Whoa whoa whoa! I hear you yelling at the screen you are reading this on(assuming you don't print out my blog and read it at your leisure, which I assume many of you do...). But Adam(you again), I agree, I have problems. But they are rarely MY fault. So and so did "this" and so and so did "that". My job(or lack of one) causes "this". Don't forget my "disease" was out of my control. I am offended that you are "blaming the victim"!!
I see the disconnect you and I are having. Let me define what I mean by "problems".
A problem is not your circumstances. Circumstances are just events that have happened. In and of themselves they are valueless. Our perspective and reaction TO the circumstances are the problems.
Explain yourself!!(you again)
Have you ever noticed that people in the exact same circumstances can have a profoundly different response and outcome? One person loses a child and goes into a tailspin of depression and self-destruction, while another person starts a charity/organization that positively impacts and serves thousands of people who are going through the same thing. The initial pain response to the circumstances is the same, but the reaction is radically different. One person becomes defined and controlled by the "problem" they perceive, while the other defines themselves by who they will choose to be in the midst of that pain.
When we make the choice to be controlled by our perception of the problem we create an environment in which we will be constantly anxious, angry, resentful, depressed, etc. This mindset is often coupled with aggression towards the original source of those negative circumstances. If we are angry at someone, we blame them for MAKING us angry.
Guess what? No one can make you do anything. How you choose to respond is completely up to you. Sure, sometimes responding in a healthy way can be extremely difficult based on some of our circumstances, but it is still up to us. We refuse to take personal responsibility for the choices we make and continue to make. It is always someone else's fault.
For the past few weeks I have been teaching through the book of Malachi. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite books in the Bible. Every word in it seems to speak right to me. The heart of the book is that Israel is suffering in a myriad of ways and they cry out to God to complain about their perception that He has abandoned them and does not love Him.
How does God respond?
I love you, I love you, I love you. But guess what? The reason you feel the way you do, the reason you have this "problem" in your lives, is due to your choices and your behavior. And why am I letting you suffer through the consequences of your choices? Because I love you, I love you, I love you.
Yes, bad things have happened to Israel. But their despair is not about those circumstances, it is about their self-righteous indignation towards those they blame. Never willing to ask what part they may have played to get where they are.
Right in the middle of Malachi, as God is patiently detailing the many terrible and sinful choices Israel has made, is the most important line in all the text; Return to me, and I will return to you.(3:7) He is saying, you are your own source of your problems. Your choices, your responses, your heart. That is all on you. Yet I stand here, patiently, lovingly, gracefully, inviting you to a place where your "problems" will be healed.
How do we stop having "problems"? By making the choice to allow God to change our response to our circumstances. When we lay down our pride, our self-centeredness, our own choices, we are finally able to come to a place that says, "I cannot do this, take my heart and change it."
Bad things are going to happen to you. People will hurt you and frustrate you. There will be death, disease, pain. But we do not have to be defined by them. Be defined by the one who can make all things new.
If you make the choice to have a velociraptor as a pet,
you only have yourself to blame.....