provide solutions for depression or individuals experiencing extended periods of sadness. Please seek professional support if this is an ongoing issue.