This time of year we're constantly reminded to reflect on the past, learn from it, and look ahead towards future goals. If we're not careful, though, we can get lost in the rabbit hole of what-if and what should have been. At least that's my tendency. I venture a guess I'm not alone?
I can easily find myself in the "pity zone," as I like to call it, where I think about the ways my life has not turned out how I expected. A narrow view of what success looks like mixed with some mighty hefty goals can quickly produce a perfect storm of disillusionment. This is a dark place, and it feeds on any insecurity, negativity, or despair within its grasp.
If I'm not careful I can get pretty cozy in this pity zone. I can grab a cup of tea, kick my feet up, and sink in. It's familiar, it seems relatively harmless, and it requires little of me.
But the pity zone is destructive and deceptive by it's very nature. And it has a very selective memory. It only remembers failures, disappointments, and scarcity. It has a built-in amplification system for negative thoughts and feelings until they become so big they swallow up our confidence and self-worth. And then we feel...stuck.
Oh, the pity zone LOVES us to feel stuck...paralyzed...ineffective...isolated. It will keep refilling that cup of tea and even bring us a soft blanket to keep us there.
What the pity zone doesn't love? When we scan our lives and remind ourselves of the positive and productive things on the timeline, like all the times we've touched a life or contributed unique intellect or talent to an important cause.
Most of all, the pity zone hates it when we recognize our potential. It will never tell us that God is weaving all our experiences together for something big - something greater. And it certainly won't point out what's possible when we step out in faith to pursue our dreams and exercise our giftings.
Stay clear of the pity zone, friends. Even when things are messy and we have regrets, we can't believe the lies. We are not failures. Each experience we've had can be turned into purpose, and every moment of our lives matters. This side of eternity will always be fraught with battles of some kind, but we must keep holding on. We must keep moving forward...together.