you can't blame all your issues on someone else

You just can't. It’s not fair. Easy? Yes. Fair? Not even a little. There are a plethora of people you can choose to pin your issues on. “Baggage” we call it. An absent (or too present) father, a spiteful mother, all the friends who turned their backs on you, the boy (or girl) who broke your heart. They’re the reason you don’t trust anyone! It’s their fault you struggle with an unhealthy body image! Because of them that you view the whole world through the most high-tuned pair of "everything sucks" glasses ever! If it weren’t for them, you’d have it totally, unequivocally together. Right? This isn’t to say that past hurt and heartbreak don’t contribute to the things we battle today, because they most certainly do. Your best friend stabbed you in the back? Yeah, you probably aren’t super inclined to trust every person you meet. Your boyfriend continually commented on how much weight you could afford to lose? That’s not exactly a recipe for self-confidence, now is it? Your parents split up? It's pretty easy to feel like everything sucks. People leave scars on other people every day. If I was a betting girl, I’d say you’ve probably left your fair share of hurt and baggage on other people too.

You choose to let those things define you. You choose to succumb to the way the things that were done to you make you feel. You choose to let them dictate your reactions in future situations. You. Choose. I have another post in the works about not letting your emotions make you their bitch, but I’ll touch on it here. Every day you get a choice. Are you going to wake up defined by your ex-boyfriend who left all this baggage and made you the way you are, or are you going to wake up defined by the saving grace of a Savior who died so that you could live? Is the fact that things haven't always exactly gone your way going to be your identity, or is going to be that there's an almighty Creator who thinks you're pretty much the best thing he's ever made? I know that seems like a really cut-and-dry, too-simple-for-the-situation answer, but it’s the only one. Who’s in control here? You or your past? Well, really, neither. Jesus is. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want you casting all the blame for the things you “can’t control” on someone else. If I had to make a guess, I would think he wants you moving forward, daily handing over the struggles you feel like are too big, and resting in his hands. Because the reality is, on your own all that baggage, all those things that have resulting from crappy relationships or circumstances, they’re going to be a part of you forever. If you try to do it on your own, you’re going to continue to blame someone else. Thankfully we serve a God with really wide shoulders.

I did this for a really long time. I blamed my ex for all the things wrong with me. No self-confidence? His fault. No ability to function healthily in conflict? His fault. Temper problems? His fault. Struggles with lust? His fault. I lived snuggled into this lie, never once thinking that maybe it was me. I carried it all straight into my next relationship. You know what blaming all your issues on someone else makes really difficult? Fixing them. I’d venture to say it’s nearly impossible. Because when you’re viewing all these things that way, they’re not your responsibility. They’re someone else’s problem. Even though the life the issues are wrecking havoc on is yours. And probably the people closest to you, by association. I had to wake up one day and decide that I was going to grab my life by the reigns and stop letting someone who wasn’t even in my life anymore drive. Someone who didn’t even want to be driving. And certainly someone I didn’t want driving. I had to choose to face all this crap head on and deal with it. I had to decide to stop running from it and defining it as “baggage” and not taking any responsibility for it. And it was super hard. And revealing. And embarrassing at times. A lot of the stuff I had said was “his fault” for so long, was actually my fault. His presence had simply exacerbated some pre-existing problems. It wasn’t his fault that I had little to no self-confidence, that my temper flared sometimes, or that I had no desire to keep my hands to myself. My flesh and I had been having our own little party way before he entered the picture.

So I want to encourage you to stop blaming other people. Take stock of the scars others have left, and the ones you’ve left as well, and let it go. Start taking steps towards healing and freedom. Quit choosing to live under the suffocating weight of past hurts.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
-2 Corinthians 3:17
[p.s. the Spirit's everywhere. there's freedom everywhere.]

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