I threw a pity party recently.
It all began a few days before Christmas, when my dad suffered a stroke and had to be hospitalized. It was the festive season and everyone else was in a joyous mood, so my family decided that in order not to be a killjoy, we would break the news about my father’s condition to the extended family only when Christmas was over.
Soon after, my pity party started. My questions to God came fast and furious: Why did my dad have to suffer a stroke? Why did it have to happen to my family? And why now, when I had made all these grand plans for my annual leave? It felt even worse to scroll through my Instagram and Facebook feeds—everyone was happy and celebrating. Except me.
It was while I was sitting in the hospital ward looking at my dad, the other patients and their families that God showed me how self-absorbed and immature I was to harbor such thoughts. Shamefully, I turned to God in prayer and asked Him to reveal to me how I could let go of this self-pity which had almost consumed me.
God brought to my mind these three reminders.
1. Re-align my focus to Him
It has been said, “When we focus on our giants, we will stumble. But when we focus on God, our giants will tumble.” Focusing on God helped me to rely on Him for comfort, peace, guidance, and wisdom. It reminded me that He is sovereign over all things, so I could trust that everything would happen in His time. As a result, I was able to commit my dad and his recovery to God in prayer, asking that His will be done in my dad’s life.
2. Care for the needs of others
In my self-pity, I had forgotten to consider my dad’s feelings and those of other family members. God showed me that my dad needed encouragement and support. When his friends and family heard about his condition, many of them came to visit him immediately—despite it being Christmas Day. I could see that he was truly touched by their concern and grateful that his Christmas did not seem so bleak after all. It had been immature of me to focus on my problems when my dad was the one who was admitted to the hospital. Suddenly, what I had to go through seemed insignificant and silly.
3. Find support in community
In the first few days of my dad’s hospitalization, I was constantly moping. When it got to a point where I could not stand my own negativity any longer, I finally let go of my self-pity and opened up to people close to me, sharing my feelings with them. It proved to be a cathartic and humbling experience, knowing that I had family and friends who were always ready to provide a helping hand and a listening ear.
It’s been almost three weeks since my father suffered a stroke. On hindsight, these three weeks have been filled with daily lessons on obedience and compassion. My family and I have learned much about what it means to trust in God’s perfect timing and to continually wait on Him.
My father is doing much better now. Through daily physiotherapy sessions, he is learning to walk again and has regained most of the strength in his arms. He now finds joy in the little things, like being able to type a text message and to eat on his own.
This season has taught me that self-pity is no less destructive than other things like jealousy and lust—they all cause us to take our eyes off God.
So, instead of throwing pity parties, let us turn to God and give thanks for His unending mercies, bountiful provisions, and loving faithfulness in our lives.
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