Victim no longer

It is one small leap from feelings of gratefulness to feelings of entitlement.  One small leap from being grateful to thinking, “I deserve this”.

Gratefulness acknowledges that we are completely undeserving. It acknowledges that something was given to us and we could do nothing to earn it.

Entitlement thinks it is owed to us because we are victims. It sees every grace, every gift as payment for our victimization.

Victims. We’re all victims of something. Victims of our own stupidity, our own misdeeds, or someone else’s. We’ve all had things done to us that we would really rather not. We’ve all been hurt by someone else. Someone else did us wrong and we didn’t like it.

Those who are well acquainted with abuse, because they’ve lived through it, struggle the most with entitlement.

Those that hang on to their victimization, as if their very life depended on it, are those who view every gift, not as a free gift, but as our very due. When we continue to think this way, we relive over and over the victimization we initially experienced. We wallow in it.

And what’s more, we make everyone around us wallow in our victimization as well. We make them see us and treat us as victims.  We force them to pay for the wrong done to us when they weren’t the one who victimized us. We tell them, “I’ve had a hard life. Oh you’ll never know the misery I’ve seen. I’ve been done wrong. And now everyone must pay for it.”

And we’re miserable! And they’re miserable!

Victims with a feeling of entitlement are never satisfied. No one can ever pay them enough to satisfy the hatred of their soul. It constantly demands more.

So what can be done about it?

Stop.

Just simply stop.

We must stop seeing ourselves as the victim. We need to stand up and declare that in Jesus we are no longer victims. We might have been victimized but we aren’t victims of it.

We must take that victim, entitled self to the cross, and declare loud and out-loud that in Jesus’ name and by His power we are putting that self under His blood. Then we have to nail it to the cross, grasp Jesus by the hand and walk away in forgiven freedom.

Then every time our enemy tries to tempt us to again be the victim, we must remember this. That victim is dead.

And we don’t respond to dead things. Dead things have no power over us. Even when it feels like it. We must remember it is dead, and we need to remind ourselves out-loud that it is dead, that we’ve died to it.

We have the power of Jesus coursing through our veins, but we do not have the power to resurrect anything. Not even something that we crucified. None.

And Jesus won’t!

If we persist in our feelings of entitlement through victimization, we miss the grace that Jesus gives for the moment. For this moment. For every moment we choose to accept His free gift of life, knowing we neither earned it nor deserve it.

Every moment we choose gratefulness over entitlement is another moment of living freely in Him. Every second we choose gratefulness over entitlement, we chose life. His life, poured out for us, living in us, living through us for His glory and our good. And His life is not just a good life, it’s the best life.

The life of a victim is death.

So choose Life and lose the victim.

The Joy of Letting Go by Vicki Caruana {A Review}

As parents we both look forward to and dread the day our children will leave home. Some days we’d like to help them pack, and other days we cry as if we will never see them again.

And then it happens. They actually do move out, either to their own apartment (as I did), or to college (as my sister did), or maybe they get married (as my friend did). They are no longer in our nest and under our ever watchful eye.

How will we transition? Will be it full of joy and grace, or full of condemnation and regret? In her book, The Joy of Letting Go, Vicki Caruana helps us through these thigh high, or maybe neck high waters. It can be done with grace and dignity, tears are a given, but they don’t have to be full of regrets.

This little book is a 52-day devotional that should be read as soon as you get the positive sign on your home pregnancy test. And should be re-read at least every year after that. Because the time to start preparing both your heart, your spouse and your children, is at that moment and not when you’re addressing graduation invitations.

Full of wisdom and personal stories, Vicki helps us tread the path to a joy-filled departure of our offspring. She teaches us to let go in little-bite-sized pieces.

It’s not an easy transition for anyone, but it doesn’t have to be the devastating loss we have come to think it must be and we expect.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 turning pages.

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse.

