We had finally reached the end of what is typically one of the busiest weeks of the year.
It was now finally Saturday, and we had been gone all day long at one of our son’s soccer games out of town. The kitchen was a picture of chaos, with coolers and leftovers from our packed lunch sitting in the perfect place for me to trip over while I tried to throw together a late dinner. The crusty dishes from breakfast were still piled high in the sink. Fruit gnats had found our compost bucket, which, I might add, was beginning to smell nasty and fermented. The tomato sauce splattered all over the stove when I poured it into the pot to make spaghetti.
In the meantime, I was moving super slowly. I felt very, very tired. Plus, for some unknown reason, my left knee – the knee I’ve had trouble with off and on for 22 years since I injured it in high school – was causing me a lot of pain. I wrapped ice around it while I cut up veggies for dinner and just kept moving. Slowly I focused on finishing dinner, getting everyone fed, and getting the kitchen in decent shape so that I could just go to bed.
Oh yes, and I also concentrated very hard on feeling sorry for myself. All I could think of was, “I’m sooo tired. My knee hurts. I just want to go to bed.” I couldn’t have smiled if you would have paid me, and I really didn’t feel like answering questions or talking to my family.
And then, someone showed up at our door.
Oh yeah. I had forgotten that we had told a young friend of ours he could spend the night with us. But there he was, and what could I do but find some sort of pleasant look to greet him with? I pulled a lopsided smile out from way down deep inside my toes, and welcomed him in.
This friend of ours has some disabilities and special needs, which meant that heading to bed any time soon just wasn’t going to happen. But he is incredibly delightful to have around, and he needed to be served.
I invited him into the kitchen with me (scooting the coolers out of the way as best I could) and began to serve him dinner and visit with him. He shared a fun story about something that had happened earlier in the day, which made me laugh in spite of myself.
Several minutes later, as I fed him and helped him with various needs, it occurred to me that I wasn’t quite as tired as I had been. I had forgotten all about my aching knee. The mess in the kitchen didn’t look so terrible. And in fact, I was feeling quite joyful and energetic.
This young man has taught me many life lessons, and this time was no exception: If you’re down, feeling sorry for yourself, and otherwise choosing to throw yourself a pity party…consider who you might serve. Looking outward toward meeting the needs of others will take the focus off of “self” every time.
Disclaimer: Obviously, we all need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves before we serve others, otherwise we have nothing left to give. The point of this post isn’t suggesting that you give of yourself until you pass out. The point is to stop feeling sorry for yourself. And if you’re having a hard time doing that, find someone to serve. It works every time.
Victoria Sconion says
Lol! I was just telling my readers that pity parties are not allowed, but encouragement and a kick in the rear will help! Motivating our team members, family, friends, and associates will help you be successful.
DaNelle Wolford says
Man, I sure needed this. My back has been flaring up and it’s so hard to think outside of myself and my needs.
DaNelle recently posted…Why I changed my mind about Homeschooling
Love this story – it is so true!
Ashley Smith says
This is my tried and true tactic when I start to feel discouraged or depressed. Stop focusing on MYSELF and focus on OTHERS as the the Lord Jesus Christ has called to do. It’s amazing how much selfish thinking can drain your energy.
I hope you got some rest and propped that knee up! I have a bum knee too, no fun!
What wonderful advice! I so love your site. You help more than you will ever know.
Jennifer L. says
Oh, you are precious! Thanks for being transparent with your readers. It is comforting to know that somewhere across America another mom is not perfect, but still cares for others, and opens her home to friends despite the “lived in” look (that’s how I choose to describe my messy kitchen). Blessings to you!
Thank you! My youngest started school this year, so I found a small part time job. It is only 3 hours a day while my kids are at school, but very hard physical work. It does not interfere with my family time at all, but I have been feeling so sorry for myself because I feel so tired and so rushed trying to get everything done before my kids get home from school. I’ve been throwing such a huge pity party for myself. I’m finding a way to serve someone this weekend so I can just get over it!
Love your blog, it is like that mini-sermon, kick in the pants I need right when I need it. Have a great weekend!
Wow. I needed to hear this. Thanks for sharing. :) have a great day!
Awesome!!! Just AWESOME!
Yesterday was one of those days that I needed this! Granted, had you posted it then, I probably would have hit you for it…yep, that kind of day! You know the days…where you know you are tired beyond your toes, smiles are forced, and you are just out of sorts and trying to get your head wrapped around the fact that you still have to get through the day.
But, when I got home and had two kids to get to activities and supper to fix, just providing for them was the shot of perspective and energy I needed!
Sharon Westerfield says
You do have a “way with words”. They crack me up sometimes! This one cracked me up but at the same time at the end you pulled it all together with why we “do serve” one another.
Thank you for sharing and thank you for the reminder :)
I would add to this to ask for help!! So many of us having the kind of day you had would have felt resentment or anger towards “my ungrateful kids” or “that husband of mine that never pitches in” or spent the day thinking “how come I’m always stuck doing this?”
So many times we think we MUST do it all and end up feeling sorry for ourselves when we might actually have a willing array of helpers who just need to be asked.
This is one of your best posts ever. Thank you!
Good stuff. Thanks!
Beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing.
Nicole B. says
That is very true! The best way to feel better is just to forget about yourself because self centeredness is the root of grief. The bible says only by pride cometh contention.
I found a wonderful way to get rid of those pesky gnats! Take a mug and fill it with apple cider vinegar and then put a few drops of dish detergent in it (don’t mix it). Sit it on the counter and wait. The gnats/fruit flies will be attracted and will go into it and not be able to get back out. It works wonders! I have ten in my mug right now. Little buggers annoy me to no end.
What a wonderful lesson learned and not just by you.
All of you with bum knees (me) sore backs (sometimes me), etc NEED some Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone Massage Oil! Next time you order from Vitacost add a bottle to your order. You’re going to be SO happy that you did!!! This stuff really works!