Friday, June 6, 2008

I Am Not a Victim


Two months ago I blacked out while working out and fell back and hit my head pretty hard on a tile floor. I obtained a fractured skull in the back of my head and bruising, bleeding, and fluid on the brain in the front. Looking back and processing these events with my wife lead me to the completion of this post. I had actually started on this post prior to the near death experience, but the incident prompted me to study this principle more in depth, and to complete it with more detail.


After talking with my wife, I realized that I was not able to recall the first 48 hours after the fall, and the doctors were in fear of brain damage and watching me closely to see if brain surgery was going to be needed. The severity of this day will not haunt me for the rest of my life but rather teach me about life’s frailty and my lack of control. For God’s sake I simply went to the gym to exercise and take another step to a healthy life style. I write this post two months later (still with headaches and no smell) realizing that God had grace on me and allowed me to come out with a different perspective. I realize how precious time is, how little we have of it, and how important it is to make the most of it.


That transitions me into the heart of this post. As I said in the previous paragraph, I still endure slight headaches and no smell. Before the accident I probably endured headaches about twice a year. My smell was very receptive and precise. I have become conscious in the past month of the fact that I have developed a more than slightly bitter attitude about the whole incident, and it has challenged my relationship with God as well as my view of God. I have come to the conclusion that I have a decision to make. As with any perceived negative significant event in our lives, we all have a decision to make. I am either going to decide “I am a victim”, and live and operate out of that mentality, or the other choice to make is, “I am NOT a victim, I am a champion”, and to live and operate out of that mentality. Here are those two frames of minds:


Victim Mentality


Life just happens to me!


Beliefs: I believe life is difficult for me, nothing good ever happens to me, I’m not capable, I’m not good enough, It’s all my fault, and I’ll limit myself whenever I can.


Feelings: I feel helpless, I feel hopeless, I feel angry, I feel bitter, I feel resentful, I feel depressed, I feel trapped, I feel chaotic, I feel guilty, and I feel shameful.


Behavior: I will blame others, I will take out resentment on others, I will yell, I will avoid, I will do nothing and withhold myself from others and act out in ways that are contrary to who I really am.


Champion Mentality


I have a responsibility and I am accountable to the choices I make, and the way I will respond to life!


Beliefs: I have opportunities and options, I can learn from my mistakes, I am responsible for myself but not for others, and I have a right view of God.


Feelings: I fell hopeful, capable, I have optimism for this situation, I feel love, I have kindness, I have freedom, I feel peaceful, I feel joy, I feel happiness, I feel relieved.


Behavior: I give rather than take, I take ownership of what is mine rather than blame, I make healthy choices, I ask for help when I need it, and I trust in God and depend on Him helping me to respond to my circumstances rather than react.


I want to clarify that this choice of being a victim or a champion dictates our outlook and mindset as a response to the things that happen in our lives. However, it does not give us the power to control those around us or the events that happen to us. That is God’s responsibility and His alone. I believe as I have investigated these truths more deeply, the more I realize how independent of God I can at certain times become, depending on the circumstances of my life and the view of God that I sometimes hold. Therefore the need is apparent of the importance of His Word and His people to consistently keep that view on track.


People have continually asked me what I have learned from “The Fall”. This is now my response after two months of processing. “I have learned that God is in control and I am not, He is my provider and I am not, He alone is my salvation and I am not, and I do not want to be independent of Him any longer even for just a moment, but rather dependent in all areas, all times, and all circumstances of my life.” I am responsible for the way I respond to my circumstances and my choice is a Holy, “I am NOT a victim, I am a champion!!!" This choice is enclosed with the trust of Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

PS - Today is my 7 year anniversary of being Born Again!

5 comments:

Cameron Schaefer said...

James,

This is the reason why I call you a friend of mine.

You are wise in despising the victim mentality...it is one of the most destructive forces I have seen, bleeding over into every area of one's life.

Victims are whiners and their mentality makes them irrelevant. Victims don't lead, they don't produce, they don't start companies...they just focus on themselves and why the world is at work against them.

Champions on the other hand see opportunities in every setback and learn to love and cherish failure and hard circumstances knowing that it produces perseverance and hope.

Malone is sitting here trying to talk to me as I write. I think she is saying, "James, you are a champion! Go build an empire!"

Wes said...

Hey...

...so glad to be connected this way

...woke up this AM praying for you and your bride

...I'll call about getting together next week some time

Wes said...

PS...

...get to writing in here! :-)

...will be good for you

...AND the rest of us

Sara Beth and Matthew said...

Hi James,
Thanks for updating your blog. I have been curious to hear your thoughts on the accident. I am SO grateful that you are alive and well, considering what might have been. I appreciate your thoughts on the victim/champion mentality. Your right, it is a choice. Sometime I need that reminder as I face the daily challenges of raising twins!
Love you lots,
SB

Curtis Marshall said...

bro... seriously... just found your blog on accident. get to writing!