Divorce was a dirty word. I’d have done absolutely anything, outside of not getting married, to avoid it.
Nevertheless, it found me. Twice.
Less than a year after donning the fluffy white dress and borrowed headpiece, I was alone. Emotionally drained, broken, and just plain sad. My home, my safe haven, was no longer safe for who and what I was inside. Physically, I was fine. But parts of my inner woman were stripped away, and it’s virtually impossible to be safe in a space where “you” aren’t welcome. It’s important to note: I hadn’t been robbed; I gave myself away. Nothing I did was good enough, or quite right. My insecurities and critical nature were fueled with his reminders of ways I could be and do better.
And I welcomed it. Agreed with it. Rarely spoke up for myself until finally, I lost my identity and my voice.
This isn’t for blaming or bashing; I accept full responsibility for my actions.
By the time we split, we were several months shy of our first anniversary. As you can imagine, I felt completely lost. Divorce was still a dirty word and I’d been determined to suppress whatever I needed to about myself to be acceptable. Loved again. Yet, nothing worked. Why? Because I wasn’t his enemy; my potential was.
The things he accused me of were far beyond the woman I was back then. He worked hard to convince me I wasn’t worth fighting for and expressed regret for all he “invested” in me. He lamented that he wouldn’t get a return on his investment after our split. I was emotionally paralyzed for nearly a year, believing every lie he told me and the ones I told myself.
Thankfully, my story didn’t end there. Being immersed in the Word of God and surrounded by the right community, I developed resilience and began to rebuild. I didn’t bounce back overnight and even hit more bumps down the road. However, in the process, I found these 4 tips helpful for starting over:
- Only the One who created you, can help recreate you.
Too many times, we try and invent ourselves based on who we think we want to become. The longer we suppress our original God-given purpose, the more ‘upside down’ we become in our lives, including our relationships, career, and possibly even our hobbies.
- God’s Word doesn’t just tell us how to act, but who we are.
The temptation to base our identity on outside opinions is often higher during tough circumstances. God’s Word is a constant, no matter who comes or goes. It’s the best place to help paint a picture of who you really are.
- Starting over is an opportunity for change & growth. Be careful not to isolate yourself!
As we start from Ground Zero, especially after divorce, options for trust are slim. It’s easy to rethink all our decisions and decide that no one is worth the risk of trusting again, including ourselves. Our worth comes into question even when the break-up was mutual. To combat isolation and not draw back in depression, self-pity, or suspicion requires intention. Open up to a close friend when these feelings creep up. Resist the temptation to become a loner, believing that “everyone” will hurt you. This will require much prayer! Begin by asking God for discernment and for insight into you and your decision making.
It’s almost impossible to truly move forward while harboring blame and accusation. Acknowledge you were done wrong and examine your role in the exchange. Analyze what happened on both sides. Then, let. it. go. For example, my ex was wrong in how our relationship ended, but I participated by what I allowed in the days and months prior. Focusing on his wrong may have helped me feel better temporarily, but wouldn’t have taught me anything about how not to repeat the behavior and grow.
Where we are today is less a reflection of what happened, than a reflection of how we responded to what happened. Anchoring ourselves in what went down is a recipe for getting stuck. Tweet This Studying our responses keeps us mobile in our emotions and behavior. Can you relate?