Day 6 | Self-pity Extinguishes the Flames of Joy | by Mattie Ross

Self Pity Extinguishes the Flame of Joy

By: Mattie Ross

Guess who is the queen of pity parties? Me. 100%.  Self-pity is one way that Satan gets to me because as humans our first instinct is to please ourselves. It is to turn inward to how we feel and how we think the world around us should be going. It’s our natural, selfish response because of our broken flesh.

The Bible can be a tad harsh when talking about self-pity and not honoring God with our whole selves. In Isaiah 29 it says that “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”  It goes on to say that the wisdom of the wise men will perish because of this. Turning our eyes inward and placing the focus on what we want prevents our worship from being meaningful. Which then prevents us from being effective in building relationships with others. Which then takes us completely out of the game to share the gospel. Self-pity can be a destructive cycle if we do not recognize it as sin from the beginning.

Now, I know that life can just absolutely stink sometimes. Divorce, heartbreak, break ups, sickness, hard relationships with family members, and this list is only scratching the surface of what people can experience. I am not saying that we need to wake up everyday with a smile on our face and act like everything is okay. Because it is okay to not be okay or to be hurt or to be dealing with something, but how comforting is it to know that we have the King of Kings fighting our battles? (Exodus 14:14)  That He has already overcome what you have struggled with and what you will face. We do not have to shoulder the whole struggle on our own. Man, thank you Jesus for that grace! It is when we let those trials and heartbreaks take over that it turns to sin.

Ultimately, self-pity does nothing good for us. It sucks the life out of you and everyone around you, it kills joy, it can drain your hope, it can steer you away from faith, and can help you develop the mindset that it is okay to do whatever you want when you want to as long as it makes you feel better. BUT If we lay down all of ourselves to God, He will help you develop habits to replace habits of self-pity. Like Tricia says in today’s devotional, we must move from being the victim to the victor. Persevere. Involve others around you. This is a fight that is worth fighting.

Verse to combat Self-Pity: Philippians 4:12-19

Day 5 | Isolation Breeds Self-Pity | by Taylor Tate

Isolation Breeds Self-Pity

By: Taylor Tate

Isolation breeds self pity…before diving into this subject matter, I would love to share about my personal experiences with this topic. First of all, as a recovering people pleaser (grateful for Jesus and hearing Jennie Allen speak on the topic), my world has always found its way to revolve around the attention I receive from others. If I am receiving good attention, I feel like a worthy human being, if I am receiving negative attention, or even worse…no attention at all, I feel simply, lost. This, my friends, is not a healthy mindset and I fully admit that. However, it is easier to point out the things that are unhealthy in our lives than to put actions into place to enlist the needed changes. This summer I fully admit to living out this topic, I completely pitied myself. I am recently married and absolutely adore my husband. However, the nature of my husband’s job lends for major summer traveling. With this in mind, I recently graduated from college where I lived with five other women and was surrounded by people I knew and felt at home with. Therefore, this past summer was the first time I was not actively living and interacting with people who knew me the best and sadly during those long months, I felt like I had lost who I was due to self pity. I am providing this background information not for attention but to highlight the fact that I need this devotional most likely more than anyone else reading it.

As Tricia highlights, we all “long to belong,” and I could not agree more with this statement because a summer without loved ones made me feel like I did not have a place. As I am reading these thoughts of mine, nearly every statement starts with “I,” and I simply wonder, “Who am I to say that my life doesn’t have a place solely because I feel sorry for myself that no one is taking notice of me?” Thinking thoughts like this absolutely have to hurt my Savior who created me with love and tenderness and ultimately died on a cross and rose again for my sinful life. So friends, after several long months of coming home sad after work, and a few counseling sessions later, I decided to pray. I prayed for several things. Honestly, I prayed that I would be content with isolation to the point that I would seek Jesus before all else, and I prayed for community. I prayed hard for ways in which I could fall and feel caught by members of the church. I eventually found that community and am so grateful to say that the Lord answered my cry. As for praying for contentment during the isolation, it was hard, but I promise that Jesus needed to fill me first before I could ever feel held. Our Savior is faithful, let him hold you today.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:22

With love,

Taylor

Day 4 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

Today’s Spotify Worship Playlist:

*Made Me Glad by Hillsong Worship

*Look How He Lifted Me by Elevate Worship

*Thank You Jesus by Hillsong Worship

*Thank You by Hillsong Worship

(Do you think I like Hillsong Worship? Haha!)

