Once Upon a Pity Party…

Sunday night after spending an incredible day playing with family, eating a huge meal, and watching a fireworks spectacular, I came home and had my own little pity party. (I know, not how you thought that sentence was going to end?)

It has taken me a couple of days to understand where the seemingly random sadness and grief came from. And candidly I’m still not sure if I can put words to my feelings, but that is not going to stop me from trying. So here it goes:

Have you ever dreamed of a different life?

But it seemed that life was not within your grasp?

So you filled your days with compelling adventures? With amazing people, places, and pursuits?

And those people, places, and pursuits were fulfilling. (Really, they were.)

So fulfilling that oftentimes you convinced yourself that they were what you needed, even if not exactly what you wanted?

And over the course of time you buried your childhood fantasies?

But then one day you went to a far-away land where everyone seemed to be living out your perfect ending?

And your people, places, and pursuits suddenly seemed rather lackluster.

And you grieved those buried dreams?

Yeah, me too. Me too. Not fun.

Even fireworks can’t rescue a day like that.

But today I sit with some much-needed perspective…firmly in His grasp, appreciative of what I have, of what I’m learning, and of where I’m going.

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I so totally get what you're saying here. I'm so sorry you had a day like that.

    Weird thing is, I'm so appreciative of the things I've been blessed with, and I try my best never to take them for granted. And yet, there are so many things I wonder about. How would life have been different if one lost dream had come true? If I'd made one slightly different decision? We can really beat ourselves up with those thoughts.

    That's when I just try to re-focus on the fact that I do believe I'm exactly where God wants me, even if somedays it's not exactly where I want to be.
    My recent post Tuesday Tunes- If We Are The Body

  • What an ironic thing– I hate that I can relate to that so completely, and yet, I'm grateful I'm not the only one. Thanks so much for sharing Lindsey.

  • yep yep yep and sometimes i think it hits me dead in the face during holidays… when i have to come down, land this adventure i'm living and join up with the others. their adventure comes with them everywhere they go… a marriage partner, a child or 2 or 3, a grandchild, a fiance, an "amazing" career… it comes with them. my adventure is lived separately, individually. i can't bring all of my wonderful friends, my unique restaurants, my traveling ventures, my children that i nanny, the intriguing strangers that i meet… nothing except me, the individual.
    this also isn't a pity party, but it is my reality. i haven't lost hope, but i have days when i am deeply moved by my desire.
    thanks for sharing your heart on this;)
    My recent post Satisfied- strengthened- lifted- and loved

    • I love the way you said this, "i haven't lost hope, but i have days when i am deeply moved by my desire."

  • Sweetie I think you just read my heart. I get there and often. You are not alone.

  • Beautiful description of a universal emotion. It seems to me that we often look into other lives and pine away for what they have been given only to find that the one we believe to be so fortunate is looking upon us with envy! In part, I think it is that eternal longing in our souls. No matter how good, there is always going to be a hunger for something better. Something perfect.

    I'm glad you found contentment today, but I do hope some of those desires skip onto your path soon!

    • i agree, part of it is a stirring that will not be satisfied on this earth.

  • I loved your post. So honest and authentic. In a culture where we can become so can be so good at hiding where we really are, it just feels good to be honest sometimes. And yet it is there that so often that we get perspective. I can only speak for myself, but view is always worth the climb – always.
    My recent post The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

  • Amy

    As I go off today to interview for a job that meets a grand total of NONE of my "requirements" for the perfect job, I needed the reminder to be grateful for what I have and to trust God, who planned my today long, long ago.

    O LORD, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
    for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done marvelous things,
    things planned long ago. (Isaiah 25:1)
    My recent post What ARE you eating

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  • LIndsey, I can relate. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with those childhood fantasies myself. 🙂
    My recent post What’s Up Wednesdays- Conversation Smokescreens

  • Debbie Fowler

    Lindsey… I follow your blog but have never commented… but what I read yesterday in My Utmost for His Highest by O. Chambers made me think of the space you're in right now… it's about God's vision for us becoming reality. Here's a little chunk that sums it up:

    "God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision… While still in the light of the glory of the vision, we go right out to do things, but the vision is not yet real in us.
    God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision… Allow the Potter to put you on His wheel and whirl you around as He desires… But don't lose heart in the process."

    Love your blog… and your heart. Praying God would enlighten the eyes of your heart to see His vision… which I think is more about who we become than what we do.

    Peace and grace,

    • thanks for commenting and sharing that word from oswald chambers. love the picture it paints.

