1: to find fault with
2a: to hold responsible, b: to place responsibility for
Whenever something goes my way in life, I want to get the credit for it. I like being "right". Whenever something goes against my way in life, I want to blame someone or something else for it. I don't like being "wrong" or "wronged" by someone/something else. Simple as that. Humanistic. Selfish. Sad. Unfortunately, true...and if you doubt that, just ask my ever-loving, faithful, eye-rolling husband...he'll tell you how hard it is to live with me sometimes. : )
Over the past few years I've been learning, however, that life is not all about me, so these thoughts have been challenged many times. Sometimes they are small battles where I have to admit that Micah was indeed right about something I deemed he was wrong about and sometimes they are large battles where I have to admit that God was indeed right about something I deemed He was wrong about. With each challenge I find myself in a painful place where I have to lay down my humanistic and selfish tenancies and pick up, instead, the heart of Christ. With each challenge, I feel I am learning something in the core of my soul that is making me stronger for the next blow in life (because, let's face it, this is life in a fallen world and it's not going to be roses all the time). It's not easy and not without sacrifice, but the Truth I am gaining is oh so worth it in the end.
It's really quite simple to assume your definition of what is "right" for you is the Truth and is indeed what is right for you. It is altogether harder to admit you only think you know what is the right thing for you and then allow God to show you if you were correct or not. This is hard enough to sift through when you are in a situation you question, but believe is right for you, but this is challenged to the core when something happens in your life that you deem, by your standards, hands-down WRONG to you. For myself, this is inevitably where "The Blame Game" comes out with both fists swinging.
- (junior high) I want to live my life as a Christian who likes going to church not because I'm "supposed" to but because it gives me some sort of unexplainable inward joy that makes me know I'm loved, but my friends and support system don't necessarily help enforce that decision = I was wronged.
- (college) My boyfriend was killed and now I'm left alone instead of with the amazing future I thought God was giving me = I was wronged.
- (post-college) My boss doesn't give my ideas or opinions of what I see hurting the ministry the time of day so when I finally said enough was enough, I got asked to leave my position = I was wronged.
- (just married) My marriage isn't what I expected it to be. It's much harder that I thought to live with someone who doesn't think the way I think. Wasn't it supposed to be wedded bliss all the time? = I was wronged.
- (2006) My niece was diagnosed with cancer at age 2 1/2 years old = I (my family/she) was wronged.
- (2008) My son was born with an undetected heart defect that almost took him away from us = I (my family/he) was wronged.
- (2008) Micah sliced his finger on a knife and needed stitches and then my gall bladder went crazy and I had immediate surgery to remove it all within weeks and months after going though our crisis of Toby's heart surgery = I (my family) was wronged.
- (2010) My niece or nephew who had been tried for and tried for and tried for for years is finally conceived and then lost through a miscarriage several weeks later = I (my family) was wronged.
- (current) I want to get my daughter home from Haiti now, but I can't for 1-2 years = I was wronged.
- (current) My niece was just re-diagnosed with cancer again at age 8 = I (my family) was wronged...again.
Now, here is where things turn really ugly (like those situations weren't ugly enough!)...I had a choice in each of the situations above as far as who I chose to subject that blame upon. Unfortunately, most of the time, that blame got pointed at God in the end. I might have briefly blamed myself or another person or a disease, but ultimately in the end, the blame got placed on God. I mean, come on, if He is supposed to be this good and all-powerful God, why would He allow all this tragedy and pain in my life, right? He deserves the ultimate blame, right? I'll re-list those same situations mentioned above and tell you exactly what my imperfect mind and raging emotions of grief did in the midst of my pain, confusion, and sadness:
- (no excited supporters of me going to church) God, if You really wanted me to stick out this "faith thing" You showed me at church camp, You would have sent me friends who would also like to go to church in my hometown, but You haven't so I'm lost now. The Blame at God: It's Your fault I'm not being the Christian I want to be.
