Image: David Castillo Dominici /

Have you recently asked God what “heart change” He wants for you? I asked Him that question this morning and I thought about my inclination to blame myself for everything. Even since childhood, I carried that burden. And as I asked the Lord, “Where did that come from?” One memory He brought back was the time I was around 8 or 9 (I think) and I was walking home from bowling with my new bowling ball. I was a part of a children’s Saturday morning bowling league and really enjoyed it.

I’m walking along this very safe neighborhood (in the old days, children could walk along safely), and a car with a man in it pulls over to the curb near me. He leans across the front seat and calls to me through the open window.

“Don’t talk to strangers” must have vibrated through my brain and I panicked. The blood gushing through my ears from my heart pounding furiously blocked understanding what he was saying. I fully expected him to jump out of the car and grab me. I started running. I can’t imagine how fast I could run holding a bowling ball, but my little legs ran as fast I could. 

I don’t know how far I got before I paused to look back. The car was nowhere in sight. I stopped and looked around more just in case. No car. No man. Whew!

But then I thought, “Oh, Kathy, he wasn’t bad at all. How silly you are. He most likely just wanted to ask for directions. Now you’ve hurt his feelings. He most likely feels really bad to make you scared. Poor man. Why do you always do the wrong thing? That’s pretty stupid.”

And so the recriminations most likely continued for the rest of the way home. 

To think that I’d done a wise thing wasn’t on my radar screen. I based the wisdom of my choice upon what resulted. Since the man didn’t follow me, he wasn’t bad, therefore I over-reacted. To think my action had protected me from danger didn’t seem correct. Therefore, it was my fault and I was to blame for causing angst in that man.

Oh my. It seems so silly now and yet in many ways, I’m still doing the same kind of thing. I call myself stupid based upon the outcome rather than asking for God’s evaluation of the situation and my reaction.

Then I asked the Lord, what does blaming myself accomplish? I realized it’s a means of control. If I blame myself, there’s the possibility I could change and therefore make things better. But if other people are to blame, there’s less chance things will change. After all, I can’t change or control them. I can change and control me and that brings hope that things can improve. 

Of course, such control leaves out the Lord! I’m in charge; I’m not relying on the Father’s power or desiring His will. Relying upon Him seems dangerous because I can’t control Him either! He may not change things the way I want! That’s scary.

But that’s exactly what God continues to teach me again and again. Even though it’s scary to trust God who can’t be figured out, I must because He is the only One who knows best. Plus, I really can’t change myself without Him–at least deep down inside at a heart level. 

Now that I know His heart of love more, I do want to risk and trust Him. That means seeking God’s evaluation of the situation, not the results, and then taking responsibility for what is really my fault. And glory be! Asking for His forgiveness and cleansing instead of continuing to mentally hit myself over the head brings freedom. I must write right now, “Praise the Lord!”

A little complicated? Yes, it seems so, but feel free to let me know if this resonates with you.