Day 4 | Grumbling + Complaining Deplete Joy | by Hunter Bingham

Grumbling and Complaining

By: Hunter Bingham

Senior year of college is the time when we are prodded to answer the question “what do you want to do with you life?” During this season of change there have been many hardships and circumstances that are beyond my control. It has been overwhelming to say the least and I definitely haven’t had the best attitude at times. But I love how in 1st Thessalonians 5:15 it says “Rejoice always.” ALWAYS, not just when things are easy and going as I’ve planned but always in any situation good or bad.

When I’ve struggled with letting the circumstances dictate my mood and words I find myself sharing a cranky and overly detailed string of complaints to my poor roommates. I feel like Paul is writing right to me when in verse 18 he says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  During this time I’ve learned that joy stems from gratitude. For it is God’s will for me to have a thankful spirit.

I love what Tricia says about getting into a routine of complaining, cause that definitely happens to me. When I spend my time complaining I’m selfishly focused on all the causes of my discontentment rather than seeking ways to glorify God and love others; what a waste of time and energy. I find that when I’m ready to spew out a new batch of complaints I must focus on the massive blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. I must abide in the Lord and rejoice in who He is.

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Day 3 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

When we are depleted of the Spirit’s filling in our lives, we often react out of our flesh & sinful nature, rather than the Spirit’s leading.

What are some of your most common “reactive responses” when you aren’t being filled & led by the Spirit?

I’ll start: Irritability, frustration, impatience, and anxiety.
Your turn!

Today’s Spotify worship prompts:

Spirit of the Living God by Meredith Andrews

Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle

Holy Spirit by Bryan & Katie Torwalt

Give Me Jesus by Fernando Ortega

 

Day 3 | A Daily Filling of the Spirit | by Laura Schmeltekopf

A Daily Filling of the Spirit

By: Laura Schmeltekopf

I had heard about the Holy Spirit my entire life, but it was not until in my thirties that I understood His daily, real life power, and began dusting Him off like an old piece of furniture, and discovered the Treasure that dwelled within me.  I remember the season in my life like it was yesterday.  I was in a Bible Study with other young mother’s, and it was Pricilla Shirer’s, Discerning the Voice of God.  It was then that I realized that I had the POWER of the UNIVERSE dwelling with my very body.  It was like realizing I was Clark Kent, and didn’t have to run into a phone booth to transform into super human strength, but it was a billion times better because that SUPERNATURAL POWER dwelled in my heart all the time!  There was no on/off switch, He was prepared to be “on” all the time, but it sadly, is us, who would switch Him off, cover Him up, and tune Him out.

In John 16:7 Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”  Jesus knows us, He knows our need, and from the beginning it was ordained that we, those who believe, would always be cared for.  God saw our need and knew we needed a Savior, so He invaded our planet in human form.  Fully God and fully man, Christ came because He knew we needed a physical intervention with the divine.  Our sin had written our destiny, and it was one of eternal death.  We were blind, we were deaf, we couldn’t see that we needed a once and for all sacrifice, but God did!  Jesus came, showed us what love looked like, and willingly let His precious blood spill out His life.  Then on day 3, death lost!  Our fate had been conquered and changed for all eternity.  Our lives had a new address and it was in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Our darkness was gone, but the Good Shepherd knew His sheep would need help, and light to guide us on our path.  He told His disciples prior to all this of what was to come.  He knew they would feel so many things, so he revealed the Helper that was to come.  In John 14, Jesus says that the Helper would be with them forever.  He went on to say that the Helper, the Holy Spirit would teach them.  In John 16, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will guide them, and will glorify Him.  Jesus said all those things to His disciples because He knew He wasn’t going to be with them much longer.  He knew that they were going to be afraid, and His sheep were going to need someone to help them navigate life, so He told them that the Holy Spirit, His spirit, would ALWAYS be with them, and peace could reign in their lives.