- (Andy's death) God, why did You take him from me? I thought this was something so good for my life--that You would be so happy for me to have finally found a godly man to be in a relationship with. What did I do wrong? What did Andy and I do wrong that You couldn't allow us to be together? Weren't we focused on Your will for our life? The Blame at God: It's Your fault I'm a mess and un-trusting of You since You didn't allow Andy and I to remain together for our "happily ever after".
- (My job) God, why won't you let them see my point (which, of course, would have brought much healing and goodness)? Why are my opinions not worth listening to? The Blame at God: It's Your fault this camp is going to go under since You didn't allow my opinions to be heard.
- (Early marriage challenges) God, why would you put me with a man who is so different from me? Now we fight all the time and rarely find anything of similar interest. The Blame at God: It's Your fault we fight so much.
- (Maddie getting cancer) God, why would you allow a little, innocent child to get cancer when she has done nothing to deserve it. The Blame at God: It's Your fault I'm questioning whether You really can protect us from harm nor even care to.
- (Toby's heart defect) God, here we go again...just when I think I have something good in life, I can't really enjoy it because You may just decide to take it away again. Am I still not doing something right with You that You feel You have to keep teaching me this lesson? The Blame at God: It's Your fault I am always striving to do more works for You instead of resting in Your grace.
- (continued health issues) God, seriously? Can't we just get a break around here??? The Blame at God: It's Your fault we aren't that strong in our devotions right now since You have allowed us to all go through so many health trials this year and we are just physically so exhausted we just can't read the Bible--it's just too much.
- (miscarriage of my niece/nephew) God, what on earth are You doing? They've paid their dues. They've done everything they can...they just want a to be parents and love on a child of their own. They would be amazing parents. They were so thrilled--we were all so thrilled--You had finally answered their prayer of experiencing parenthood and now this? Why did You allow their hopes to be crushed once again and a human life to be snuffed at the same time? The Blame at God: It's Your fault I am so angry at You and again question if you really are the good God the Bible says You are.
- (Adoption wait) God, You can do the miraculous and get Nora in my arms immediately if You want to, so why are You not doing that? We have most of the money so there is nothing really holding us back on our end of the adoption. Why is having her in an orphanage in Haiti for her most formative years better than in my home? Don't You think she should be in my arms? The Blame at God: It's Your fault I question if the miraculous God of the Bible is still the same God of today.
- (Maddie's cancer returning) God, again??? Why would You ever have her go through all of this and more this time? Why are You robbing her of her childhood and life and fun times with friends at school and gatherings with her cousins? Wasn't one round of cancer enough? Why would You allow her to suffer through the effects of chemo and steroids and surgeries and cancer all over again. Why are You depriving even our kids from a normal life with their closest cousin? The Blame at God: It's Your fault I question if I should really pray to You for anything or trust You at all to have any power or control over what happens in this world since You have once again allowed sickness to be bigger than You.
Well, this just keeps getting prettier, doesn't it! Eeek, scary! : ( Again, maybe I'm being selfish here, but go back to your own list and don't leave me hanging in this scary place alone! I ask you to take a moment and look over your own list of "wrongs done to you". Will you allow yourself to be gut-wrenchingly honest with yourself? What or who have you been placing the blame on in each situation? What are the things you are blaming on God? How are you playing "The Blame Game"?
Well, now that we are all feeling oh so wonderful together, let's move on so we don't stay in this heap of crap for long. This is truly the key moment here, friends. Satan wants nothing more than for us to stay in this very moment. For us to not completely turn our back on God and for us to not completely believe the Truth of who God is so that his demolishing fun is halted. He would rather us stay right where we think we still believe in God and really want to believe in God, but yet don't have complete trust and faith in Him either because of these other thoughts and feelings going though our minds and hearts. This is where Satan has the best time--he can spread such lies and deception and do soooo much damage to our thoughts all in the name of "Is God really who He said He was/is????" When Satan has us listening to Truth but dismissing it as Truth because of the doubts and deceptions he has planted in our heads, he has us just where he wants us. Do you know why? Because when we talk to others about our problems in this frame of mind, we then also spread that doubt to everyone else. Yep, we do. Sickening isn't it. Instead of spreading God's goodness and love to others, we spread doubt and fear that God may not be who He says He is. Our questioning makes them question. Our blame makes them blame. Some will be strong enough to resist it, but I fear many are weak just like us and fall trap to Satan's schemes just as we have. Just as we were playing the "blame game", Satan is playing a game with us when we are in this place. He is using us, friends, unrightfully, to continue the spread of his deception...and we are unknowingly letting him.
