Victim Mentality | Ashley Varner

If you’ve ever thought, “life is against me” then this episode is for you!

Today, I want to share how we can avoid the victim mentality. We’re going to look at a story in the Bible of a person who could have easily fallen in the trap of victim thinking, and what they did instead.

Resources Mentioned:

Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset
My Story by Elizabeth Smart: https://amzn.to/32Lktzy

Highlights from the Episode:

I think we all have times in our lives when it feels like everything is happening TO us. We get in several arguments with people, our identity gets stolen, we struggling with our job. You know how it can go.

Victim mentality can rear it’s ugly head when we have circumstances like this in our lives.

Victim Mentality

Now, just to be clear, let me explain what I’m talking about when I say victim mentality. Because having a victim mentality isn’t the same as being an actual victim. And I want to make sure I’m clear about it.

Here are some signs of victim mentality:

  • constantly blaming other people or situations for your negative feelings
  • thinking that others are purposefully trying to hurt you
  • feeling powerless to change your circumstances
  • developing habits of blaming, attacking, and accusing those close to you
  • for how you feel
  • constantly putting yourself down
  • believing you’re the only one being mistreated
  • refusing to admit that you could be wrong
  • refusing to take steps to improve your life
  • even when things go right, you find something that’s wrong
  • feeling cheated, envious and resentful, thinking that the world isn’t fair

It can be easy to get into a victim mentality, but I want you to get into the habit of taking your thoughts captive during times like these. Instead of thinking everything is happening to you, you can begin to think that everything is happening FOR you.

How a Negative Circumstance Can Serve You

You may be thinking, what is this negative circumstance doing for me?

Well, each circumstance is different, but if nothing else, remember that difficult things help us mature in Christ.

I recently had an incident with someone accusing me of doing something that I didn’t do. At that point I had a choice. I could have retaliated, I could have fallen into the victim mentality dwelling on the negative words, and I also could have gone and told the whole world about it.

Instead, I made a decision to let it go and keep it to myself. I wasn’t going to tell my best friend or other family members. I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it or bring it up again.

Say Goodbye to Victim Mentality | The Renewed Mind Podcast

That incident, instead of being something that happened TO me, became something that happened FOR me. It made me grow and taught me that I don’t have to share everything with everyone. Or even share everything with a few people. I can choose not to share details of someone treating me
wrong.

God Can Use Negative Circumstances For Our Good

When it feels like people are against you, you are falsely accused or misunderstood because people made assumptions, I want you to think about the story of David and Nabal.

The story is found in 1 Samuel 25, I’ll start reading in verse 4.

4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing
sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at
Carmel and greet him in my name. 6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good
health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

7 “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with
us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel
nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you.
Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time.
Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for
them.’”
9 When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name.
Then they waited.
10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of
Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.
11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered
for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
12 David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they
reported every word. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your
sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred
men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers
from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at
them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and
the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing.
16 Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding
our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because
disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a
wicked man that no one can talk to him.”
18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of
wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of
raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not
tell her husband Nabal.
20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David
and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just
said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the
wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for
good. 22 May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I
leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down
before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said:
“Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your
servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man
Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with
him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And
now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the
Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own
hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like
Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be
given to the men who follow you.
28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will
certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s
battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even
though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be
bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives
of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the
Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him
and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his
conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having
avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success,
remember your servant.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has
sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment
and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with
my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives,
who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me,
not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said,
“Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

So we see that David went to a man named Nabal who he had protected and treated well. He thought this man was an ally to him. He sent word to his “friend” asking for some food. He didn’t think anything of the request, as far as he knew, they were on good terms.

But instead of answering favorably, Nabal said, “Who is this David?”

Basically, he spit in David’s face.

David was ready to go to war with Nabal until Nabal’s wife came and pleaded with David.

In verse 32, David says to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.”

Abigail’s wise words stopped David long enough to decide not to fight back. Around that time, David wrote Psalm 35, and these words really struck me, he says, “Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my
aid.”

And if we keep reading in 1 Samuel 25, we find out that the Lord actually struck Nabal down ten days later and killed him.

For anyone who is feeling falsely accused or feels like people are against you, I’d recommend reading this chapter.

Say Goodbye to Victim Mentality | The Renewed Mind Podcast

It is possible to be a victim of circumstances. David didn’t deserve being treated like he was, and he was ready to avenge himself.

It can be easy for us to jump to that as well. We want to defend ourselves.

We want to blame others, but instead we can choose what to do with those circumstances after they happen.

Being a Victim Doesn’t Mean You Have to Think Like One

It reminds me of the inspiring story of Elizabeth Smart who was abducted and held for over 8 months. She was undoubtedly a victim. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. She could have ended up living a life where she thought things like: feeling powerless, putting herself down, thinking the
world was against her.

However, she was able to change the trajectory of her life after she was rescued to help others. She truly was a victim, but she didn’t allow her circumstances to create a victim mentality that would have plagued her for years to come.

Her story is so inspiring and I’m going to leave a link in the show notes to her book entitled “My Story” if you want to check it out.

Changing Your Thoughts

I hope this episode helped you today. If you find yourself blaming your situation or other people for your emotions, remember that our circumstances NEVER determine our feelings. Our thoughts do.

If you are really struggling with that concept, then the Mindset Reset would be perfect for you. I give you more tools that will transform your life by renewing your mind. I’ll see you next time!

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- Ashley Varner

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