Do you ever feel like you are drowning in sorrow? I know that’s how it felt for me. Growing up, I felt very misunderstood, like the black sheep of the family. Nobody bothered to find out my point of view, or cared how I felt, but instead tried to push off their own ideas for my life onto me.
Sorrow and self-pity were stirred in my heart, starting their grip on me early in life, sprouting out of my fears of being misunderstood and not measuring up to everything expected of me.
My way of combatting these fears of disapproval and rejection was to ‘not care’ anymore. I decided that if I was labeled as the misunderstood black sheep, then that’s who I would be; I would gladly play that role and show you just how much you didn’t understand me, and show you how ‘I don’t care’ to measure up to your expectations. It got to a point where I enjoyed the company of sorrow and self-pity, justifying it out of a victim-like mentality.
I would wrap sorrow around myself like a cloak, or a blanket, in an attempt to comfort myself from real life issues, but really I was only suppressing them, keeping what felt like an injustice to myself, pent up in my heart. Slowly, over the years of my life, sorrow became my companion, taking more and more hold on me, offering a counterfeit form of comfort, or numbing, to my pain.
Psalms 39:2–3 I was bound with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was murmuring the fire burned.
Psalms 18:4–5 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how big of a stumbling block this was in my relationship with God. I didn’t realize how the devil was stealing my joy every single day, beating me up with what I thought were my own thoughts and feelings. I felt utterly defenseless and helpless.
I didn’t realize that FEAR made the way for sorrow, which in turn made the way for hopelessness, helplessness, despair, discouragement, worthlessness, etc.
All of these feelings would rush over me like a wave, rendering me ineffective to spreading the gospel and in my everyday life. Day in and day out I would drag myself around, forcing myself to serve others around me, like it was all I was worth, like it was the only thing I was consistently good at. I would feed the family and help out wherever I could, just trying to play the ‘good christian role.’ I would, at times, become impatient which would only lead to discouragement, feeling like I had lost all hope and confidence, then self-pity would take hold.
The definition of self-pity is this: a feeling of pity for yourself because you believe you have suffered more than is fair or reasonable. So needless to say, having this victim-like mentality, over and over again this would happen; It was a viscious cycle, coming and going like the tide.
Psalms 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?
I couldn’t take it anymore, the pain was overwhelming and I simply could not bear this burden any longer. I needed deliverance from this bondage that had gripped me most of my life. Knowing that if I was to be delivered that I needed to understand what exactly I was being delivered from, I began to study. I would learn about sorrow inside and out, forward and backward, from every angle.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Galatians 5:16–17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
The devil has a way of speaking to people. He knows our weaknesses and he knows that if he can speak to us in just the right way, we will take it as our own thoughts, swallowing his lies hook, line and sinker. He also knows how to speak to us in a way, using scripture, to make us think that we are hearing from God. We must be careful to not be so quick to give into these emotions, these lies, because the heart is deceitful above all things and just because we feel a thing does not make it true.
The Bible says that in the last days perilous times will come and that men will become lovers of their own ‘selves’ more than lovers of God (2 Tim 3:2). When you allow your ‘self’ to influence you, all you can focus on is how you feel and what your point is, you are actually opening the door for the devil to come barging in and deceive you. Whatever your weaknesses may be, the devil knows them, and he will be quick to use them against you, in any and every way possible, in order to render you ineffective. This is why it is important to not seclude yourself in these moments, because the devil is lying in wait, ready to get you alone and play on your emotions, your feelings and your hurts. Take heed to not give into these schemes of the enemy, tossing aside all wisdom and understanding for the justification of ‘me, myself and my feelings.’
Proverbs 18:1–2 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire, he rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Matthew 15:18–20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.
Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
We must be careful to not let our hearts deceive us. The deadliest stumbling block in my way was my ‘self’ causing destruction all around me, and not just in my life, but in others as well. Everything that we have gone through in our lives has made us who we are today.
We have all formed survival patterns, automatically going into certain thoughts, feelings, actions or responses, in order to protect ourselves from the world around us. We also hear things through our hurt, through filters, that deceive us into believing that we are being insulted or rejected, when those around us are only trying to spur us on to good works.
