U-Turns

Some days it is entirely too easy to wallow in self-pity when something doesn’t go the way I had planned after putting in tremendous time and effort, when my work doesn’t get recognized, when a friend is hurting and I can’t help, when my adult children are learning ongoing life lessons, or when I too often find myself in an uncomfortable place.

Children Play with Garbage in Cambodia Slum

Children Play with Garbage in Cambodia Slum (Photo credit: United Nations Photo)

It’s critical to swing a U-turn immediately upon recognizing I’m on the slippery downhill slope of a full on pity party of one. And I’ve had some scary parties when I’ve waited for the right, safe place to turn around rather than make it happen right then and there. And it all begins with a single thought. That thought will lead to action if allowed to.

Self-pity occurs when I spend too much time thinking about me and owning another’s problems, making it about me. When I become more important than others. When I begin to serve myself rather than serve those that need me. When I develop a sense of entitlement rather than work to earn what is possible for me to achieve. That critical U-turn means turning my focus from me to you. My self-centered thoughts to thoughts of others.

If I’m feeling sorry for myself because something did not go my way, I can choose to focus on being happy for the person whose way it did go. If a friend is hurting or my children are struggling, I can pray and thank God that He is with them. They couldn’t have a better Counselor. When I find myself in an uncomfortable place, I can look to see what I may have done to participate in the process that put me there, and be grateful to learn the lesson.

When that U-turn seems too risky, and safer to postpone, I can look to those so much less fortunate, who have so much less and problems so much greater than me, and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to make that U-turn right then and there. That the choice is in my power and control, thanks to God.

The children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and children who have been born in third world countries who depend on others through sponsorship programs such as Compassion International and Amazima Ministries to give them a chance in life, to provide them the very basics they need to survive such as medicine, food and clean water, things most of us take for granted without giving it a second thought, will lift me from the burden of being self-focused faster than anything else can. Seeing these children who are in such pain, despair, and poverty, yet they have hope, a smile and so much love. What amazing inspiration! We are called to serve one another, to bless others, and yet these precious children continue to bless me beyond anything I could ever hope for.

Could I encourage you to look at these children, offer up prayers for them, and allow them to bless you too?

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