I must have said “it’s not fair” often as a child because I vividly remember my mom telling me (in an annoyed tone) that “life isn’t fair”.
I hadn’t thought much about it until I said it to my own kid recently. It was one of those parenting moments when you hear the words coming out of your mouth and you realize that you sound just like your mother. And even scarier than sounding like your mother is the fact that you now understand exactly why she said what she did!!
I do not remember what I thought was not fair back in those days, but I could list quite a few for my present situation.
Then comes the inner struggle. I am sure you know it as well. The struggle between gratitude and reality.
Everytime I turn around someone is telling me to count my blessings, providing me with Bible verses about the goodness of God, or want to encourage me where I’m at.
What if I want to dwell on the fact that life isn’t fair? It’s my right to pout and whine and complain, isn’t it? Ask my four year old, he has whining down to a science (which by the way is more patience trying than just about anything else in my life these days).
Absolutely. Go ahead and pout. Dwell on the unfairness of your life. I will give you a minute to complain about everything that is wrong and painful and simply not fair. Take your time and come back when you have expressed yourself.
Are you finished?
How do you feel? Better that you got it off your chest? Good. Now, do this every day and let me know how you feel at the end of the week.
I guarantee you will continue to feel more and more disgruntled, trapped in a downward spiral of self-pity.
There is a reason we are told to count our blessings. I guess it is the same reason my mom’s “life isn’t fair” comment is now understandable to me.
Dwelling on the fact that life isn’t fair (even if you are completely justified in dwelling) makes you feel awful. It also doesn’t solve anything. It imprisons you in an attitude of discontent, leaving you viewing each aspect of your life through a negative haze.
When I think about life not being fair, the moms of the special needs kids I know come to mind. They have every right to say, “it’s not fair”. Do you know what I love about these moms? They didn’t sit and sulk about the fact their child wasn’t like the other kids they knew- they pushed forward and did everything they could to make life good for their child.
A few of you wonderful moms are reading this right now and I hope you to know how much I admire you!
Why we shouldn’t dwell on “life isn’t fair”
Simply put, it makes us miserable. Why would you want to be miserable? The reality of it is that you can’t control your circumstances. The ugly hurtful things of this world will come in your space. You will always come into contact with annoying or scary or painful situations. It is the result of the fallen world in which we live.
So now I’m going to risk sounding like everyone else. It is a good idea to count your blessings. It helps you focus on the good in your life. When you focus on the good in your life, it not only lifts the load, but it creates more good.
Just as dwelling on “life isn’t fair” is a slippery slope to self-pity, counting your blessings leads to seeing more blessings.
I believe it builds. When we stop dwelling on the bad, we embrace the good. The more good we embrace, the more good we see. The bad doesn’t go away. Goodness knows, the hole in my heart is still a very big hole, but each time I embrace the good around me, it pulls me in and lifts me up.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”
It is the will of God that we do not live in self-pity and discontent.
So, dear friends, embrace the will of God for your life and count your blessings. Let’s remove the attitude of “life isn’t fair” and start seeing the good around us. I will start with how thankful I am that you are here listening to my heart!
During a darker part of my grief, I struggled with the idea of suffering and how Paul could be content. You might be interested in reading it here at When Sorrow Steals your Joy