Russ, the image consultant on the movie, The Kid, sits across from the weeping governor. He poses the question, What's the number one killer of women over forty?
The governor sniffs and frowns, shakes her head.
"Self pity," Russ says, only half joking.
The governor certainly didn't laugh.
It's said that behind every joke is a bit of truth. I think that applies in this case as well. While self pity likely won't kill a woman physically, it just might kill her spirit and rob others of joy, as she endeavors to suck the life out of those she loves.
My counselor husband tells me there are at least four indicators that a woman or a man, for that matter, is experiencing difficulty letting go.
1. Repetitive worrying that keeps the person awake at night.
2. Repetitive marital conflict that's never resolved. One issue tends to be the go-to problem whenever stress arises.
3. Repetitive sadness or hurt. Christians can sometimes use these terms to camouflage anger or feelings of abandonment. Sadness and hurt sound more benign and tend to elicit sympathy while anger elicits rebuke.
4. Releasing for a woman begins the day she gives birth, and for the first time someone else touches her child. The release of that little one as s/he grows is a continual "death" of mom. Each transition requires loving detachment, saying goodbye to one stage and welcoming a new one. But in the release comes a precious freedom for both mom and child.
In each stage the temptation toward self pity can be very real. The antidote: Rehearse who you are.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139), and thus have great worth and value in His sight. God loves you with an infinite, everlasting love.
If you have received Christ as your Savior, you are now God's child--holy, chosen, forgiven, redeemed, a recipient of His grace (Ephesians, chapters one - three). Your identity, regardless of the changing seasons of life, is fixed. He wants to fill you up with His love so that you can give back to others. Therein lies your joy and purpose.
Doesn't leave much room for self-pity, doesn't it?
So, if you're struggling in the "letting go" process and find yourself in a pity party, remember to force your focus back to the Lord. In your release of things and people, let Him fill you up to overflowing with His love and joy. Trust Him to be enough, in every season of life. You'll be amazed at how He will come through for you.