Friday, June 26, 2009

The Half-Life of Pity

"If you have ever given yourself to someone and had your heart broken, you know how God feels. If you have ever given yourself to someone and found yourself waiting for their response, exposed and vulnerable, left hanging in the balance, you know how God feels." - Rob Bell

I've been a lot more careful lately about who I give my heart to (do not cast your pearls before swine) but it's those times when I give my heart to someone who's really cool...and nothing in return that hurt so badly. It has happened a lot with the kids who were in my youth ministry. I love all of them dearly, but in the course of growing up and moving on, they have left me behind. It is only a natural process and in so many cases extremely healthy. It is also so painful to be forgotten by someone who is unforgettable.

This is all part of the stuff I'm dealing with now, and my therapist has really been helping me to only rely on God to return that love at all times. I'll be honest, life's been hard these past several years. One of the things I've discovered is that people tend to act compassionate, but really it's only pity...and pity has a half-life of about 3 to 4 weeks. Then the novelty has worn off, and it's out of sight, out of mind. I've had so many painful experiences of rejection in all of this that I've come to the point where I'm really careful about who I give my heart to. Again, I'm learning to rely solely on God because He is the only one in the end who NEVER fails me and ALWAYS loves.

This is not to say that the people who give pity are bad fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that for most of these people, life happens. They move, they graduate, they get married, they have kids, they have an emergency in their lives, they experience a life-changing situation; this is all part of life and how God created us. Imagine never being able to mentally move on when something tragic happens. Imagine carrying the weight of the pain of ALL of the victims of 9/11, wars, tsunamis, heart attacks, name it. It would literally drive you insane. So the fact that Pity has a half-life of about 3 to 4 weeks is a blessing from the Lord.

Another example is a person who has the best of intentions by saying, "I am your friend. Call me ANY TIME! Hold nothing back from me! Tell me how you are really doing! I want to walk side-by-side with you through the best and the worst." You are hurting, vulnerable, and so desperately seeking to not be alone in your struggle that you believe this person without having tested the friendship in a major way. The person did not realize just how low the low points are, and about 3 to 4 weeks later says something to the effect of, "I can't take it. It's too much. I'm sorry, but this relationship has to end." Either that or they suddenly disappear from your life. Those are the most painful rejections I have experienced, and I have become really gunshy about taking someone up on the offer of "call me any time" because when the inevitable fallout occurs, I drop to my lowest point. Dangerously low.

As I said before, I'm learning to rely solely on God to be available all of the time and walk side-by-side with me through the euphoria and the drudge because only God can fill the God-sized hole in me. In relying solely on God, I'm learning to actually love myself for the first time and to see myself the way He sees me. The sin and mire and yuck are not me...they are my Flesh. I'm learning that my identity is the Christ Image of me and that the Flesh is outside of me and thus, something that can be confronted. I'm learning to use Scripture to battle the voices of the Flesh, the World, and the Principalities, and for the first time, I'm truly seeing progress in this area of my life.

God is my refuge, my strength, my stronghold, my shield, my high tower, and to put anyone else in that place is idolatry and can only result in pain and loss.