In service to the Body of Christ it is easy to sink into self-pity. We work hard, extending ourselves in long hours and in sacrifice that is rarely recognized.
This is all okay of course, until it isn’t. Self-pity is a silent disease that sneaks up on the best of us. It takes over limbs and thoughts and voice – and we barely realize something is wrong.
But there are a few tell-tale signs of self-pity.
1.Pressure for People to Grow
We put more pressure on those we are serving to ‘get it together’. Maybe, so our subconscious thinking goes, if they are proving my efforts then it will all be okay.
But this never works. It simply makes for strained relationships in the midst of what is to be joyful service one to another. Demanding that fruit grow doesn’t grow any fruit.
2. Growth spurts that don’t last.
If there is growth coming from our subtle increased pressure on others, it won’t last. For what comes of a spurt of either panic or good-will may appear great but it has no lasting roots.
Ministering to others does not necessitate that they respond in wild maturity or deep character or profound passion for God. While ministers set the stage for growth, we do not establish it. That is God’s work.
3. We’ve lost sight of the real work.
Self-pity blinds us. There are all sorts of solutions and resources right in front of us, and yet we cannot see them because we have this filter of self-pity over our eyesight.
While it is never easy to identify the ‘real work’ in ministry, it is next to impossible when self-pity is involved.
Because self-pity is all about what isn’t going right, the results we are not seeing, the responses we are not getting, our focus gets off the mark. All of a sudden our service is polluted with results and responses and the tangibles that are not the work, merely a byproduct of the real work being done.
Ministers, more than anyone, must get off the treadmill of demanding things go our way. In case we have forgotten, ministry is not about us.
The deepest growth, the longest lasting fruit, the results of Christ in a life that will not undo at some later date, all take time to grow. Ministers are called to the long haul.
Self-pity enters us into a short-haul mentality.
If this resonates with you, I suggest you confess your self-pity today. Renounce it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remove the smeared frames that are over your eyesight, and commit once more to the long-haul, and to trusting God with the results of your work.
You, after all, are simply called to minister to the hearts and lives of the people where they are at. Meet them there, knowing that growth comes one step at a time.
Recommit for the long haul.