  • I too can so relate. Each time I get home after visiting my family I too have a pity party, realizing what I am missing out on. If only we could have it all.

  • mary kathryn tyson


    i totally get it. i just. get it. and i also understand that you're not suggesting you don't appreciate the life you have, don't enjoy what you've been given. simply…there's an itch you can't scratch and it just won't go away. at least, that's the closest thing i can compare it to for myself…even though that doesn't completely describe it. anyway, i just get it and i'm right there with you.


    • mary kathryn tyson

      p.s. i also forgot to tell you how much i appreciate your raw honesty, so tender and real. thank you for that. mk

      • thank you for understanding. it isn't a lack of appreciation for what i have, it's just a hunger for more, for different. glad i'm not alone.

  • I had that same pity party a week ago. It came after watching Knight & Day. I thought, I’m going to pick up and move to South America.. I don’t know exactly what happened, but something got awakened. Thankfully, I came out of it and am still here. Hopefully, a few dreams were reawakened.

    Thanks for being so transparent!

    • Glad you are still here! Looking forward to having you back in the office tomorrow.

  • Oh gosh! I get it! I get it! I know exactly what you mean… where I land more often than not is in becoming someone I didn't want to be, even if that someone I've become isn't bad, she isn't at all, actually. Lots of people look up to her/me. But the thing is, it's missing something, even if that something isn't easily defined. And it's hard to say all this without it seeming like I'm complaining… I'm not..just reflective and analytical. I, too, am thankful for what I have and where I am, but I think as believers it's all about contentment, and our deep down, thorough realization that this is not our home. Nope, not one bit.
    My recent post dear madeline-

  • Tracy

    Going home to visit your family is a sort of weird in-between place. Somehow we take on our childhood personas even when we have long-outgrown them in real life. If you can take your pity-party and use it to reevaluate your direction, that is awesome.

    I recommend the book You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown Up Girls.
    It is full of practical advice on how to do all those things you swore you would do someday. I have attached the link to Amazon for the book.

  • Lindsey, thank you for sharing this. My family is right where you're describing right now. Dealing with some things and not sure where God is taking us, but trying to be grateful for where we are right now.

  • I so get this .. and I'm a 51-year old married Grandma! God has us on a different path today than we wanted to take, but we're going along and doing our best to make the best of it, trusting in Him .. and of course, always wondering whether we heard Him properly .. are we actually following His path? Thank you for your honesty Lindsey .. you're a wonderful lady!
    My recent post In Place or Out

  • Carol Anne

    Lindsey, you remind me so much of myself sometimes. I left my hometown and moved across the country to pursue my dream. I took care of children in many different ways. A counselor, nanny, aunt, etc. All of my friends and family seemed to settle down and live my dream of marriage and children. I decided that parenting a child was what I really wanted and that I needed to pursue my education further to allow me a career where I could support a child on my own. Marrying an amazing man would be a bonus! I prayed and took the leap. I moved and thoroughly loved my new life as a single girl in Boston. I dated and had just broken up with someone a week before July 4th. I was at the Boston fireworks with friends and other families . So much fun, but went home and cried that it wasn't my family I was with. The next day, at a local fireworks display, I met my husband through a great family. I was so cautious because of my vulnerability the night before. He was not my "type", and here we are 13 years later celebrating the day we met and God's wisdom in knowing he was perfect for me. I still have pity parties over never really pursuing my career any further but they are temporary. We should all feel okay with crying out to God for our desires while praising Him for our blessings. You have the gift of always being so eloquent in putting into words what most of us feel.

    • Carol Anne, thank you for sharing your story. And letting me know its okay to continue wanting things that I don't have.

  • I know that ache. Seems like a bittersweet ache. On the one hand the ache shows the distance between my dream an where I am. I am very thankful for the adventures and memories I have, but the missing is present.

    On the other hand of bittersweetness, the ache reminds me to risk dreaming.

  • I don't comment much~ but love your insight and perspective. I'm actually going through the process of realizing that my childhood dreams may not be what God has planned. It IS hard, and grieving is necessary.

    I too remain in HIs hands; ready for the "more" He has planned that I can not imagine or see right now. Praying for your "more" as well.

    My recent post The God of Second Chances and Giveaway-

  • LInsey, You are a great writer. Those moments are shared by most people who breathe. You make us face them. Thanks.
    My recent post Four requirements for finding friends in a world of fans

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I tried explaining what I was feeling to a few folks and was struggling to get them out of my mouth so it was really helpful to write them down.