Be careful not to give into your own wild imaginations, but cast down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, even if that is yourself. We must take every thought captive. So, when you hear a thing, test it: see if it lines up with scripture. If it doesn’t, you can be sure that it isn’t from God. If what your hearing invokes shame or rejection you can be sure that it isn’t from God. Even in correcting us, God has a way of comforting us. He will not tell you something that will invoke fear, since fear is contrary to God. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
If intense emotional feelings come your way, by all means, feel it out if you like, but then decide what you believe about them and move on. There were many times that sorrow would rear its ugly head and I would have to feel it out, and decide whether or not I agreed with it, and move on. There were other times that I could feel the enemy poking at me, trying to find a way in, and as I got closer and closer to giving in, I would to call out to Jesus in that very moment, saying, “Lord, I can’t take this much longer, I feel like I am about to give into sin, please help me!” You see, the enemy will speak to us, and tempt us, and in that moment you have the choice: you can either give into this sin, or you can submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Matthew 16:24–25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
There is a reason that Jesus said ‘deny yourself’ and follow me. We cannot please both God and man; We cannot please our own flesh and please God at the same time. We must die to our flesh, leaving behind the things of the world, becoming a new creation.
We must come to the realization that it has nothing to do with us, our desires or our opinions, and it has everything to do with Jesus.
All He wants from us is faith, trust and obedience. We shouldn’t be seeking to live for ourselves, but to live for Him, because He paid the ultimate price for our sins. We must remove our selves, our motives and our feelings from the equation all together, and allow Jesus take control. We are chosen, and it has nothing to do with our ability to color within the lines.
I heard the Lord say, “The dilemma at hand is your attitude towards deliverance.” You see, I knew most of these things that I was studying, had heard them over and over, but never truly applied them to my life.
I studied so hard to learn the mechanics of sorrow, thinking that doing this was going to deliver me in some way. You do have to understand what you are being delivered from, but there comes a time when you must hand over this burden to Jesus and give Him control. He will not take these burdens from you, but you must willingly hand them over, then He will be quick to take control. I also heard Him say that this was causing a “displacement of service.” I was still doing everything I could to serve those around me, but I was doing it with bitterness in my heart, because of all the self-pity and despair. I wasn’t being a cheerful giver, but instead felt like I was being used and unappreciated: all lies from the devil. My service was not based on love, and any action not based on love is a sin. If love is not your sole motive, it is sin.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 7:9–11 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
I had been controlled by worldly sorrow, giving into it daily, accompanied by pity of ‘self’ and so much of it that I had the sentence of death, despairing even of life. The only thing this kind of sorrow leads to is death. Godly sorrow, however, works repentance and leads to salvation, bringing about carefulness, cleansing and zeal.
Jesus told His disciples that if He did not leave the earth, that God could not send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Power of God. The Holy Spirit is full of tender mercies and loving kindness, able to comfort even the most broken of hearts. God is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort others who are in trouble with this same comfort we received of God. Our afflictions are for the consolation and salvation of others, that they may be able to endure the same sufferings we suffer. Don’t leave others ignorant of how you have suffered or how you have been troubled. We should be honest and transparent with one another, and in doing so, others may be comforted in knowing they are not the only ones going through these tribulations. By giving these examples, of how we have overcome and how we have been delivered from such a burden, we may be able to comfort others and help them to overcome.
2 Corinthians 1:3–10 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort that we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
2 Corinthians 2:7–8 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
If someone sins against us, we should be quick to forgive and comfort them, showing how much we love them to prevent them from being taken under by sorrow. In lowliness of mind we should be esteeming others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). We must be patient and long-suffering, preferring others over ourselves. We should be praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are all one body. Happiness and joy is found in the heart of those that pray for others, since we take the focus off of our ‘selves’ and focus on those around us. We must all come into one spirit, one mind, one hope until we complete the fullness that is Christ. We have all been given gifts, different gifts, and they are to be used for the edification of the body of Christ, spurring each other onto better, more perfect works (Hebrews 10:24).
I encourage you all to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) daily, so that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the enemy, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers of the darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The devil will use anything he can to get you to doubt who you are in God’s eyes and more importantly to get you to doubt who God is and how powerful and loving and comforting He truly is.
Get into your prayer closet, rend your hearts and let God make you anew, a new creation, free from sadness and sorrow, free from the bondage that has controlled you. Hand your burdens over to Jesus and let Him have control in your life, leading you and guiding you every step of the way. Lay your ‘self’ down before the throne of the Most High and allow God to work in you and through you.
If we would only lay down our lives, letting Jesus take the reigns, we would see just how quickly and effectively He delivers us. He who has started this good work in us will surely see it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Lay down any confidence you have in yourself and your abilities and take on the confidence that Jesus rules and reigns in your life and that He is always there to lend a helping hand. Jesus is our strength, our rock, our refuge and our rest. Rest in Jesus, trust in Him, and he will give you the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Jeremiah 31:25 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.
Isaiah 14:3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.
Revelations 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
God bless you all! Be free and set free!
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