The Victim Stance

depressed

When I was growing up, whenever I got in trouble, my mom would always say, “Don’t take the victim stance!”

I hated it when she talked to me like a social worker. She worked as a social worker in a juvenile detention center and, to me, it was just her trying to lump in with one of her kids yet again.

However, when I was thinking about my husband’s crazy schedule and the fact that I’d basically get to see him for about an hour a day for the next three weeks, that phrase popped into my mind – “Don’t take the victim stance!”

Whenever my mom told me not to take the victim stance, she was telling me to be accountable for my wrong actions. In this case, I hadn’t done anything wrong, but that kind of thinking still applies. When life gets hard, our husband’s aren’t around as much as they should be, or we’re just tired and lonely, we can get into a “woe is me” mindset. When that happens, we often do and say things we’re not so proud of, and then blame our circumstances.

“Well, yeah, I yelled at my kids, but I’m really stressed right now. Anyone else would do the same.”

We get snippy. We get sad. We get tired. We moan, sigh, complain under our breath, roll our eyes, become lazy, and allow ourselves to seep into a bad mood and blame our circumstances to justify it.

But we don’t have to do that. If you spend your entire life taking the victim stance in rough times and difficult situations, you miss out on a lot of opportunities to be happy.

After all, your circumstances don’t control you. YOU control you.

As I stood in the kitchen and thought about how not fun the next few weeks were going to be, I reminded myself that I control me. I can sit around the house, mope, complain, and get snippy with my kids or I can do my best to make the next few weeks enjoyable. I can choose to take the victim stance or I can choose to hold myself accountable for my thoughts and my actions over the next few weeks.

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Get Some Rest!

What do you do all day? Sit around in your pajamas, relaxing in your “free” housing and eating your “free” food? That certainly would be nice, but it’s not always reality. Some of you work. Some of you have kids. Some of you work and have kids. Some of you go to school. And while doing all of that, you hold down the fort. That means keeping track of the bills, so that you’re not clueless when he goes away, making sure uniforms get washed (how many loads does it take to get rid of that work smell anyway?!), fixing dinner, and all the other tasks that come with being a wife and keeping your home from becoming a disaster zone. With all that’s on your plate, do you also make sure to schedule in time to rest?

No, this isn’t about getting 8 hours of sleep a night, although that would be nice too. It’s about finding a little bit of quiet sometime during the day to sit down, put your feet up, and take your mind off everything you have to worry about and everything you have to get done.

God understands the importance of rest. He created the world, and then he rested. In the Old Testament, he instructed people to rest by encouraging them to remember the Sabbath. Even Jesus talked about rest saying “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

But, you say, “I don’t have time to rest. I have to do this and the kids have to be here and my husband needs me to take care of that and I have to make dinner and we have to go meet those people and there’s that paperwork to fill out and…”

Do you love God? Do you trust God? If so, then trust Him and know that everything will still work out okay if you take a few moments to rest.

The laundry that needs done can wait a few minutes. It’s okay to let the local pizza place or the ready-made section at the grocery store make dinner once a week. Your kids will survive if they don’t participate in an activity every single night of the week or if you get someone else to drive them instead. Your husband will be fine to run an errand or two after he gets home without you tagging along too.

Rest.

Relax.

Take a deep breath.

If you’re stressed, take a moment to pray and ask God to take your worries away.

Pick up your Bible and read a little bit.

Not quite ready for that? Turn on the TV and catch up on an episode of your favorite show or put on some of your favorite music and just enjoy listening to it. The important part is to be still.

If that seems nearly impossible, look for other moments during your day when you can rest. Do you have a few moments in the car before you have to clock in to work or before you pick up the kids from school?  Do you have time to kill while the kids are at practice? Maybe you want to start getting up with your husband in the mornings and can find some quiet time right after he leaves for work.

Psalm 127:2 says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Are you someone who rises early and goes to bed late, toiling all day long? Sleep at the end of the day is wonderful, but so is rest and relaxation during the day. Don’t get so caught up in all you have to do that you forget to stop and take care of yourself.

When can you find some time to rest today?