“But it’s not my fault!” Words heard by parents around the world. Grating. Aggravating. True. So much of life is “not my fault.” It’s not just a phrase for kids, it’s true for adults also. Unfortunately the people who’s fault it is do not stick around for a cup of tea to discuss our emotional angst. So then what do we do?
I recently stepped back from many of my ministry responsibilities. I’d like to say it was simply in obedience to God (it mostly was). The fuller reality is that I was not able to cope with the sheer number of my commitments for much longer. If I didn’t choose to make changes then they would be forced upon me by my own inability to cope.
In these last few weeks, the fog of stress has been clearing. I’ve begun reflecting on the past years. I’ve looked at the glorious successes and the cringe-worthy failures.
When I reflect on the difficulties, failures and challenges of the recent past here are 3 things God has been teaching me. Especially in regards to things which I could say, “It’s not my fault!”.
More facts and information won’t help.
Very rarely does more information about a past situation help. It is so tempting that if only we truly understood what happened, then things would be different. This is a trap. We are trying to shuffle the facts of the situation to somehow come out with something other than what it is: a bad hand. Let a bad hand be what it is. I can’t be trapped into re-playing out each situation in my mind… trying to make the cards I was dealt into a full house.
It may not be my fault, but it’s now my responsibility.
Counsellors and authors Cloud and Townsend said,
This is the bad news in life: Even when we are unable to help ourselves, we still have a job to do. If you are hit by a car, you’re a victim- but you still have to hobble to the physical therapist and do the exercises. If your best friend moves away, it’s not your fault- but it’s your job to find other people of character in whom to entrust your heart. There are very few “boulders” in life in which you have no responsibility at all
These words both sting and bring comfort. They sting because what I want is to be a toddler who just dumps the blame on someone and walks away. I only hurt myself with this thinking. The comfort is that I am not stuck. Blame is a prison where my power is gone. The truth is I have power to deal with past and make changes towards the future.
I’m more deluded than I imagine.
The book of Isaiah get’s me every time. It is full of people falling down in front of idols saying, “You are so awesome!”. I feel deeply convicted of my own tendency to do this. In Isaiah 44, God hits gut level honesty about this tendency and says,
“Their deluded hearts led them to worship idols. Now they can’t get out of it by themselves. In fact, they have the idol in their right hand, they look right at it and say, ‘I don’t see a thing!'”
This is me. I’m deluded about my own idols, sins, and flaws. I don’t see myself accurately in a situation. Even when I’m staring it in the face I declare, “I don’t see a thing!”
When reflecting on past situations and challenges I’ve been praying, “Lord, in what ways have I deluded myself? I need your light to see the light”.
Give me Jesus.
This is my biggest focus and prayer. When processing past challenges, stressful situations and hurts… Jesus is my biggest need.
- I don’t ultimately need more information.
- I don’t just need to take responsibility.
- I don’t need to just own my junk.
I need to see Jesus more clearly
- I need to know Him more deeply.
- I need hear Him more clearly.
- I need to know his grace beyond what I know.
That’s my prayer. “Give me Jesus.”
When I’ve let go of the details. When I’ve stepped up to the plate. When I’m ready to see things clearly.
Give me Jesus.
Let me see Him, know Him, and hear Him more deeply, clearly and truly. Just give me Jesus.