For years I have been insecure. I thought it came from the abuse in my past marriage, or the way that I feel when I think about my dad not being proud of me. My insecurity literally ate up my life. Everything that I did, from coaching, to parenting, to being a wife felt wrong. I was NEVER good enough. No matter how many good deeds that I did, I always felt like I needed to be doing more. I was never satisfied with myself.
This caused me to become a prickly person to be around. I would get angry very easily. I found myself being defensive whenever anyone told me that they didn’t agree with the way that I was doing things. Or, my husband would ask me to do something in a different way. I would immediately turn it around and tell them that I felt attacked. That the way I was doing things was just FINE. And if they didn’t like it to go somewhere else. I was a mess.
This caused a lot of problems in all of my relationships, especially with my 16 year old daughter. This past summer she ran away. She ran to her dad’s side of the family. She hadn’t seen her dad in over 6 years. They barely talked. I was furious. How could she run to HIM??? I am the one that had always been there for her! I was the one who did everything for her! When she was hurt or sick I was the one who took her to the doctor’s office. I am her MOM!!!
I felt so hurt. My insecurity kicked into overdrive. I started double guessing my parenting skills. Maybe I was too tough on her. Maybe I didn’t love her enough. Maybe I should have spent more time with her. And the What-ifs mounted on so thick, I thought that I was going to suffocate. You see, her dad had been physically and emotionally abusive in the past. He use to be an addict and I wasn’t sure if he still was. I cried and stayed up a lot. I was so worried that something really bad was going to happen to her.
I did not deal with the situation very well. I was having a hard time getting a hold of her and even if we did message each other on Facebook, her answers were short and unresponsive. Finally, I posted a message on my Facebook wall asking all of our close friends to contact her. I thought that if she could see how loved she was that she would come home. All it did was make her mad. Boy did I make a BIG mistake.
We ended up going to see her counselor who explained that it wasn’t our fault. That our daughter was looking for something that we couldn’t give her. I still felt insecure. Here was a trained professional telling me that it wasn’t my fault, but I still couldn’t hear her. My insecurity drowned her out. It’s like my head heard what she was saying, but my heart felt so wounded that it couldn’t believe a word that she said.
We ended up getting our daughter back after a “wonderful” court battle. We had to pick her up at the counselor’s office. The look that she gave me, bore right into my soul. Nothing like a child to bring out the worst insecurities that you have. I wanted to hug her and yell at her at the same time. It took quite awhile at home for everyone to heal. And through all of this my uncertainty and anxiety about everything caused a lot of stress. I lost quite a bit of weight. I couldn’t eat and I felt like crying or yelling all the time. I felt so bad for my younger kids in all of this.
Will the True Identity of the Victim Please Stand Up
A few months after she came home, my husband and I started a class called the Healing Journey. It was definitely more for me. I went because I knew that if I didn’t find God in all of this mess, that my depression, insecurity and anxiety would eat me up alive. I never wanted to go back to being that way in my life ever again. I knew that I needed help and I needed it now.
At first I didn’t know if it would work. Well then we came to week 12: Hagar and the God Who Sees (Genesis 16: 1-16). Hagar was used as a surrogate carrier for her master’s child. Her master’s wife eventually started mistreating her because of jealousy. And Hagar RAN!!
That was me. I ran. I ran fast. If I could just stay ahead of the pain, then it wouldn’t catch up to me. Or so I thought. But, I knew better. And instead of turning to drugs and alcohol, I turned to building a wall. One that could protect me, when God couldn’t.
I had become a victim to my circumstances.
As Hagar was running away an Angel of the Lord stopped her. The angel tells her to go back to her situation. If that were me would I have listened? Would I obey God in a situation were I felt like I had been wronged? Would I start yelling back, How could you ask me to go back to a place where I am being abused? But thank God Hagar is not me, she listened and went back.
Because of her obedience God blesses her and her soon to be born son Ishmael.
The true identity of my victim wasn’t the circumstances of my life, it was ME!!
How to Identify the Real Victim
As a victim we get our identity from our circumstances. I got mine from being the abused wife, unloved child and failure to do anything well enough for my liking. In this role, I could easily remind others of what I had gone through. It was my excuse for the way that I acted or for my actions. I identified myself as someone that was damaged and everyone around me should just deal with it.
Nothing I ever tried to do on my own made my identity of myself improve. I had to turn to God and see myself through His eyes. He made me just the way that I am for a reason. I am a daughter of the Awesome God. How did I not notice how high my true value in life really is? Easily I was letting my feelings run my life.
When I felt angry I would shut down, put my wall up and turn my back on others. If I felt scared, I would think irrational thoughts. If I felt sad, I would get mad at others for making me sad. All my actions in my life came from my feelings. My world was controlled by the way that I felt. And as long as I focused on the way that I felt, I would never be able to heal my old wounds and become the woman that God wanted me to be.
As I worked through my week 12 homework I realized that the blame and bitterness that I had inside, only helped to keep the wounds fresh and alive. I had to stop living by my feelings and start looking at them for what they were, red flags for something deeper.
In your anger do not sin; when you are on Your beds, search your hearts and be silent. (Psalm 4:4)
God loved Hagar so much that He called her by name. Hagar wasn’t even one of God’ chosen people in the Old Testament, yet He took the time to come down from Heaven and talk to her. The Angel of the Lord, is God Himself. That blew me away.
“Healing Step #1 – Share your feelings and pain with God and ask Him to begin the healing process in your life.” ~ Cyndy Sherwood
God saw me and my suffering. He knew every tear I had cried, every fear that I had, all the hurt I felt and even caused. God knew me intimately. Not only was I acting as a victim, but I was being the offender now too. I had never thought of it that way before, but it was so true. The way that I reacted to others from my hurt feelings, damaged a lot of relationships. I did that. I offended others.
God gave us freewill for a reason. Now I just had to make a decision to take action and obey him so that I could start to heal.
I had a lot of false beliefs in my life. I had been the victim for so long that I didn’t realize that my beliefs were all wrong. I believed that God wouldn’t protect me in time. That I needed to be my own protector. I was so wrong. The more that I was my own protector, the more that I ran my life into the ground.
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (Ephesians 4:23)
I needed to remember to be in God’s Word each day. This helped to renew my attitude for the day. I found that I had more patience with my kids, became less angry with my husband and just enjoyed the day more. The biggest improvement was my insecurity. People could now tell me what I was doing wrong and I didn’t become defensive, at least not all the time.
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of the light!
For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. (Ephesians 5: 8-10)
Slowly the victim role is fading away. I still have my times when I want to live by my feelings, but I know in God I am beautiful inside and out. I do not have to try so much to change myself anymore. I just have to stop being so stubborn and let God do the work.
Are you playing the victim role and didn’t even know it? Have you now become the offender and are hurting yourself or those around you, due to your victim identity? STOP!! Pray right now. Let God come into your life and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Take time to be with God each day. Allow His grace to be sufficient enough to help you truly change. It is never too late. You are never to far gone for God to fix you. Just give Him the control and watch as your life changes.
Please share how God has helped you with your feelings and changing your life.