Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Let go of the victim mentality

Victim. The dictionary defines victim as a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action. That about sums it up. It's how I see myself - as a victim of cancer. I didn't ask for cancer. I never expected it. But it came. And when it did, it did a number on me.

You'd think, after 8 years, I'd have let go of the victim mentality, but I haven't. I didn't even realize I was suffering from that type of thinking until recently. 

After a bout of Covid and then several consecutive illnesses, I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I blamed it all on cancer or cancer related fatigue, really, since cancer, as far as I knew, wasn't still active in my life. But ever since diagnosis, I haven't felt myself. My energy level was practically non-existent. I was finding it difficult to get through each day without making myself do the things I needed to do. Every day was exhausting but I pushed through and did what I needed to do anyway. 

It wasn't living, it was existing. There was no happiness or joy. I wanted to thrive, but I didn't know how. How do you celebrate life when it takes every ounce of energy to get through a day? 

Oh, I'd wake up each morning, thanking God that I'd made it one more day but as the day wore on and I faced one challenge after another, I wondered why it was so hard. So, I asked Him. On my face, in my prayer closet, I wept turning my burden over to the Lord. 

"Why can't I let go and break free?" I asked. In that still small voice, He said, "You've got to let go of the victim mentality." 

Though I heard the words clearly in my mind, I was shocked. Had I really been living that way? Had I been thinking that way? I didn't consider myself a victim...not really...but I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind, I did. 

Eight years had passed. You'd think I'd have long since left thoughts of cancer behind, wouldn't you? But that nagging fear had taken root and wouldn't let me go. Every ache, every pain, every uncontrollable thing my body did made me wonder if I was going to be under attack again. 

That's what cancer felt like to me - an attack, just like a rape or a robbery or some other violent crime, an unprovoked, unexpected assault on my person. No wonder I'd adopted a victim mentality!

After any kind of attack, whether it be health related or otherwise, the victim has to decide whether or not to survive. Something inside them has to "want to" keep living. Making that choice is crucial and can greatly impact one's future. 

So, I had to come to the realization that I wanted to live. Not only did I want to live, I wanted to live well. I wanted to do the things I enjoyed and have fun doing it. No longer did I want to allow my body, and the way it was feeling, to dictate my choices. 

I asked God to forgive me and asked Him to help release me from the victim mentality I'd been clinging to and I'm happy to say, He has! 

The day He revealed my stinkin' thinkin' to me, I was dumbfounded. First of, that He'd point out my flaw. But He didn't do it in an accusatory way, the way Satan would have, He quietly and sweetly whispered to my heart and said, "You've got to let go..." 

I knew, He wanted the best for me because that's the way my Abba is. He loves me unconditionally. He knew I needed to be set free and He gave me time to come to the point of need so He could swing wide the gate and point me to freedom. It had to be my choice. 

Since making the decision to let go, I've felt an indescribable weight lifted from my shoulders. No longer am I carrying around a burden I wasn't supposed to bear. Now, it's like I've been given a new lease on life. 

Sure, I still struggle with fear, worry, and anxiety and I probably always will. Those are weak spots in my armor, but I know, He's got me. He won't let me fail as long as I walk with Him and trust Him. And no matter what comes into my life, He's able to handle it. I won't have to handle it alone. That gives me great comfort. 

My calendar already has several upcoming trips on it and I'm looking forward to those. In the past, I'd be hesitant to go anywhere because of the possibility of catching Covid or having a health crisis. Now, I move forward in faith. 

I'm so glad God allowed me to see the error of my thinking. I'm thankful He loved me enough to point out improper thoughts and gave me the key to freedom. Now I can honestly say I'm working on learning to celebrate life in big ways and in small ways, every single day. 

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