It is tempting to blame others for our distress. We can clearly see what others are doing to us, but have a much more difficult time seeing our role in the problem.
I receive dozens of emails every day from people complaining about their circumstances. People from every walk of life, with every problem imaginable. People suffering from marital infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling and sexual addiction, as well as emotional abuse in marriage. In each situation, someone is often complaining about the behavior of others, while rarely discussing their part in the problems.
Blame is common, but blame also completely stops us from growing. Take a moment to consider what are you doing to actively change your problems. While it is good to pray about your problems, and to trust in God, it is also critical to apply the wisdom God offers to our situation.
Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight … Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life to you.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, 21)
This is powerful counsel. The Lord promises to give us wisdom and understanding in regards to our life direction. But, we must take action. Complaining about your situation will not help matters. Rehearsing all the wrongs that have been done to you only breeds resentment and acrimony. Seeing yourself as the helpless victim is not what God wants for you.
Taking responsibility for your part in troubling matters is empowering, however, it is also very challenging. It is far easier to settle into playing the role of helpless victim. It takes tremendous courage to note how you enable a destructive process, and then, using God’s wisdom, make those changes.
Notice this helplessness involved in the following email, and then consider what this person might do to actively change their circumstances.
Dear Dr. David, I am in a troubled marriage and don’t want to throw in the towel and call it quits. We have been married for three years, with this being my second marriage and her fourth. Many people I know have told me to be done with her and divorce her. She has five children of her own. We have no children together. Since we have been married, she has had me locked-up in jail three times, on false charges. She has also ruined my credit, by opening accounts under my name. We still love each other and talk about fixing the wrongs that have occurred. Sometimes I suspect my wife of cheating and using drugs, but she has denied it. We are presently separated. I want to go back to her but I fear that maybe it will be the same as it was before. She is very independent and dominating. She has lied to me several times. What can I do since I still love her? I have fasted and continue to pray.
Consider a few of his problems:
1. Multiple marriages
2. Legal/ Criminal problems
3. Financial irresponsibility
4. Wife has history of abuse
5. Accuses wife of domination
6. Accuses wife of deception
7. Wife has history of drug abuse
Unfortunately, I don’t notice him taking any responsibility for problems in this email. While this man is clearly in distress, and suffering under a mountain of problems, I don’t see where he is getting out his shovel to unbury himself.
We cannot simply pray for wisdom and then not take action. God expects us to face our problems, learn from them and deal with them. When we attempt to dodge our problems, blaming them on others (including Satan) we don’t learn important lessons. In fact, blame allows us to remain the same and simply repeat problems.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is one definition of insanity. The Apostle Paul advises us to “put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) We are to be changed inwardly, becoming Christ-like in all ways. This inner transformation changes how we face problems and how we interact with others.
Rather than complain about external problems, our first course of action must be to make sure we have the right heart attitude. When our lives become chaotic, we must seek wisdom regarding how those problems entered our lives. Are we living a Godly life? Are we seeking and applying the wisdom we receive? Rather than focus on what others are doing, are we first inspecting our lives? When we realize that change begins with us, our external circumstances often begin to change. God changes how we relate to others, to money, to laws. Our lives become more orderly and peaceful.
Dr. Hawkins and his team of therapists assist individuals and couples to resolve emotional baggage and prepare for dating and love with their Readiness for Love Personal Intensive. Contact our staff at 360-490-5446 for more information.