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I had a long list of reasons why I was the way I was. Though I knew I needed to change, I was quick to make a strong case about the injustices in my life. It was a smoke and mirrors routine that softened my responsibility while firmly trapping me in a victim-centered prison. Of course, there was enough truth about my complaints that affirmed why I was more of a victim than an active participant in my mess.
Isn’t it always like that; there is just enough truth to blame others while not focusing on the person you can change? Then there are the friends. I had enough folks around me to affirm my victimness. Mercifully, it took a 10 x 10 jail cell to drive a different kind of truth through my thick head. Though it was obscure initially, it was not long before I realized that being in jail had a silver lining.
I’m not sure what you’re going through today or who did what to you. But what I do know is that there is a path forward. The difficulty is not the signal to quit but an opportunity to reevaluate the options before you. Sitting in my tight concrete confines, I begin to rethink my life decisions, realize where they landed me, and revisit how I could change to reset my trajectory. It was no longer about them and what they did to me, but it was about me and what I would do next.
The same good Lord who gave us a perfect world has created a plan to provide us with another perfect world. Rather than blaming the Lord for what happened to you—or anyone else, you can bless His holy name for His redemptive plan. God has not given up on you. The original intent for humanity can come to you if you want it. The Garden of Eden is gone, and the consequences of the fall remain, but you do not have to stay down. You have choices.
If you continue to hold onto your victim card, you will never experience the love of God the way God wants you to enjoy it. You will experience more alienation from the life you could have with God (Ephesians 4:17-19). It is true: Adam has victimized you. Maybe you have been victimized by others. If so, your hurt is real. There is no minimizing this. I am not pretending what happened to you is not valid. It stings deeply.
The problem with a victim mindset is that it deepens the pain while covering it with case hardening that captures your thoughts in a presuppositional cycle. Your presupposition is the lens through which you view life, and if your lens is that of a victim, you will interpret the actions of others as always against you. You will perpetuate the oppressiveness rather than live out a more than conquerer mindset.
As you begin to change, keep reminding yourself about your motives for transformation. My motivation for changing as a fifteen-year-old was because I was tired of being me. Regardless of what my abusive dad did, I wanted to be free from my angry prison. The journey began with that decision. True freedom came ten years later when God saved me (John 3:7; Galatians 5:1). If you need to change:
Even as an unregenerate kid, I knew better than that. Though I had no clue where this new path would take me or what the results would be, it didn’t matter—I had to change. After I had made that decision, nothing in my external relational life did change. My brothers were still mean. My dad was still a drunk. My school teachers continued to judge me because of my well-deserved reputation, and nobody reached out to help.
Having people helping would have been helpful, but their lack of positive responses did not hinder me from changing. I changed because I was tired of being the way I was. I could not control what others were doing, but I could purpose in my heart to change. Reflecting on how things could have been while hoping for a different outcome in the future will not change you.
If you want to change and you plan to start today, here are five things I want you to do.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).