i think i am a little fixated on elijah right now. :-) or maybe it's just that i have more to learn from him right now. sunday, god used elijah to remind me about mindfulness - living in the present, in his presence. i have to stop dwelling on the past and dreading the future and just be still and let god be god. yesterday, god reminded me that he knows i am weary, but just like he did for elijah, he will sustain me, if i will only let him. today, i saw yet another similarity between him and me. we both feel defeated.
elijah has done all of these incredible things for god and has seen all of these amazing miracles. but as soon as his life is threatened, he forgets all about those and has a pity party. he tells god that all the other prophets have been killed and so he is the only one left. and, to top it off, the people who killed the other prophets are trying to kill him now too. as my friend beth's mom used to say as she patted you on the back, "pity, pity pity." :-) i don't know about anyone else, but i think having a good pity party sometimes is exactly what the doctor ordered! the problem is that when i am having a pity party because i feel the world is beating me up or some metaphorical jezebels are trying to kill me or i'm not getting the (fill in the blank) that i think i deserve, it's not pity i am feeling. it's defeat.
pity is defined as the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. defeat, on the other hand is frustration due to a prevention of success. pity is directed outwards, towards another. defeat is focused inward, on myself. pity gives me the opportunity to grow in compassion, caring and mercy. it teaches me to look at others and feel the pain they feel and see things through their eyes. it allows me to be used by god to alleviate the suffering of another. defeat does none of those. defeat draws my eyes inward, to focus on my needs and wants. it makes me blind to those around me and erases my memory of all that i have and all that has been done for me. whereas pity draws me closer to god, defeat turns me away completely.
how do i overcome defeat? well, elijah overcame it by telling god why he was hiding in the cave on mt. horab. and then he let god remind him of his purpose and set him back on the right path. i think i have to do the same thing. i need to be mindful and allow god to continually remind me of my purpose. i need to rely on god to sustain me when i am weary. and then, i need to tell god why i am hiding in my cave. if god treats me anything like he did elijah, he won't admonish me for being less than perfect. but neither will he allow me to wallow in my defeat. instead, he will remind me of my purpose. and then he will take me by the hand and lead me back onto and down the right path.