It Is, In Fact, My Fault

I’d really like to be a victim — to blame those around me for my problems. And, boy, do I try! If my husband would just appreciate me more, if my kids would just complain less, if my students would just listen the first time I explain something…THEN life would be perfect. I wouldn’t need to get frustrated.

But I DO get frustrated! Not because of anything have done, of course. Because of them.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how others have wronged me. That is an embarrassing truth to admit, but there it is. I think about what I don’t like about this person, that situation. I think about how things should be and get even more upset at how they are.

And the reality is that I have it pretty easy. My husband loves me, and he loves God. My kids’ biggest weaknesses are not doing their chores and occasionally getting a low grade on an assignment. I teach at a Christian school where we have actual rules we can enforce and the students, for the most part, respect those rules.

Compared to pretty much everyone else on the planet, my life is cake. I know.

Yet, I still complain. Still feel sorry for myself. Still want to blame others when I am irritable.

But here’s what God has been trying to teach me: I am responsible for my attitude. I am responsible for my thoughts. I am sinning when I choose to focus on circumstances and other people for my contentment instead of focusing on God.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But I often forget the context of that verse. Before Paul says this, he talks about learning to live with plenty or with nothing, about learning to be “content in any and every situation.” This from a man who wrote letters from prison, who had no real home, who was rejected and persecuted and hated for the sake of the Gospel.

“I can do all things” isn’t a mantra meant to enable people to achieve their dreams. It is a truth learned through the fires of testing, that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Tim. 6:6)

So the truth is that I can choose contentment no matter what. Even if I feel unappreciated and unheard, even if circumstances are less than ideal. I don’t get to blame my bad moods on other people. I don’t get to be the victim. The truth is that all of my discontent is, in fact, my fault. God offers the tools to enable me to be content in all circumstances.

My job is to choose whether I will believe Him, or the voices in my head.

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