Welcome to College by Jonathan Morrow {A Review}

(My sixteen-year old read this book and wrote the review.)

collegeI originally loved Welcome To College. Jonathan Morrow did a great job–following the ideas of C. S. Lewis, keeping his material light-hearted and uncomplicated while still including sound doctrine. I adored it.

Unfortunately this changed before I finished the book. Before I made it to page 200, Jonathan made the statement that we (humans) are not sent to hell for not believing in Jesus (Morrow, 116). This is absolutely a bold-faced lie.

It was such a doctrinal blow that I was not able to read further and I am only able to give it one out of five turning pages.

Prayers for a Simpler Life by Faith Sommers {A Review}

20170316_150123Prayers for a Simpler Life by Faith Sommers is a PlainSpoken Devotional published by Herald Press. It is a 13 week study how to live a simpler life. This is not a book about decluttering your house.

It is a book about decluttering your life. Each devotional brings to mind a spiritual discipline we should be making a priority in our lives. Each one is based on a chapter in the Word and includes a prayer and thought-provoking, digging deeper question.

Each day takes just minutes to read but you could spend all day meditating on the truths shared. It would even be a great stepping stone to studying for yourself the deeper truths of Scripture.

It would work well as a personal study or with a group.  It does use the King James Version for the Scripture but you are free to use any version you like.

Faith Sommers is a conservative Mennonite mother and wife. She is a columnist for Ladies Journal (a publication for Amish and Mennonite women). Faith is also the mother of 6.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

I

A little Grace

Recently we were dining out, it was a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was busy. We had about a 15-minute wait. Once at our table our server came by to take our drink orders and almost immediately she returned with them. After she took our orders she said she was going to go put them right in and we should have our meal in no time.

We enjoyed our appetizer and didn’t notice that it had been quite awhile since we had ordered, our server goes by and says she’s going to check on our meal. A few minutes later she comes to our table and tells us she had forgotten to put our order in right away, and she offered to get her manager so they could do something with our bill.

20161112_123951

All of our eyes are on this girl, brave enough to face hungry people and say “I screwed up.” Her question of getting her manager just hung there over our silent table for a pair of moments while we all looked at her, not quite daring to breathe.

Was it okay? Was it okay with us, the hungry family, that she had failed to do as promised?  Was it okay?

dsc_0061

I thought of every time I’ve screwed up. And I remembered the cross on my wrist. The cross I’ve been inking into my flesh for months in hopes of reminding myself to live cruciform.

Live all give out in the shape of a cross.

DSC_0012

Live all give out when someone else does something that isn’t okay.  Live as Jesus lived when I’m inconvenienced or kept waiting.

20161108_093552_optimized

I found myself saying, “You know what, we all screw up. It’s okay.”

Because it is. It really is. We do all screw up. Your screw ups are no worse than my screw ups. Jesus’ love covers mine as well as yours. His grace is deep enough to cover them all. And if I’m truly living as a conduit of His grace, I have no choice but to extend it to you.

Jesus didn’t call us to be grace hoarders.
He called us to be grace givers.

DSC_0117

Those chosen people who exhibit His grace and His character in all of our activities. Even those that squeeze us, inconvenience us.

Maybe by showing His grace and extending His grace is how we know we are given grace. Maybe that is how we feel grace. Maybe that’s why He requires it of us. Because He knows we’re nothing but grace beggars and if the broken hurting world is going to see His grace it’s only when we extend it.

DSC_0141 (2)

DSC_0138 (2)

We’re all beggars when it comes to grace. In myself I have none. None for me and definitely none for you. But in Jesus…in Jesus is found all the grace we could ever need. And He gives it freely to us.

DSC_0013

So we can give it freely to others. It’s living in His grace.

So we can give it freely to others.

Picture Post!

So I’ve had my big, fancy camera, as the girls call it, for a few years now. I’m still trying to learn all it can do.

I’m also still taking pictures like a house afire.