Broken things can be made useful!
Many of us, most likely all of us, have been in a marriage that was unhealthy, dysfunctional, and sometimes abusive. As time went on, we may have fallen victim to what our partner would say and do to us. We come to believe that we are weak, that we are the cause, that we are worthless, that we are failures, and that we are monsters.
This is often referred to as verbal and psychological abuse, but I tend to try and steer clear of labels because they are broad and I think that we all at one time or another can be “labeled.” I think that two people get in a cycle and treat each other inappropriately. For one reason or another, there is a communication break down, and healthy communication is not practiced by either party until eventually one person breaks down and starts to believe the other. We start letting our spouse define who we are. We lose our identity, our self-esteem, and our ability to stand up for ourselves.
Over time our spouse may leave because they found someone else or we wake up and try to stand up for ourselves only to find the situation worse. To cope, one person, leaves the relationship.
After my divorce, I went to counseling for a long time because I believed that I was a monster. I had heard it so much that I believed it and I could not handle viewing myself in a way that was contrary to my innermost being. I let my ex’s perception of me define who I was. I was in turmoil because I felt that I was a loving person, that I had a good heart. I did not want to accept that I was a monster because then it was all my fault the marriage failed, and nobody would ever want to be with me.
As time passed, I came to realize, with the help of the counselor, that some people project their poor behavior onto others. Some people are victims and blame everyone else for their problems, and even though I had made many mistakes, I was not the monster I was made out to be. I was an imperfect human being that had much to learn about relationships.
It isn’t others who define us; it is God and what we allow Him to do in our lives. God says we are sinners, yet we are His children. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and to worship Him. We are called to be more Christ-like. We are a process, a diamond in the rough, whom someday will be great.
Each day we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. We can change our lives and build our character… There is a saying out there that people don’t change. I just can’t accept that, because many of the people I care about, including me, would be bitter, hateful, liars. God defines us by giving us a new heart and mind for Him and others. Granted this takes work and time to grow, but we must tend the garden. We must pursue the kingdom and the desires of God. Our past may haunt us at times, people may try to hold us down but these things DON’T define us.
Break the chains of being a victim and enter a new life of peace, confidence, and love through our God. We are heirs; we are children of the Almighty! We do not walk through life with our heads held low in shame and fear because of our mistakes or what others say about us. Take hold of who you truly are and live as such, with your head held high.