Christopher Cook - Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

Why You Need to Completely Burn the Victim Card

Metaphorically speaking, are you leaning upon crutches for identity and support in life? Perhaps it's a relationship that you know isn't good for your long-term success. Maybe it's a dead-end job that you've stayed in two years too long but won't change because change is too hard. Maybe it's an identity created by what happened to you years ago; a painful event that you're not willing to let go of, one that is all too associated to your very likeness.

When I was in second grade, my best friend, Zachary, was a class hero, not for his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, but because he was wearing a purple cast on his recently broken arm. Two weeks prior, you see, he got in a fight with the monkey bars, and the monkey bars won.

My classmates and I had never seen anyone look so cool. We autographed his plaster-caked arm, took pictures with it, hit it with rulers, and begged our teacher to disclose the secret to scoring one for ourselves. To boot, Zachary received special treatment for everything. In our minds, the day he got dumped by the bars was a distant memory and a small price to pay for the red carpet attention our Korean-born friend received.

The Plaster Armor

Before the cast, however, Zachary was just another friend at school. Once he brandished his plaster armor, he was in the spotlight. And after the cast came off, he was back to being “just” Zach. Sadly, I’ll never forget him saying, “I wish I could wear the cast all the time. I was cooler then.”

And just like our grown-up life, it’s all too easy to slip into the trap of finding sufficiency in our deficiency. While none of us are totally immune from hardships, accidents, and even victimization, we must guard ourselves from forming an identity around what happened to us, consequently living as victims.

Calling-In Sick

Think back with me to childhood. I loved the chance to skip school and lay in bed surrounded by cozy blankets, homemade soup, and Vernors (if you’re not from Michigan and don’t know about Vernors, I’ll pray). Granted, the fevers were nasty, but my mom took care of me. And being taken care of is fun. But in life, we can’t stay in that state. If we do, there’s a good chance our character, resilience, dreams, and forward-moving motivation will atrophy. Long-term use of crutches has the same effect upon our muscles. That’s why physical therapy is necessary after an injury—to rebuild strength and interdependence.

Metaphorically speaking, are you leaning upon crutches for identity and support in life? Perhaps it’s a relationship that you know isn’t good for your long-term success. Maybe it’s a job that you’ve stayed in two years too long but won’t change because change is too hard. Maybe it’s an identity created by what happened to you years ago; a painful event that you’re not willing to let go of, one that is all too associated to your very likeness.

Kind of like a man called Bartimaeus.

Blind Bartimaeus

Mark chapter 10 recounts the story of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. For years, this guy was famous for one thing: sitting beside the road. That’s it. Not to make light of his legitimate disability, but sitting beside the road isn’t quite the resume builder. Can you imagine his routine? Sunday…wake up…head to the curb…fall asleep. Monday…wake up…head to the curb…fall asleep. Tuesday…wake up…head to the curb…fall asleep. Wednesday…you know the drill. Well, one day, his life changed forever. Read what happened next:

“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity and mercy on me [now]!’ And many severely censured and reproved him, telling him to keep still, but he kept on shouting out all the more, ‘You Son of David, have pity and mercy on me [now]!’ And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, telling him, ‘Take courage! Get up!’ He is calling you. And throwing off his outer garment, he leaped up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Master, let me receive my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has healed you.’ And at once he received his sight and accompanied Jesus on the road.”

There’s a significant lesson to be learned from the story and that is that healing requires the willingness to take responsibility in life and engage in making a proactive choice for wholeness. Allow me to put it this way: there is a huge difference between being victimized and being a victim. Victims of life bask in self-pity and place their identity in their deficiency. Bartimaeus didn’t choose to be blind, but he did choose to go after the Healer.

Victim or Victor?

The same goes for you and me. We can go through life with a chip on our shoulder about who screwed us over, live in self-pity, and find sufficiency in deficiency, or with reckless abandon, refuse to be victims of our circumstances. If you’re sick and tired of living life as a victim and are ready to live life on purpose, here’s a breakdown of Bartimaeus’ breakthrough:

  1. Really desire breakthrough. As I mentioned earlier, being taken care of is living on easy street, but cripples your ability to rise above your circumstances and live a life of purpose and fulfilled potential. Bartimaeus was desperate when he cried, “Son of David, have pity and mercy on me now!”
  2. Burn the victim card. Mark 10:50 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible: “And throwing off his outer garment, he leaped up and came to Jesus.” What’s your “outer garment”? Self-pity? Regret? Bitterness about your past? Unresolved disappointment? Whatever it is, deal with it then throw it off.
  3. Take responsibility for life. Why would Jesus ask a blind man what he wanted? Wouldn’t that be obvious? I believe Jesus’ question was rhetorical. He knew Bartimaeus needed healing but wanted to make sure Bartimaeus wanted to be healed in order to live a life of purpose instead of a life on the curb.
  4. Turn your pity into purpose. Once you dump the pity, you have no choice but to live each day on purpose. In Mark 10:52, Bartimaeus did just that: “And at once he received his sight and accompanied Jesus on the road.” The road to your purpose is waiting for your tread.

When you live life as a victor instead of as a victim, your whole identity changes. Who was Blind Bartimaeus after he got healed? Who was Zachary after the cast came off? What’s the attraction to the cast? We sign it, draw on it, and flaunt it. But what happens when the “casts” of our lives get taken off?

Please know that I’m not at all making light of horrible tragedies, crises, loss, or any disappointment. Of all people, I definitely know about trauma and loss. But I also know that we were never designed to stay stuck in defeat. You’re more than that. And so am I.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].” – Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Overwhelming victory is yours. In all things. Because you’re loved massive. And Because His Word is true.

Do you believe it?