It creeps in on silent feet when least expected. Surprises me, even when I think I’ve locked the door, deadbolted it. It’s sneaky like that. A joy stealer. Arrives like a thief in the night. A masquerader, a hypocrite. A tempter. Even a liar. Sometimes I throw cold water in its face, stop it in its tracks.
Joy Thief by allie taylor
And sadly, other times I almost relish it.
Woe is me.
But in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to. I know better. And I hate how I feel when I succumb.
Noiselessly, it crept up on me without warning yesterday morning. When I was cheerfully minding my own business, starting the day, getting the kids out the door for school.
Through the monitor I hear Hudson chatter in his room upstairs. (You know Hudson, my nearly five year old little special needs guy.) I’m glad he’s busy, because I have cleaning to do, carnage from the recently departed lunch-making crew. Dirty cutting boards, knives. Crumbs, mayonnaise and jelly smears. Hum as I work, sip my tea. Soon she’ll arrive for our weekly basement workout. I so look forward to it. Hum humming along, smiling to hear the upstairs chatter, bookmark the funny quote I’ll tell her on the treadmill.
She’ll arrive in ten minutes. I race up stairs two by two to change Hudson’s diaper, get him dressed, give a quick breakfast. Halfway up I smell something. And I get nervous. Hudson and I, we have history. (She Picked Up Her Pen. Yeah, that kind of history.)
I find him happily rocking in his upholstered rocking chair, turning pages of The Little Engine That Could. Chortling to himself. I get closer, and all’s not well. Brown peeks from pajama pant ankles, spills onto the cushion. Little brown hands, a little brown chin. I deflate. Been here before. Not once or twice. More. I’m overwhelmed, discouraged at the gargantuan task suddenly ahead of me. The hurry in which it must be accomplished. I kick into action, lay out a towel, strip him down. Use a million wipes in the process. Bag up the clothes, the offending diaper, the pound of wipes. Start the bath water. And that’s when it quietly creeps in, on cat’s feet. When the voices murmur low…
- “Wonder how long he’ll be in diapers…”
- “Maybe he’ll never be potty trained…”
- “All your friends with five year olds, they’ve been finished with diapers for years now…”
- “Aren’t you getting a little old for this?”
- “Quite possibly you’ll be doing this the rest of your life…”
- “Diapers are expensive. Wonder how much you’d save…”
The voices of doubt, self pity, complaining, they mingle and rise. A dull roar, pilfer my joy of moments ago. But I recognize it. (Today I do.) Self pity is just that. A Joy Thief. A liar. A party pooper. (Pun intended.) A robber. And I choose to put self-pity in its place. (Today I do.) Fight back the only way I know how: speak truth.
Stop. It. In. Its. Tracks. Remind myself the many joys and blessings (read more about those blessings here: Glimpse of Sunshine, Can’t Buy This, Grace for Hudson, Embrace the Gift, They Didn’t Know ) I’ve received. How they far outweigh these fleeting moments in time, these doubts I let creep in.
“Eucharisteo” – Greek for “to give thanks” Photo courtesy Lauryn Ortlieb
Maybe you have fleeting moments of self pity too? Don’t know your journey, the pity party that knocks on your door uninvited, when you least expect it. But know this. Self pity, it grows like a cancer. Eats from the inside out, leaves you nothing but a hollow, discontented shell. Whatever the hardship, pain in your journey, you don’t need self-pity along too.
Let’s do it. Let’s start counting. Counting blessings. You and me, separately. (Together.) We might just surprise ourselves. The murmurs and voices, they’ll return in the weak moments. But we’ll be ready, we’ll count. We’ll speak truth loud and clear. Truth about how blessed we truly are.
Please take a moment to share something you’re thankful for today…
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.“
Related post: Key Women
We all have something that can rob us of our
Joy…what a great challenge this is to me.
nancy mcmahan says
I am so grateful to have my 96 year old mom living with us though at times self pity creeps in. i work on it when it does. Thank you Allie for this blog.
Aunt pinkie says
Oh, thanks, Allie-how self-centered we can become and how other-centered we need to be! We have Soooo much to thank Him for -his tortuous death on the cross because He loved me-that alone is mindboggling!