I had this tested in my life recently.  I had to speak at a women’s gathering a couple of weeks ago.  It was an actual dream come true.  The Lord had put my city, Waco on my heart about 4 years ago, and had given me a clear image of women of all ages, and from all walks of life, just worshipping Him.  This vision came to fruition, and I had to speak at the first gathering.  I just remember preparing and praying to the Holy Spirit to speak!  Just put on my heart what you want the women who were coming that night to hear.  I knew all that had unfolded was NOT because of anything I had done, but what God had put in motion.  I needed to hear from the Helper, the Teacher, the Guide, what I was to say to bring glory to the One who had brought us all together.  My hands were open, and my heart was patient, and He delivered.  He gave me the words to say, but even more, He gave me a peace in the waiting.  I had peace because I knew He would come through.  He gave me an indescribable peace that was supernatural, and NOTHING I could have mustered.

He promised that to His disciples, and to all of us, as well.  Peace and joy already abide in our very heart and soul, our action must be to tap into it daily.  Honestly, I am not always successful, but all glory to God, I am learning to listen faster.  I catch myself in worry or in panic mode, and call on His name.  At that point, I am able to look at the situation, and give it to Him, ask Him for guidance and direction, and try to rest in what He is teaching my heart.  I have gotten so desperate that I call out His name, and pray for Him to just speak to my heart all day.  I know that I am a sheep easily distracted, so my act of calling out His name is my reminder that I am not alone, and if I rest in Him, peace gets restored even though circumstances may not be great, and I can feel a deep joy that I know only comes from Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is our gift.  We must receive Him daily, and rely His power to live our lives pointing others to Jesus.

Day 2 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

Anyone else struggle with trusting God? I mean TRULY TRUSTING Him with the control of your life?

What do you need to surrender to God today? What are you trying to control, rather than trusting God and letting Him take control?

Today’s Spotify worship playlist:

In God We Trust by Hillsong Worship

I Surrender by Hillsong Worship

 

Join the community of women studying together!

Day 2 | Dependence + Trust > Independence + Control | by Maddie Owen

Dependence + Trust > Independence + Control

By: Maddie Owen

Trusting in the Lord doesn’t just happen on its own and unfortunately, it has to be a daily surrender. For some, even an hourly surrender. You see, it’s easy trust Him when life is slow and easy, but when it picks up and wants to start sprinting is where I say, “Ok Lord, clearly you aren’t going to control this the way I want to, so I will do it myself.” However, when I am in the right mindset and am in control of my anxiety, I can see how ridiculous that is. But in the moment, I can’t convince myself that He is a good father and that I can trust Him. I have a tendency to try to figure out the things that the Lord hasn’t revealed to us.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

I catch myself trying to figure out the things that the Lord hasn’t revealed to me, instead of wholeheartedly pursuing the things that He has. The reason I get overwhelmed is because in that moment I am trying to be independent, I am not relying on the Lord’s goodness and I’m not trusting in Him. Sometimes I find myself trying to be independent and I end up relying on my emotions. Your daily feelings aren’t your reality, your emotions are fleeting and constantly changing. This is why the Lord calls us to dependence and trust. The Lord knows what is true and what is constant, our emotions do not fall into that category though. In my heart, I know the truth. I know that the Lord is for me, I know that he loves me, and ultimately, I know that He is going before me, but sometimes the reality of trust is hard. It isn’t easy, but I promise you it is worth it. By trusting in the Lord we can save ourselves time and energy. Just thinking about all of the things I have tried to control within even this past week, it’s overwhelming. I think, “Why do I do this to myself?”, but then the next week comes and I struggle again. Like I said, it is a daily surrender. Trust is so hard, but the Lord hasn’t let me down yet, so I don’t know why I am living a life that reflects a God that has let me down time and time again. What is your life reflecting? Can people tell that you trust in a faithful God, or does it look like you trust yourself?

I am going to leave you with this.

It’s hard to trust in the Lord when you can’t recall the truths about Him. Here are some truths that help get me through the tough days. Read them, write them down, memorize them, hide them in your heart so that when the days get tough and you want to be independent rather than dependent, you can remind yourself that the Lord is good!

  • He CHOSE you. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • He is perfect in all of His ways. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • He is for you. (Romans 8:28, 31)
  • You are: held, known, loved, seen, and enough.