How does that make you feel? I don't know about you, but when I see this moment for what it really is, it fires up a feeling of a warrior in me. I am being used and that is WRONG! Hmm....does that sound familiar? Something inside me KNOWS I'm a child of the Most High God and a believer of Him. Something inside me KNOWS that I am not called to be a spreader of lies and doubt--that I am loved and called to love others and share the Truth with them. Something that wants to fight back against a devil that is making me believe things that, even though I don't understand them completely, I know are not the ultimate Truth. That "something" inside of me is none other than the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that God sent immediately to inhabit my soul when I said yes to Him. Once the Holy Spirit took up home inside of me--inside of you--It will NEVER leave us. No matter how much we doubt, question, fear, make mistakes, or mistrust God, His Holy Spirit will remain in us. It is that still, small voice that raises up out of the muck of all those doubts, fears, pain, and anger in a hope that we can still overcome these feelings. It's that still, small voice that says, "No, Angie, don't believe it--it's not True and you know it. You are so weak right now, but come on, you KNOW it's not True. Be patient and wait on the Lord to show you the Truth." Satan can not touch that part of us. Did you know that? Let me repeat it again--Satan CAN NOT touch that part of us. He can get into our thoughts, but he can't get into our spirit--that is claimed, protected, and forever "purchased" by Jesus. Satan has no power to touch that Holy Spirit part of us because he was already defeated by It. That, my friends, is the TRUTH. Praise God and thanks be to Him for this gift!!! It is in moments of life like these that the gift of the Holy Spirit in our souls is amazingly critical and beautiful.
So what do we do with it? What do we do now that we know there is something within us that still believes, and is fighting to overcome all these other very valid and real emotions and questions and doubts when things in life go wrong? Something that not only wants to fight against all that crap we are going through, but has actually already taken a victory over that crap and simply wants to be given Its proper recognition? Well...we make a choice. (I can almost see your eye rolls right now.) It's true though...we make a choice. I know you want a full-blown, completely laid out plan of attack from me, but I can't give that to you. That is something you will have to do some searching on your own (with the Father) to find out what will work best for you. What is best for me may not be best for you. The only thing I can tell you is you will have to make a choice. I had to make a choice. Will you still decide to remain where Satan can play and you will undoubtedly stay exactly where you are...feeling confused and stuck and hopeless? Will you decide to ignore the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in you and spread the lies of Satan to others who are in their own places of pain? Will you decide to let the evil of the world get the best of you? Or, will you decide to simply tell God you are making a choice this day to believe Him for who He says He is. That you choose to believe the Holy Spirit is within you and can be trusted. That you choose to push past this playground of Satan and into the safety of God's promises for you. It's your choice. It's your time. It's your life. It's really up to you. You can place your blame on a God who really is good and loves you and cares for you, or you can place your blame on Satan who really is evil and hates you and wants nothing else but to see your body, spirit, soul, and Kingdom effect on this world die. It's your choice to make.
If you decide to chose Christ, like I have once again in these last few weeks, you will be amazed at what Truths He will remind you of when you re-open your heart and soul to Him and Him only. This is where I will take you next...what Truths He has so lovingly and excitedly reminded me of in my current situations of life. I do hope you will continue on this journey with me. I love you all so much and you are each dear to me and to the Lord. He is not the One to blame, friends. He just simply isn't and that is the Truth.
Romans 5: 1-11 (The Message)
3-5There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!