Sunday, October 26, 2014

On Whining and Self Pity—our Response to Suffering

 The other day I was told I am full of self pity.  I could have brushed it off, denying it….but I wanted to investigate my heart and see if there is self pity residing there. 
Tonight in MacArthur’s study Bible I found this paragraph:
“The basic theme of Psalms is living real life in the real world where two dimensions operate simultaneously; 1) a horizontal or temporal reality.  2) a vertical or transcendent reality .Without denying the pain of the earthly dimension, the people of God are to live joyfully and dependently on the person and promises standing  behind the heavenly/eternal dimension.  All cycles of human trouble and triumphs provide occasions for expressing human complaints, confidence, prayers or praise to Israel’s Sovereign Lord.”

My question is what about the issue of physical suffering and pain?  Job deals with it but his situation is temporary and it is divinely orchestrated.  Where is the question of pain in the OT (Old Testament).?  In the NT (New Testament) it appears as Jesus is on the scene to put an end to it and heal it.   But what about GOD and PAIN?  This paragraph does address it.  1-  Admit you are hurting…be honest. 2- Retain your joy in the provisions of the Lover of your Soul. Depend on him.  And at the same time be grateful for his gifts to us.
                        Life gives us reason to complain, however we have a confident Source who will ultimately right the wrong  -- REJOICE in that.
Psalms does deal frequently with suffering.  Usually suffering of soul and emotions however there is some physical pain mentioned usually in forecast of the suffering at the Cross.  

How does all of this relate to self pity?
For one, Job really was a whiner.  But who are we to judge if we have not experienced suffering like his?  This brings up an important couple of points.
1)     Whining is not a sin.    (As long as we have legitimate cause to whine)…It will, however, distance our friends from us.  NO ONE likes to hear whining –however merited it may be.  Whether it is right or wrong for our friends to abandon us in our pain?  I’ll leave that up to you.  Do we have the right to stifle the expressions of suffering?  I say, not unless we ourselves have met or surpassed such pain and not whined ourselves.

2)    Although it appeared that God’s ears were deaf to Job’s complaints,.his purposes were merely incomplete which is why he delayed removing the suffering as Job was begging him to do.  God is often doing something bigger than we know and we need to just trust this.  Yes, we can ask God to remove the pain but we must also ask God to give us endurance and strength to stand up under the weight of it.  In due time God restored Job’s losses.

Is whining the same as self pity?  I think self pity is worse because it demonstrates a refusal to accept the path that God has laid out for us to walk.  A person may walk in righteousness and whine at his pain but he can still accomplish the purpose of God in it.  Self pity is more, a statement that God does not have the right to cause us to suffer.  Self pity looks at all the healthy people around and does not seek to look at the face of God which may just be revealed in the face of suffering.  And I believe that comparing healthy people with ourselves is a form of coveting.  We are coveting their health and rejecting the path God is leading us to walk.

The fellowship of the Cross

Regardless of the severity of our pain, we can honestly say that Jesus knew greater pain than we do.  When I was in the ER with a dislocated hip and in severe pain where I was sweating and crying and calling out quietly for Jesus to help me.  Suddenly I felt God’s Presence and the verse from Ps 22 came to me saying “ and all his bones were out of joint”…..I cried.  Wow.  Jesus did not only have a dislocated hip or a blown spinal disk, ALL OF HIS JOINTS AND DISKS were destroyed.  I felt the sweet presence of the suffering Christ there in that hospital and I know he was holding my hands and wiping tears from my eyes.  I could only whisper “Thank you Jesus, for sharing with  me a tiny bit of what you suffered.”  Needless to say, this revelation pretty much erased all my self-pity and whining.

So I would say to my accuser…”no, I do not have self-pity….I am merely overwhelmed by my pain and all I can do is cry to Jesus or whineBut here is a suggestion: when you need to whine, how about doing it for God’s ears only? And then write a Psalm laying out your complaint and then do not fail to remember that all but two of David’s Psalms begin in sorrow, pain and turmoil and end in rejoicing and thanksgiving… do not forget to include this in your Psalm.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

800th Post

It is hard to believe that I  have written 800 articles for this blog in the time since August of 2009 when it all began.  Now that I have my book complete and am slowly figuring out how to market it, I find myself foundering a bit.  I suppose that is normal when for the past four years my goal has been to finish it and get it published. I am proud of the book but regret a few things.  I did not have the money to pay for editors, so I undertook to edit myself....thus a few typos sneaked their way in and I didn't catch them in time.  Also there was a bit of flummoxing about my daughter's name.  You may have noticed that I dedicated the book to "Alexa, my daughter...etc" and in the book my daughter's name was "Shana"....Because there were some people whose identities I needed to protect, I changed EVERYONE's name pretty much, and foolishly also gave my daughter an alias....while publishing her REAL name in the dedication.  OK...No I did not have two daughters and one died.  It was just a dumb mistake.  Partly the problem was that I wrote the book a few years ago and wrote the dedication just prior to publishing...and so was not thinking about the fact that I'd hidden her identity.

So...nothing and no one is perfect except the Lord and his Word.