We can look forward to a blessed Easter because of Him!
Nice essay! Comparison is the thief of joy? Actually comparison is kind of neutral thing, a process that allows us to put our lives in perspective. Comparison to what, or too whom? we need to full in that blank. It is SELF that drives us to compare our lives to those of others. Comparison to those with what appears to be “better” lives leads us to envy, self-pity, hate, lack of thankfulness, anger towards others and God, etc. It comes from thinking we are better people than we are, to a glorification of self, to a kind of narcissism that tells us we are the stars of our own movie. Comparison to those less blessed leads us thankfulness, a desire to help others, a sense that we are of all people most blessed, to humility, and a gratefulness towards God for his blessings and provisions, thoughts that lead to Joy. SELF is the author of most of our problems and unhappiness, as our parents learned in the Garden. love. cer
ps: I am unhappy because I do not have that gorgeous door bolt…it should be mine, not somebody else’s. Woe is me.
Thanks, dearest Allie, for reminding us to go back to “eucharisto”–giving thanks to God, receiving His joy and grace! I needed THAT!
Nancy Hammett says
I too have moments of self pity. Then I say you need to stop and walk outside in the fresh air and sit and listen to the sweet little birds sing and think of Gods creation and His goodness. Thank you for sharing this sweet post, your posts are a blessing to me.
Beautiful. Just Beautiful.
Michelle Haverfield says
Thanks Allie for a wonderful post. Letting us put our lives into prespective. No matter what we are facing we must always Give Thanks for all HE Has Done for US. Remembering HE will never give US more than we can handle. You are blessed with Hudson, think of all the joys he has brought to you, Jon and the boys. Allie you are a special women and are a testimony to all the others. Please keep writing your messages are so beautiful!!!
Barbara B. says
How easy to fall into this trap – everyone has at one time or another! I have to work hard to keep this avenger under control. He works so insidiously, unobtrusively ,sllently, creeping inward to disturb our peace, tranquility, disposition in so many areas!!! Most of the time without warning and in inopportune times and places. Thankfully God has given precise answers to these times of distress – HIS WORD RECITED BACK TO THIS THIEF that would destroy our calmness and joy. Remember “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy” but we have the weapons Christ have given us to defeat this creature of darkness that would usurp our JOY. Let us use these powerful weapons and put him under our feet for we are victors as we use this powerful tool to dispense all his wiles that so easy beguile us!!!
Thank you, honey, for a reminder that measuring ourselves against others clouds our view of the blessings every day brings.
Eucharisteo. It’s been a beautiful journey learning it with you!! Thanks for this needful post.
Rosemary Houston says
Thankful that God gives us friends and fellow sisters in Christ to remind us and sight to rejoice always!
Ginger Worrell says
Thankful for God sending me the cold wet nose of Gracie in the morning who is dancing around wanting to get out for her backyard visit. Do I want to sleep a little longer under the warm covers? You bet I do, but when nature calls the furbabies, I’m up and headed for the door followed by their footsteps right behind me. It’s then that I realize how truly blessed I am. I woke up to another day and at age 64 with the health issues I’ve had the last ten years, this is a BIG blessing, and I can still walk. It may be with a walker because my legs just don’t cooperate anymore, but I’m up and moving, and I know I’m loved by not just my furbabies, but Robbie and Ginia who thankfully still live at home. You are so right Allie….nobody is going to steal my joy. Love you Allie and all your family too!
Linda Jenkins says
How right you are. I have faced the Joy Thief so many times. He has beaten me so many times. He seems so strong, and I feel so weak. But I read an article the other day about a woman who chose to look at everything in her life as “a blessing.” The explanations of how things that I couldn’t see as blessings were explained in a way that made me realize the silver lining in each experience. So yes, the Joy Thief visits, but I am determined to see what happens to me as the many blessings that God has provided for me, and I will continue to thank God for His simple joys and blessings. Sorry, Joy Thief, you lose!
Christy Smith says
I am thankful today for being in a beautiful spot that my dad graciously gifted us for the weekend. Life gets busy and demanding with what seems like endless chores and responsibilities. It is nice to have some downtime in LaQuinta! I am grateful for times of rest and quiet.