It’s easy to victimize yourself for any wrong doing. Someone cut you off in traffic. A friend had an honest conversation with you. A co-worker started a rumor about you in the office. Any one of these is basis enough to host a pity party or respond with resound frustration and hurt.
But feelings are a fickle thing. They are fleeting and often deceptive. The challenge we face is that we tend to base a significant amount of our identity in our feelings for others and other people’s feelings toward us. When the two don’t align we victimize ourselves and begin to doubt everything from relationships to our purpose.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In Job we read about a man who was righteous in every way and consequently blessed by God. He was wealthy, had a large family, and good standing among those who knew him. Then everything changed. His children were killed; he lost all of his livestock and subsequent wealth; he was plagued with sickness and even his wife advised him to curse God and die (Job 2:9). Yet in all of these trials, Job did not sin against God. In doing so despite the extreme loss he faced, Job shifted from the victim to being victorious.
And you can too. Here are four realizations that will help you make that shift.
- Accept that it’s not about you. It’s all about Jesus.
When we cry victim, we draw the focus on to ourselves. It’s a “woe is me” mentality and we want to have those around us show pity and feel sorry for us. Nothing in life is about us. Everything in our lives should point to Jesus.
I am where I am, not by my own power, but by Jesus. The gifts and talents I have are because God gave them to me. The family and home I have is a blessing from God. All I am and all I have is because of God and consequently He should be the focus of my life.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:3 MSG)
- Believe God is (was, and will be) all He says He is.
Bad things happen to good people. Unfortunately, that is the reality of living in a broken world. But that’s not how God wanted it to be.
He has proven Himself worthy of our trust. Part of His character is that he is immutable. He cannot go against His own character and because of that we know that He will never change and He will always be who He says He is.
For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:16-19 ESV)
- Claim that you have been given unique and amazing purpose in life with confidence
We aren’t created by accident. Each person is uniquely designed to do something amazing. Some are made to be brilliant doctors. Others are made to be able to reach a specific person with the love of Jesus. No matter what your skills or talents, they were given to you with a distinct purpose.
What is it that makes you different from everyone else? How can you utilize that to glorify God?
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
- Take peace in that you were made for so much more than this world could ever offer.
This world likes to tempt us by prioritizing life for us. Money is a necessity and the more you have the better off you’ll be. Fame is to be desired, no matter the cost. But God gives us a different set of priorities: Love God and love people.
Everything that the world tries to offer you will keep you bound as a victim. Fame leads to false accusations for the sake of a cover story. Money can lead to losing your identity in the pile of materialism that results from excess.
But when we look beyond this world and into eternity, those two commands that God gave can make us more victorious than any material or notoriety. Victory isn’t about winning or being conceived as the best. Victory comes from allowing God to defeat the enemy of lies in our lives. Only then can we truly leave the victim behind and stand proudly in the light of a life of victory in Jesus.
Be careful that no one changes your mind and faith by much learning and big sounding ideas. Those things are what men dream up. They are always trying to make new religions. These leave out Christ. For Christ is not only God-like, He is God in human flesh. When you have Christ, you are complete. He is the head over all leaders and powers. When you became a Christian, you were set free from the sinful things of the world. This was not done by human hands. You were set free from the sins of your old self by what was done in Christ’s body. (Colossians 2:8-11 NLT)