HOW TO NOT PLAY THE VICTIM OF YOUR OWN LIFE“Y
ou think you’re a victim. But you’re not. You’re actually okay. Everything’s okay.”
Justin tells me this, in the maddening and awesome way that he does. My heart whispers, “Listen,” even though my first impulse is to wish this all away.
Really? Is this true? Have I believed I am a victim, God? How?
I need God’s interpretation now, or none of this is going to make any sense.
My friend and I have been reading Romans together. It is Romans 10:8 that sticks in my head: “The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”
What is true here, Jesus? How am I not believing in You? If your message is in my heart, am I yet rebelling against your truth, right now?
I spend time for days waiting on God to interpret Justin’s words. I go into my daughter’s room—temporarily quiet, as she is at sleep-away camp for the week. I shut the door; I close the shutters. I press my knees to the ground.
What I learn is not what I expected.
What being a victim can look like
- A victim can twist the truth and reject God’s inheritance when she strives to preserve herself rather than strive to surrender the sin within her. (For example, I often take a comment someone says and take it personally—I assume the comment is negative rather than neutral or positive because of this awful truth: people’s praise can matter more to me than my identity in God.)
- The mindset of the victim is one of powerlessness, weakness, insecurity, low-worth. (For example, I am reticent to receiving criticism because I believe the lie I don’t have what it takes—that I’ve failed again.)
In the quiet, the Holy Spirit leads me to the cross. He helps me feel and hear and see: I have been acting like a victim though this mindset is unwarranted, unjustified. There is a lot here I must confess or bury, repent of or push away.
What am I going to choose? How do I turn, God?
There are two kinds of victims
Victims of the World
There is more to consider here when we think about the mindset of the victim. Because sometimes we are a victim. After all, this life is hard, unfair. This world—and people—can be cruel. In this case, God fights for the heart of the victim—the victims abused by the world, the victims who need God’s intervening love to help them continue on.
But God also fights for daughters who are victims of their own doing—the daughters who believe lies about themselves, the daughters who live in bondage. The daughters who have yet to claim the freedom they inherit, with Christ’s new life inside them.
To put it simply: living our lives with the attitude of a victim negates the truth of our identity in Christ: It denies that we are “more than conquerors” due to Christ’s sacrifice (Romans 8:37). It denies that Christ was never a victim, not even to death. It denies that Jesus beat death to hell and back and chose us to tell the tale.
If you are a victim of the world, of life’s twists and turns, of cruelty and pain and injustice, God is coming to heal you. This healing may involve you sharing your story in community. (I am doing this as soon as I can.) It may involve you entering counseling. (I have done this, and it turned my world upside down and right side up, in the most perfect way.) But know this: Jesus is here to bring healing to you. He is gathering you to himself. Step forward now, daughter. He has something to say.
Victims of the Self
If you are a victim of yourself, of self-doubt, of lies that you’ve let take root in your heart (I am sad to say that this has been my speciality, for years and years), it is time to ask Jesus to uproot the darkness you feel. It is time to ask him to show you, reveal to you, what it is he sees. God wants to bring wholeness to our hearts. He brings together what is divided. His love for us makes us clean, completely washed and new.
Death is victim to love, not the other way around
Discovering a new truth about our self is not always fun, but it is good. Every lie God has revealed to me I have broken, by the authority of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to stay in this same place–I want victory. I want life. He has given me everything. I want to say yes to all he has.
But it is a battle to not fall back into the same habits, believe the same lies.
I want to be honest with you. Since spending time with God in solitude, reading Scripture, seeking his truth, asking for his interpretation on what people said, confessing, and repenting, I continue to struggle with the victim attitude. I catch myself feeling it–and I have to ask God to help me stay close–to his heart, his truth, his mercy. I continue to surrender. I try and fail and try again. And I get angry–angry at myself, angry at God. But then, on a walk today I hear Jesus tell me that this struggle, despite its mess, is so much better than me being resigned.
We are not the victim of our own life. Jesus made sure of that.
So, will you join me, as I continue to pray?
Father, we need to know what you think. Let us not reject our inheritance as conquerors, in Christ. Let us not forget the power of your presence in us. Let us listen to your voice. Let us not abandon the truth of who, in Christ, we are.
You are our source of life, our source of love, our source of strength that reminds us we are more than conquerors. We are true. We are free. We are in battle in a world set against us, yes. But you, the God who is for us, is more than we ever need to live lives of authority and strength.
We are chosen. We are loved. We have what it takes to make the choice this day to listen to the One who loves us. You, who says, “I will always find you. But seek me. Seek me and there you will be found.”
We hear you. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How do you find yourself feeling like a victim? Is it warranted? How do you need God to come for your heart?