Repelling the Victim Virus

Suffering

I decided early on that I didn’t want the “victim virus” to take over my mind or my mouth, because I quickly noticed that whenever I succumbed to victimhood, “poor me” kept stumbling around in the dark, delaying my progress through the murky shadows. As Eugene H. Peterson writes, “God feels our pains, but he does not indulge our self-pity.”

So to get the focus away from my own difficulties, I began to focus on the needs of others. And since I was spending a lot of time in the hospital, I saw plenty of bleeding, crying, and dying people who were worse off than me. Elisabeth Elliot said, “Self-pity is a death that has no resurrection, a sinkhole from which no rescuing hand can drag you because you have chosen to sink” and I chose early on that I would do all I could to resist sinking into it.

I didn’t want to be defined by my misfortunes, but refined by them, and so I prayed that God would free me from the debris of my disappointments so that I could “do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”


– Originally published in The Other End of the Dark: A Memoir About Divorce, Cancer, and Things God Does Anyway (the profits of which go to Freedom House).

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