The Pity Party Is Canceled (At Least for Now)

I am really good—dangerously good—at throwing pity parties. I can wallow with the best of […]

Margaret Pope / 2.18.19

I am really good—dangerously good—at throwing pity parties. I can wallow with the best of them. And the past couple weeks have been the party to end all parties, mostly because God just refuses to go along with my plans. I’m not getting my way, and life isn’t going exactly as I think it should, mostly in terms of my living situation and relationships, so I’m going to pout like a toddler.

I imagine God looks at me with a loving smile, maybe a bit of a smirk, and thinks, “How cute, she thinks she knows what’s going on here.” Of course, his plans turn out much better than mine (usually not until we’ve entered the hindsight realm), but I can’t seem to get that through my thick head. And thus, the list of plans I think He should get on board with continues to grow and my anxiety and self-pity follows in direct proportion.

Cue an unexpected phone call from Nana.

When she asked how I was doing, she immediately saw right through my feeble “I’m pretty good” and informed me that she would not share her good news until I told her what was wrong. I told her in so many words that I wasn’t loving my current station in life as a single twenty-something. She proceeded to give me the special kind of tough love that only grandmothers can give, the kind that I would never ever listen to if it came from my parents. She reminded me that all of these thoughts of “woe is me” were the enemy trying to get between God and me to “steal, kill, and destroy.” She said I needed to get on my knees and repent of my attempts at control, my reluctance to trust what God has for me.

And at first, her words landed on my ears with the weight of the law and stung because I absolutely did not want to hear them. I was getting so mad and couldn’t wait to call my mom: “Ugh, you’ll never believe what Nana said!” I did not want her to be right. I certainly did not want to repent. It’s so much easier—and in a dark, twisted way, more fun—to really let the self-pity run rampant, to lick my wounds and be utterly miserable. A strange sense of control comes from feeling that way, and giving it up is scary.

But before we even hung up the phone, I realized that what she was saying to me was actually a gracious gift. I did need to get on my knees. But not “need to” in the finger-wagging “thou shalt” sense; more so in the sense that my aching, weary soul craved it. That I needed to because otherwise I was going to crumble under the weight of it all. There’s also an element of “get to.” I get to admit defeat, to collapse into the arms of a loving God. I get to because He’s never left my side this whole time, even when I hated his plans and he felt a million miles away. I get to because His Son bridged the gap between where I should be and where I actually am so that God can meet me in the middle of the mess.

As I wiped away my tears—having been turned into a puddle by this love from Nana and my Father that refused to leave me where I was—Nana told me to forget all this self-pitying mess, pour myself a glass of wine, take a hot shower, and watch a fun show. And you best believe that’s exactly what I did, and it was one of the most peaceful nights I’ve had in a while. Praise God for faithful grandmothers and red wine.