A Party of One

The other day, Ron McClung, of Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote the following piece based on an excerpt from my recently published book, Filled Up, Poured Out: How God’s Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose. I trust that it will shed some light and encourage you. By the way, I’ll be giving a presentation on “The Power of Story” at the Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library in Hayward on Thursday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m. Books will be available for $13.00
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My wife and I walked into a restaurant the other day and the hostess said, “Party of two?” and I replied, “Yes, there are just the two of us.”
If I had been alone, I doubt if she would have asked, “Party of one?” because it’s hard to have a “party” by yourself, unless it’s a pity party – in which case you’re almost sure to be alone.
My friend, Mark Wilson, a pastor in northern Wisconsin, wrote a delightful book, Filled Up, Poured Out, in which he suggests four problems with pity parties:
1. There is no music.
If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you are not simultaneously giving thanks for the things he has done for you. As Mark says, “Nobody brings a banjo or accordion” or any other instrument. In your head, you might hear the melancholy strains of a lonely violin or the spooky sound of a dirge played on an organ. But in all likelihood, there’s just no music at all.
2. There are no refreshments.
Think about it: there’s nothing really refreshing about a pity party. Instead we dish up a “stew of rehashed offenses and complaints.”
3. There are no guests.
If you send out invitations to your pity party, I can almost guarantee no one will come. It’s true that misery loves company, but I have seldom seen people stand in line to spend time intentionally with those who chronically feel sorry for themselves.

4. There is no hope.
This is the saddest of all. As long as we feel sorry for ourselves, we are consumed with our problems, not looking for a brighter future.
The apostle Paul could have thrown a pity party, because he face huge difficulties in life. He was beaten several times, shipwrecked, faced danger from bandits, and others. He often went without sleep and suffered both hunger and thirst. Yet he said, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV).
He could have had a pity party. If anyone had reason to feel sorry for himself, it was Paul. Yet he learned to trust the Lord and believe that in Christ better things lay ahead. So trust in the Lord. In your weakness, he can make you strong.

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