I didn’t realize I lost it, but I had.
I felt anxious, angry, and frustrated, but I could not figure out why.
Every little thing became a gigantic problem.
I was exhausted fighting everything that came my way.
Why did everything happen to me and my family?
I had lost something, but what exactly was it?
As I sat down to read a book that was given to me by a good friend, it became clear. I had set my expectations way too high of situations and people, and I was engulfed by the “whoa is me” attitude that comes with it. I had fallen into a trap of self-pity and misery, and in the process I lost…. compassion.
Without compassion, I no longer understood who I was. My identity was lost along with it. I had built my identity on expectations that were unrealistic.
I had fallen into a pattern of ruminating situations over and over in my head. Analyzing them to the point of exhaustion. Reliving them in my thoughts. I was tired.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
That Matthew verse has always frustrated me. Why on earth would I forgive someone 77 times?
Compassion – that’s why.
Oh yeah. Another reason… for healing my self-pity.
When I get caught up in self-pity, no one seems to measure up. Everything seems to be chaos around me. Jesus says to Peter that he should forgive over and over. Not because the person deserves it necessarily, but because in order for Peter to serve God…Peter must dig deep to find compassion.
The repercussions that will happen if Peter withholds forgiveness are great. Peter’s heart will ache. Peter will fall into self-pity. Peter will no longer see the people he needs to minister toward with compassion, if he doesn’t learn to forgive.
Jesus knew the road ahead of Peter. It was filled with injustice, condemnation, and disrespect. It also was filled with purpose, Grace, and Mercy.
Without keeping compassion in his heart, Peter had no chance of leading Jesus’ mission.
So, just how do I get back the compassion that my heart needs?
Prayer, silence and wisdom. Everyday, three times a day I sit and reflect. I feel those feelings that are ugly and judgmental. I name those feelings for what they are. Breathing in compassion and breathing out self-pity, anger and frustration. I listen to my heart and I acknowledge that these horrible, angry feelings are not me. They are not who I want to be. They do not form my identity.
I want to be compassionate.
I want to be loving.
I want to show mercy.
I want most importantly to serve God, and that can only be done if I find the compassion that I lost somewhere along the journey.