A few days ago, I caught myself in a familiar, yet unflattering, line of thought.
I was tired and feeling sorry for myself, wishing that I could just go out to a movie or go out to dinner on a whim. I wanted to drop everything and spend some time relaxing at a coffee shop or bookstore. But instead, I had a little one who needed my attention.
And then I realized what I was doing. I was lamenting the fact that I had a baby keeping me from other things, as if those other things are more important. I wasn’t focusing on the joy and privilege I have in staying at home with my little one. I was only focusing on the things I couldn’t do anymore.
I really hate it when I do this. I focus on what I don’t have instead of realizing how good I have it.
It often takes others to help me realize how pathetic I’m being.
A couple days ago, I was talking with a mom who is going back to her full time job and leaving her newborn in daycare. She’s dreading leaving her infant. And here I am, blessed to stay home with Lizzy, complaining about the lack of spontaneity and play time that I have.
I had this same kind of “aha” moment when I was at Children’s Hospital with Lizzy. I was freaking out and feeling sorry for myself that I had a kid with acid reflux and some tongue problems. I was having a big pity party.
But then I met the woman who was sharing the room with us. Her newborn, just days older than Lizzy, was diagnosed with a horrible mitochondrial disorder. The day before, she had gotten the news that her son was deaf. Earlier that morning, she learned that her son would never be able to eat solid food and would need a special liquid diet for the rest of his life, which wasn’t expected to be long.
But she was so happy. She was praising God that her son was alive. She called him her miracle baby, for surviving so long, through so much.
It certainly made me rethink what we were going through.
I’m not saying it’s always a good idea to compare ourselves with others. Usually, this results in making us feel inadequate or prideful, depending on whether we see ourselves as better or worse than the others.
But I think that God also brings people into our lives to shock us out of our pity parties. I’ll call them pity party poopers. They show us the errors in our thinking and reorient us toward thankfulness.
I don’t want to be the kind of person who always looks for people who have it worse than I do, just to make myself feel better. But I appreciate these wake up calls God gives me, when I’m stuck in a thankless attitude, throwing myself a pity party.
I have so much for which to be thankful!