  • Thanks for sharing this Lindsey… I too have had a few of those experiences – mine tend to deal mostly with loneliness (maybe because I'm an extrovert?) but I'm trying to learn to enjoy those moments of solitude a bit more. Anyway, thanks again.

  • Like the African proverb says, "I taste your tears."

    Lindsey, my prayers will be more fervent, more sincere, more raw. No, you don't NEED my prayers, but it's something I feel so called to do.

    Not for a significant other, not for a better job, not for a smile instead of a frown, but for a heart content in Him–yes, that is my prayer for you.

    My recent post no place like home…

    • Seriously, I think you are amazing. And I so NEED your prayers especially the ones for contentment. Keep 'em up.

  • I don’t feel like I could possibly understand MORE! I hear you, Lindsey, I really do. It’s interesting that we can both feel those things, though our lives and our unfulfilled-for-now desires are very different. I pray we both rest in His peace and His plan and His timing.

    • I love that you can connect with what I'm saying even thought we are in different places with different unfulfilled dreams. Praying for you Mary.

  • Thanks for your honesty Lindsey… sometimes that “dark night of the soul” can come out of no where! Fortunately the sun rises and we can see clearly again.

  • "And you grieved those buried dreams?"


    workin on resurrecting those.

    lindsey, seriously…you and i are gonna have to have a good talk next month. hopefully we can carve out some time.
    My recent post and the award although there is really no award goes to…

  • Well said or illustrated.
    I remember when I was 14 or 15 and just dreaming about the future. Imagining that I would be married by now, have a family with a house and a dog (I do have that) and have a great job. But my dreams went even bigger then that. And Now it is almost like what you said, everything and everyone around you is doing their thing, grabbing their dream, and living a life that seems perfect and all you can do is go home and dream.
    Its that feeling that in the moment, when you are hanging out with friends and having a great time you are living your dream, but at some point you have to wake up and go home, you can't stay there you can't continue to dream. Its like everyone around you is continue to dream and be happy and you are back to reality.
    I have those pity parties a lot, you are not alone.
    My recent post Guest Post- A Sisters View of Her Big Brother

  • Your feelings are just a part of the human condition. We have all felt similar feelings at one time or another. I think being grateful for what you have is part of getting over the sadness. Sometimes we have to ask God to give us the heart that is able to be grateful. I think one reason we struggle so is that this is not our home. Our spirit longs for that perfect place we were meant to live and we will occssionally have those feelings until we reach our true home, heaven. Keep fighting the good fight and running the good race.

  • Okay so it's starting to slightly freak me out how similar aspects of our single life are. I went through the EXACT same "pity party" after having an amazing holiday weekend with those that I love most. I grieved the life I long for that I saw represented in those around me… the dream I've had since I was a little girl… "to be known". Monday I had the day off and was determined for my day to be productive and refocusing on being with God and focused on chatting with Him about where He's taking me, how He's growing & stretching me, stripping me of all that He does not want a part of me, and in that I find rest in His timing & patience with me. I'm finishing up John Ortberg's book and it has been a really good read. Thanks for the recomendation! Here's to resting firmly in His grasp this week & relish in where we're going!!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your words & wisdom. God is using them for sure!

    My recent post happy 4th of July-

    • I loved the Ortberg book. I am making my small group read it. I can't wait to discuss it with other folks!

  • I've had those same questions and thoughts go through my head a lot in the past couple of years…
    My recent post Saturday’s Race

  • Lindsey,

    Thank you for being so real and honest! I can directly relate to all that you wrote. The feelings, emotions, desires, dreams, hope deferred. Thank you for putting GRACE to the words that many of us think too!

    By HIS Grace Alone,
    My recent post A great cause

  • yeah. that feeling as if everyone else is living out *your* dream life? i live there right now. just had a major pity party for myself the other day. and the day before that. and the day before that. not sure what in the world God is doing…but i know that He is in control. sometimes (always) that has to be enough.

    i am right. there. with you. (seems as if a great deal of people are)

  • I have been married, widowed in my 20's, remarried, & a mom. I've had many Friday nights alone, Friday nights out with friends, and now many Friday nights where I just want 5 minutes to myself. Through everything, I know God doesn't think or plan like I do, but He is consistently there. He will fill those desires. All of them. Believing with you for that, especially as you let Him fill you first. Thanks for sharing your heart. (I wrote about pity-parties, too. Guess there's something going around!:-)
    My recent post Cancel The Pity-party

  • I can totally relate! I love this though —"firmly in His grasp.." –> sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me going, knowing that even as I wrestle and struggle–and even when my my thoughts and emotions betray me–I'm still in the palm of His loving hand.

