Then I look around me and see the family who lost their 10 year old son just before Christmas from a freak accident. I listen to a friend as she describes the slow decline of the family member with cancer. Another friend is caring for a parent with severe Alzheimer's and the heartache of not being recognized any longer. War and hunger rob children around the world of basic necessities, such as food and security. Somehow my problems pale in comparison.
I am not minimizing my own sufferings or saying they are insignificant. I know each of us carries burdens and difficulties that cause us pain, hurt, inconvenience and grief, and it is healthiest to acknowledge and feel these emotions rather than bury or try to dismiss them.
But I also believe I have a choice as to whether I will stretch beyond these emotions to receive the grace that I believe God gives each of us whenever we need it. Will I give in to self-pity or will I practice gratitude? Will I make the decision to use the little energy I have to keep moving forward, loving, praying for others and rejoicing that the world is still a beautiful place? Will I choose to smile and focus on another, even when my own heart is heavy?
I am going to encourage you to do the same. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to have a hard day. Then get back on your feet and take the next step, focused forward and being a blessing to others in whatever way you are able.
What do you find to be helpful when you are experiencing a difficult time and are trying to avoid self-pity? How do you keep yourself moving forward in the face of pain? Would you take a minute to share in the comments below?