I have been looking around for ways to continue to write and possibly to make some small income.  I also have been working on a book idea that I had come up with a couple of years ago when I guest blogged on another blog on the topic of "Things I've learned through illness."  I think some of the things are absolutely worth sharing so am working on a devotional book for people with chronic illness and their spouses.  I'm quite excited about this book but do not look forward to the process of finding an agent /publisher.  But unfortunately that all comes hand in glove with writing as a career.
I'm not great at's a skill I'm trying  to develop.

Also please pray for my daughter (Alexa/Shana).  She has not been feeling well and I am worried that she may be doing the autoimmune disease route.  Of course I could be wrong....possibly it could be Lyme's we need to get some medical attention to sort through the problem. 

Come back tomorrow as I will be posting an article I've  been working on. 
God Bless
Yes I know ---this is not the slim-pretty lady on the back of my book. Steroids have blown me up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.  So - as much as I hate to admit it.  This is me  now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"What you Intended for Evil: God Intended for Good"

For those of you who have come to my blog. encouraged by my book to come here or via some other avenue.....and you expected to see a lot about SZ (Schizophrenia)....those articles are scattered randomly throughout the blog.  Your best bet is to use the blog search  feature in the side bar toward the top..   Type "Schizophrenia" in there and you will get a  list of articles to pick from. Maybe more than you bargained on...but I hope you find something helpful.  If you do, please leave a note or a comnent so we can dialogue --or just so I know you are out there listening.

But for now pain is on my mind.  I had  falling out on Friday with my pain management doc, due to his completely misunderstanding something I said in an email to him.  So.  He  completely overreacted and gave me the boot.  You have to understand how devastating it was to my pride.  I am a "good girl"  --I take my meds as directed except for one potent narcotic that I save for times of great pain and need.  And he knows that. I've told him that....  It was humiliating to me to be told I had threatened the doctor (which I most certainly did NOT). He called me unstable and  inconsistent.  I said to him "YEAHHH. I have is that you are expecting consistency? No answer.
Long run....short story...I am on my own to either deal with unrelieved pain or to find a doc who will take me on after getting the smear on  my medical records that I'm sure this guy is going to leave.      You are right.  No one will prescribe for me.
My only hope is my rheumatologist who has asked me severeal times if I need pain meds.  So he may be a source of a lower dose...just something to help me stay on this side of the grave.

I was so blessed  today to receive a devotional in my email by Margaret D Mitchell. on Endurance....and what that means to a believer.   How does it change us? What does it look like?  How does God use it.?  A really good Biblically sound teaching. It was one that encouraged me and sent me to the Word and to prayer. And that is the best kind of thing.  Here it is so you can read it.

No matter the damage done to me by this doctor.  I am a a child of God and my God will see that I have all that I need.  He will  either heal me or he will take my hand and walk me through my days of pain and in his presence pain doesn't have a chance of stealing the show.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pained Thought

As I have mentioned in the past has been a big part of my life in my attempts to lose weight and regain strength.  IN the past several months it has been all I can do to drop in on the RAD team (Rheuatoid Autoimmune Disease) that I am one of  the leaders...and just update them on my current status and trying to encourage those there who are struggling.  It used to be a really active team with posts appearing every hour at least.  Lately's been dead.  AS dead as my own attempts at a healthy lifestyle....And yesterday one of the members of rhat team wrote me an honest letter - the "tough love" approach.  She said that I am feeling self pity and that if I don' t get my act together I will die.  And to that statement I said something like "That would be okay with me:"
Unfortunately that statement was looked upon as though it were a suicidal threat.  Which it was not.  Not in any way shape or form.  AFter my last suicide attempt (you will have to read it in my book....I'm not going to explain it here.) I learned that my  life belongs to the Lord....he holds the calendar for my life and until he beckons me....I'm stuck here.  I look forward to heaven more than anyone I know does.  I cannot wait to see my beloved Lord and get into that new body.  I'm READY.  But I am not going to try to take my life out of God's hands.  I am His.

But the issue of self pity stuck to me....I do not feel like I am pitying myself.  I do what I have to do everyday  with the little bit of strength I have.  I am in pain.  I have accepted the fact that for as long as I live, I will have daily pain....and sometimes that pain is  excruciating.  It's a fact.  It is what it is.
I  have asthma which sends me into bronchospasm merely by walking across the living room.,,,I cannot exercise.  My pulmonologist told me if I exercise, I will die.  I'm not making that up.  it's a fact.  But I can do some stretches which I did  today following a Richard Simmons ancient VCR tape.  So I will try to do things like that.  Lifting arm weights although with two messed up elbows and two painful shoulders...that will not be easy  But I promised I would try it. So that's on for tomorrow.

I do not want to be thought of as someone who has given up and who pities themselves.  How do I avoid that/ Do i just stop talking about pain and how lousy I feel?  Just "suck it up"?In my life, I do  not talk about pain unless someone specifically asks me.  I do what I can and what i have to do.  I don't walk around moaning and kvetching.  Maybe in my writing on this team....because I look at it as a safe environment where I will not be derided or given a hard time.  It's a place where we can support each other.  But maybe some people think it's  a place to spread cheer and positive thinking.  Maybe we are just approaching the team from different directions.

Right now I'm in bad shape.  Maybe from the stretches today?  It's the only thing different.  I will keep plugging at it.