I didn't start out to make a rhyme, but I am in storyteller mode, I guess. I have a friend that I joke with about the online empowerment rhymes, and our joking often lands us square on the ridiculous that rhymes. I don't think this is one of those, not just because I wrote it, but because it is past time to get our individual and collective minds right.
A victim is defined as, "a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action." Everyone I know has been on the receiving end of some kind of harm or injury from an accident, event, or other action. If you choose to do so, you could likely recount every unhappy thing that was done or said to you. Those events, and the people who perpetrated the acts (some without knowing), have the potential to mis-shape us, especially if we interpret their actions or words as truth. Those same events also have the power to shape you into an "imperfectly whole" you.
Here's an example: you may have experienced rejection from friends and/or family, so you might interpret how other people treat you through the eyes of a rejected person. The truth is that neither you nor I are everyone's cup of tea (nobody is everyone's cup of tea to be clear). Other people get to choose their level of involvement with you. You are allowed the same choices.
As we become whole spiritually, emotionally, and even physically, we make different choices. I thought of the phrase used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:11: "And such were some of you." He used this phrase to describe the former behavior of those in the church at Corinth. That phrase looks to me like a bridge that describes the behavioral choices before being washed and set apart, and after. The internal process of sanctification and the results of justification by the blood of Jesus create spiritual connection with God, and an opportunity for emotional wholeness.... but you must choose to pursue it. Our salvation does not excuse us from doing the work of learning and developing the mind of Christ.
As a coach, I encounter people who are the crossroads of choice: to move forward requires letting go of some comfortable, but not necessarily healthy mindsets. Those unhealthy mindsets (or strongholds if you prefer) have usually existed for years, maybe even since childhood. The process of growth requires choosing "a new mind." It would be easy to go to the "victim to victor" analogy, but let's talk about what that does not mean. Being a victor doesn't mean we won't experience heartbreaking stuff (Romans 8:38-39 has a list that includes death, anxiety, angels, and demons to name a few), so what is the difference between those who become permanent victims and those who grow into wholeness?
I read another quote that resonates with the idea of choice: "The opposite of victimhood is accountability. While your circumstances may not be your fault, they are your responsibility." (https://www.betterup.com/blog/victim-mentality).
Bad things happen to us, often through no fault of our own. Rather than engage in the "resolution ritual," I challenge you to ask yourself three tough questions:
1. What need of mine does blaming others satisfy?
2. How does powerlessness serve my right to the "rewards of victimhood?"
3. What can my offender give that will make me no longer a victim? (That's a trick question but ponder it anyway).
This wasn't an easy one to write. Exercising accountability for our emotional wholeness doesn’t mean disregarding what happened. It does mean actively pursuing relationship with God and others who can help you see what happened through the eyes of one who will flourish.
You are loved. Happy New Year.
Michele Aikens is an author, minister, professional coach and CEO of Clear Sight Coaching & Consulting, Inc. To connect with her, click here: