I grew up with a religious belief system where God, as that supreme being in the clouds, was responsible for all that happened to us. It was very Old Testament. If we were experiencing challenges, it was because God was punishing us.
As I explored new belief systems, I encountered the idea that we may not be responsible for what happens to us, but rather how we experience it--the meaning we assign to it and how we choose to respond to it. Victor Frankyl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, was my first encounter with this idea. During his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp, death and indignities were part of his daily life. Frankyl had the realization that, although he could not change the fact that he was in this situation, he could control how he chose to react to it. He could choose his own behavior and attitude towards it. Frankyl's book changed my life.
Later, I found New Thought and Unity and began to read about the "Law of Mind Action" and the "Law of Attraction". I found this to be very empowering and it helped me to see my life from a much higher perspective. It required me to see that I (my subconscious) had drawn to me experiences that reflected my soul's level of overall consciousness as well as those situations that might enable my soul to learn and grow as part of my human experience.
It is a hard principle to embrace for most people and I don't think the greater population will accept it. To say that we choose to be molested or to die in a car accident is beyond belief for most people. For me, it took my acceptance of reincarnation to see the bigger picture. If I believed that I lived only one lifetime and then it was over, it would be more difficult to accept this idea. But seeing myself as a soul that has been through many lifetimes gives me a different viewpoint. In seeing the eternal life of my soul, I have accepted that I ultimately have responsibility for what I experience and how I experience it. It is empowering when you look at it. It means that if we create our life experiences, we can choose to create different experiences if we don't like what we see in our past.
When we choose to accept this idea of responsibility, it can be easy to start blaming ourselves for what we've experienced. But blaming and punishing ourselves is not the answer. That takes us back to our Old Testament mentality. Jesus spoke often about forgiveness. It was very simple to him...he said, "Go and sin no more." In other words, you've realized your mistake, don't do it again. It is about coming into awareness and growing in consciousness.
All this being said, I sometimes would like to feel that there is a protector on a white cloud who will rescue me from some of my antics. When I gave up that idea it was like finding out there was no Santa Claus. But when I accepted the idea that the same Spirit that was within Jesus was also within me, it was powerful. It meant that I was never without God. I didn't have to pray to a God outside of me and hope he would respond.
Anyway, that's just a bit of my journey and what I've come to believe. It's obviously something that we each need to make up our minds about.