Bob had a business meeting in Boston, and decided to drive instead of fly from his home in Washington, DC. His wife, Barb, called him to see how the road trip was going.
Barb: How’s the road trip going, Honey? Where are you?
Bob: I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Barb: Honey, you’re going the wrong way!
Bob: Yeah I know. I want to go north, but the car’s going south.
Barb: Who’s driving the car?
Bob: I am.
Barb: Then why are you going south?
Bob: I don’t want to. I want to go north. But the car got on the southbound ramp and won’t turn around. I’m worried I might be late for my meeting in Boston if the car goes to Florida.
Barb: Honey, turn the car around.
Bob: Hey, don’t judge me! I’m the victim here in this crazy situation! I want to go north; it’s not my fault the car’s going south!
Pretty jacked up, right? Bob’s words, saying he wants to go to Boston, all of his good intentions and planning, all of his heart-longing for it, aren’t going to get the car there. His actions are driving the car, not his words. If he ever wants to get to Boston, he needs to take responsibility for his actions and turn the car around. Pretty obvious, huh?
But we do this in our relationships all the time. We pursue our life-goals this way. It’s our actions that are driving our car and setting our destination – not our stated good intentions or our desires.
When we live this way, we’ve taken the Vows of Victimhood.
“I want to relate but not be hurt.” Although we say we want a relationship, we take steps by our actions to push people away. We decide we’re going to control the situation to keep from getting hurt, instead of trusting God to heal us through the hurt. And it turns out that our trying to control causes us worse hurt than the natural situation would have. But we blame the situation.
“I want to learn but not fail.” We say we want that promotion, but we’re not willing to learn the technology or acquire the skills or do anything different. We don’t want to risk failing. It’s as if Bob intentionally drove to Raleigh to avoid the traffic in New York City. He will avoid the traffic in New York City with this strategy, but he’s also not going to Boston.
Kudos to Dr William Clark from The Lay Counselor Institute for this excellent analogy.
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