VICTIM MENTALITY

Grey’s Anatomy is one of the series that I watch. In recent episodes, one of the main characters (Dr. Kepner) has been going through a crisis of faith. This seems to have been a result of a series of bad things happening to or around her. So, she decided that since despite her being ‘good’, God was not rewarding her with good things, she may as well be bad. She thus decided to leave recklessly but still did not find any happiness or peace.

To quote Dennis Wholey:

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly just because you’re a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian.”

We have grown in a world of reward systems where you give something to get something. Because of this mentality, we try to apply the same reasoning to How the Kingdom of God works. Sometimes we pay tithe or are generous in order to buy God’s favour and then get bitter when we are not reaping interest from our ‘investment’. We start looking at people who are less ‘holy’ giving testimonies of God’s blessings and feel that we have been unjustly dealt with. Then we start asking God why me?

As John Maxwell writes in his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth that “it’s one short step from “why me” to “woe is me.”’ We thus start feeling like God doesn’t love us as much as so and so and feel that the world is out to get us.

One of the most well known Psalms(Psalm 23:1,4-5) states:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;…

God is not saying you shall not go through trying times but that He is with you in those  trying times. I thus chose to dance though the downs of life, what about you?

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I AM NOT A NAIL

Often times, I find myself being quite judgmental on people I believe have a personal relationship with God but who may still be acting ungodly. We all have had those moments of self-righteousness.

Danny Silk in his book culture of honor-sustaining a supernatural environment writes;

A friend and I were out walking around the property of Mountain Chapel one day. As we were walking, I stepped on a board and a nail went through my foot. I lifted my foot and saw that there was a board attached to the bottom of my shoe. I could clearly see that a nail had entered my foot. But never once did I think, “I’m a nail!” I was, however, very interested in getting that nail out of my foot. And when a child of light discovers darkness in him or her, it does force the issue: “What are you going to do? What are you going to do?”

A Christian does not become a thief because they have stolen, a liar when they tell lies, etc. that person remain the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ (romans 3:21-24).

Therefore, when we encounter someone who has sinned (and may be still sinning), do we identify them by their sin or as who they are in Christ?

I believe remembering that the sin is foreign and not ones identity enables us to deal graciously not only with each other and but also ourselves. This will usually result in resolving the problem and also cause actual repentance.

SPEAK LIFE

Growing up, there was no nursery school near my home so I went straight to primary one since there was a nearby church school. As a result, I was the youngest in class (my mom sent me early to avoid the constant crying as my siblings went to school).  My classmates thus found me an easy target for teasing and I would usually go home crying.

On one such day, my mom wasn’t home so I reported to my brother(then in his early teens) that my classmates were calling me “kihinzi”(the one with a running nose)and saying I have big head. My brother jokingly said that I tell them that the big head was full of knowledge and the running nose was due to overflow of knowledge thus why I was brighter than the bullies.

I took the advice to heart and the following day when the bullies started calling me names, I told them confidently what my brother had said. That ended the teasing (I had been consistently the first in the class).

Remembering this story from my childhood makes me think about the importance of what you say to  children (especially as parents) and the kind of environment at home. We shape what our children believe about themselves; if we are constantly highlighting their negative aspects and down playing the positive, then even the positive aspects will keep decreasing and they may end up being the bad thing that you keep calling them.

I grew up being told that I was intelligent that even when I started high school and I was performing poorly for 2 years, I kept believing I was intelligent until I again started performing well(I had to acquire some reading skills; I had not been reading in primary and depended on understanding in class). Never once did my mother tell me that I was lazy or a failure during those two years; she still called me her intelligent girl.

As parents, we are challenged to speak life to our children; if we continually tell a child that he/she is lazy or naughty, we shouldn’t be surprised if they continue with that habit. We have to separate the habit from the person.

Remember, as co-creators with God, we create with our words!

Proverbs 12:19 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

THE BIG PIMPLE OF FATE.

Until halfway into my Bachelor’s degree, I had never gotten a pimple on my face. Then adolescence remembered that it had left my face untouched. Thus about every week since then, a pimple or two appear on my face usually near my nose. Somehow, my eyes keep focusing on them and due to their location, the pimples seem enormous. This has resulted in a bad habit of pinching them despite the fact that it could result in a highly fatal condition called cavernous sinus thrombosis. Furthermore, the pinching usually causes scarring.

Similarly, whatever you spend your time thinking about informs your actions. I have found that when I am focused on what is not going right in my life, I end up acting stingy, rude, impatient and get a victim mentality.  But when I focus on the good things, regardless of the situation; I will usually act more patiently, be understanding, generous, merciful, etc.

Things for your mind to focus on according to Paul are in Phillipians 4:8;

finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy-meditate on these things.

Solomon talks about the influence of our thoughts in Proverbs 23:7 saying “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he”.

Also Margret Thatcher said:

Watch your  thoughts,for they become your words,

Watch your words, for they become your actions,

Watch your actions, for they become your habits,

Watch your habits, for they become your character.

So, what are you thinking about today?

TOILET SEAT POLITICS

I have watched a number of movies where there is a scene where a wife is complaining about the husband leaving the toilet seat up or something alluding to that. I always think, “don’t they think that husbands may also be inconvenienced by finding toilet seats down and then having to put them up?”

Before our wedding, a friend of ours told us that the best premarital advice he got was not to have expectations of the marriage; or if you must, then have expectations of only yourself. However, most of us go into marriage with a list of expectations for their spouses to fulfil (rarely uttered out) e.g. my wife will cook, my husband will take me out every so often, etc.  We are rarely focused on what we are bringing into the marriage.

Paul writes in Ephesians 5;

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

25Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her,

The above verses are about what a wife and husband should do. They are not about what they should demand from the other person even though they have been sometimes used as guidelines to make demands in marriages.

This applies to all relationships. Work on what kind of person you want to be regardless of external influences. This mindset takes the focus away from other people whose actions you cannot control. It instead shifts it to the only person whose actions you can control; You!