Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Overcoming Negativity: Day 6: Why Bother?

Today's Challenge(s): 
Do it anyway, and claim the victory.
Do it for yourself, and don't worry about the outcome.

Why bother? No one appreciates me anyway.
Why bother? It's just going to get dirty/messed up again
Why bother? It's too late.
Why bother? No one sees it.
Why bother? No one cares.

You know what I hear in these words? Self-pity. Regret. Frustration. Bitterness. Resentment. Hurt. Someone who has been deeply wounded and has put up a wall of protection. Someone who has felt under or unappreciated. Devalued, undervalued or not valued at all. Insignificant. Why bother...I might get hurt again. And I can't risk any more hurt.

Negative thinking like this keeps us trapped not only in the negativity, but in the pain of those emotions. In the pain of the root of that rejection. 

When we stay anchored to the past we are unable to venture out into the new territory of our future.  

I found myself saying those exact words recently when my daughter asked me why I never finished college. She told me I should go back now and finish, since I was so close (probably about 12 credits shy of a degree---yeah, I know, dumb). I said, "Why bother now? I don't need a degree. I don't want a degree."

"But you would be doing it for yourself," she said, encouragingly.
"No I wouldn't," I replied. "I'd be doing it for you, since you're the one who thinks I should go back!"

It's important to her right now because she is contemplating going to grad school. I'm not making an excuse. I really have no desire at this point in my life to go back to school. But what if I was using it as an excuse? 

Why bother is an excuse of defiance. It says
  • Why should I?  
  • Why do you think I should? 
  • Give me one good reason.
  • And who are you, anyway, to tell me what to do?
  • I'll only do it if I get something out of it.
If you're finding an excuse to opt out of doing something because you won't get recognition, you're probably doing it for the wrong reason.

You will be forever spinning your wheels because there will always be an unmet need to be recognized. You may get rewarded this time, but go unnoticed next time. And the pain and humiliation of that deep-seated rejection will rear its ugly head. And the wall will come back up. And your protective armor will come down. And in defiance, you'll say, "You can't tell me what to do. I'll do what I want. Why bother?" 

You'll stay in the land of Negativity and Self-pity. Is that what you want?

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Chances are they don't even know they're doing anything "wrong." You may have unspoken rules that you didn't tell them. You can't fault them for not knowing the rules if you haven't told them.

If you're looking to others for approval, significance or validation, you will always be disappointed. 

You won't find it by looking to others. People will always let you down. You won't find it by looking "within" because you'll always see your own flaws. Look to the Father. His love never fails. He always accepts us-unconditionally. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son for an atoning sacrifice for our sins (I John 4:10)

If you struggle with feelings of insignificance, check out Robert McGee's Search for Significance (you can find it on my amazon gadget on the sidebar). It changed my life.

Blessings Along the Path,

Sharing with Holly today at Testimony Tuesday


  1. Mary - You have flown leaps and bounds with your blog since we spoke. If you were a student in my class I'd turn the class over to you and sit down in the student's desk. Bravo!! Wish I had the time to devote to this that you do - lately, I'm good to get one post a week up. Perhaps it's a season. I will take some of these negativity-not lessons to heart. Joy to you!!

  2. Thanks, Kathy! That means a lot to me. I've committed to this, and I'm sort of panicking because I'll be away for three days, but you know what? If I fall behind (and I started out behind...so what? I'll just keep going. My readers may actually enjoy a breather! You, however, have a very big thing that's taking your time. Seasons exactly! Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment! And for our mentoring session. You started the ball rolling for me.

  3. Recently my teenage daughter and I were talking seriously about the need for young women to find beauty in the eyes of their potential spouse not look for approval from the young people around them. This is another (more grown-up) example of the same principle. I appreciate the thoughts.

    1. Thanks, Helene. Ultimately, we need to find our worth, beauty and approval in Jesus. Anything else will always fall short, and once we get that, it's so freeing! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Your post encouraged my heart today. Glad to read of others battling the never ending battle the enemy of our soul brings our way to get us stuck in one spot thinking we are of no use to the Master because of our imperfectness. He loves it when we look through our lenses at our self and see failure. I am reminded of an old song, When He See Me He Sees The Blood of The Lamb...that though alone drive t he enemy away. Good post.

  5. Thanks, Betty. Yes, the enemy loves to keep us in bondage especially in our mind, our thinking. As I go through these posts about excuses, I'm so hyper aware of what people (and myself!) are saying around me! Thank you for taking the time to read!