  • YES. To all of the above, yes. Thanks for writing it down.

  • Thank you for your honesty, and for putting it into words.

    I’m still trying to figure out which dreams need to stay buried, which need to be resurrected, and which are just waiting for the right time.

    This is one of those things I hold on to:

  • this is so exactly right where I am right now. completely. totally. wondering… waiting… am I where I need to be? Have I lost my dreams? if I have, what were they to begin with? Am I dreaming too small? Do I dream at all anymore?
    My recent post Sitting in the Wait- Reflections from a Waiting Room

  • Kristy

    I can SO relate! I frequently struggle with does content mean giving up my dreams and desires. Can I be content and yet still pray for the gifts I hope God one day grants me? His Word tells me to ask, and to ask persistently but if I’m doing that does it mean that I’m not content where He has me right now? I don’t have answers but I so understand your heart!

  • Lovely post, transparent and honest. Every now and then I feel anxiety over the false notion that I can and should discover God's secret will before it happens… The feeling that I should be doing something other then what I'm doing now. Then the Bible reminds me that I should trust Him, recognizing that as I seek by His grace to live within His revealed will God will live out his will through me… Even if I don't know exactly what that looks like momentarily. It's hard. But I hope the pity party's over for ya 🙂

    "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'" Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." ~ James 4:13-17

    If the Lord wills…

  • "appreciative of what I have, of what I’m learning, and of where I’m going."

    First, I'm so happy you have an idea where you're going. It makes days like that a little easier to handle because there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

    This is such a great post. So honest and raw. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    My recent post The Pete Wilson Challenge Day 7

  • First off, I'm really bummed that just when you started blogging all the time I haven't had time to read blogs (for a good reason though!) 🙁 So, I've caught bits and pieces of posts here and there, but haven't had a chance to comment. This post, though, I had to make time to comment on this one…

    Once upon a pity party…oh how I've told a story like that time and again. My sister was born 23-months after me and I've been taking care of younger people my whole life. I was the "ultimate" baby-sitter, I worked at a day care, I went to school to become a pediatric nurse…and last year my "little" (married) sister had a baby, I turned 30 and pity parties were common in my life. Oh I was happy for my sister and for "everyone" who had babies last year (seriously, 2009 was the year of the baby!) I KNEW that I was able to do so much more with my patients at work and with my nephew/family since I didn't have a family of my own, and I was SO happy with my fun, single life, but the pity parties seemed to come out of no where…even when, like you wrote, my life really IS fulfilling and I would have missed out on SO many wonderful adventures and people-meeting if my life had taken a different path.

    And yet, here I am, just over a month into being the foster mom to two amazing girls and I'm thankful that the pity parties have stayed away for a while (although I've been tempted to throw a couple of tantrums since I miss "my" blog peeps…ha!) However, when the pity parties come back, I will need to remember to "…I sit with some much-needed perspective…firmly in His grasp, appreciative of what I have, of what I’m learning, and of where I’m going" because God has a plan for me, and for you, and it is perfect.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.
    My recent post Where Ive Been

  • From all of the comments, it's evident that most everyone shares this feeling at one point or another! When it happens to me, it's a reminder to pray and meditate earnestly on what I believe God might be leading me to do in life… To take a hard look at the next step. But also, it's a reminder that we are "strangers and pilgrims" on earth… "in exile."… not home yet! Though the journey has sorrows, there is a lot of joy! Knowing that all works for good is a huge comfort… It makes me think of the Psalms that recount God's faithful acts, and a reminder to dwell on those acts in my life. Notice the theme "reminder"? I need a lot of reminding! ha
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  • This is one of those posts you read and think thank goodness it’s not just me who feels this way. Somedays I think I am so ungrateful for what I have it my live. I’m not I know I am blessed but there is part of me that is wistful for something different. What I am learning is that God has a plan for us all which is more than we could ever imagine so I’m trying to trust in this more and work on listening to him more.

    Thank you for sharing xxxxx

  • Rob

    Great post. I've never a left a comment here, but I so connected with your transparency. I have dreamed of a different life. Last night I finished reading the book, "Angry Conversations with God" last, followed today by this post. There are many similar questions. I highly recommend the book if you've ever found yourself clinging to your lost dreams or pursuits, while desparately trying to hold on to a fractured faith. It definitely put me in touch with some personal ungrieved grief and made me laugh. Thanks for the post!
    My recent post How He Loves

  • Have you seen the book Stumbling on Happiness? I was just reading it yesterday and it touched on some of this…plus, he is quite entertaining to read.
    My recent post Ask Joy- Should I Dance