Hello my friends!
Coach LeAnne here, I love this time of year. The beauty and the brokenness of it all. I cherish the birthday celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the many opportunities to share love, joy, peace, and hope with those we care most about, and it is also a time to mourn, remember and honor those we have loved, lost, and had to say goodbye to. It’s a both/and kind of life.
It is just before Christmas and many of us are searching for that perfect gift to give someone we care about and love. The options are numerous as the stars in the sky. How do we know which one to pick? How do we know which gifts will bring smiles, gratitude hugs, and moments of enjoyment? How do we best avoid giving gifts that will scream – Return, Reject- Run! What in the world were they thinking! Perhaps we know the gift to give because we know the recipient. We know their preferences, their values, their fears, challenges, wins, weakness, and strengths. How do others know what gift to bless us with? They deeply know us. They see us. We have given them the access to our hearts and we share the gift of belonging with them.
I was in a destructive relationship for 26 years. I left in 07 and I think my picker is broken, is there help for me?
I have shared many conversations about dating after divorce from a destructive/ oppressive spouse with friends, family, and coaching clients. I learn and grow with each one. Thank you for your question. Sister, 26 years is a long time to live in a relationship in which you have been devalued. For 16 years you have been free from living day in and day out in this relationship. I pray you are safer now then you once were. Because you have asked this question, I will assume that you would like to enjoy healthy intimate relationships as you move forward in life.
Let us begin our conversation today with a definition of a destructive relationship.
Leslie, in her book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage defines it this way.
“A destructive relationship is one in which the personhood of the other is regularly diminished, dismissed, disrespected, and demeaned.” I call these the 5 Big D’s. This definition is a courageous gift of clarity for us all. Will we receive it?
Relationships are all around us- from the people we work with, to the friends we have, to the helpers we invite in our world to support us. The relationships we have affect how we show up in the world. Some of these relationships we can choose, and others cannot be chosen. They are gifts.
Entering the dating scene after experiencing an oppressive and destructive relationship can be scary, exciting, risky, and fun all at the same time. You asked, “Is there help for me?” I will say a resounding Yes! There is help and hope for you dear one. If, you can learn to steer clear of the 5 Big D’s. You can learn to choose and cultivate relationships “consciously”, with your eyes, spirit, soul, and ears wide open. Many people sleepwalk through life and through relationships… Let that not be said of you.
As Christian women, we know that we are all sinners. We all need grace, mercy, and forgiveness. However, some sins, and behaviors should be relationship deal-breakers. Do you know yours? Both love and fear can keep us in a relationship for sure. BUT, abuse of any kind should NEVER be tolerated. God wants the best for His daughters. He promises to guide us. (Psalm 32:8) He will instruct us and teach us the way we should go. He will counsel you with His eye upon you. Let’s learn together how to choose friends, and particularly men who glorify God.
If you and I were sitting knee to knee right now, sipping hot tea or coffee, I would ask you to describe your “picker”. I would hold space for your history and your hurts. We would probably laugh and cry together. I would listen to your heart, your dreams, and the characteristics of the ideal gift of the perfect man for you. Then, I would ask you about the steps you have taken in the last 16 years to get healthier yourself.
Next, we would chat about your belief, “I think my picker is broken”. That is a strong statement, if you believe it is true, might fear be being the boss of you? Emotions are terrible decision-makers.
Based on your questions, I’m going to make the assumption that you would rather not let fear push you into an unhealthy relationship. Good for you! My friend, what happens to your “picker” when it is fearful of criticism? Of rejection? Of disapproval? Do you hide the best parts of yourself? Or, in this relationship do you feel safe to share your ideas, your feelings, your preferences, and your perspectives? When fear is your driver- you cannot be free to respectfully challenge, confront, and even strengthen another human.
Finally, let me ask you this “If you believed that your picker was healed, what would be different for you? Write those things down. We know that toxic relationships can deform us. They can cause us to lose who we truly are, the best parts of ourselves can remain immature, and undernourished. And…if you’re concerned that your picker may not be fully healed, how do you heal that part of yourself?
By doing your work to strengthen your sense of identity. You begin to uncover who you are in Christ. Psalm 139 reminds you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that your souls will know it full well. Sister, You are who God says you are. You are a new creature in Christ.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) You have been set free in Christ. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
I pray His voice will be the loudest one you hear. You can discover and take ownership of who you are. You have the opportunity each day to and receive the gift of courage to step into self-awareness, self-stewardship, self-love and self-care.
You can begin this process by asking yourself what your deepest values and your highest virtues?. Not what they “should” be, but what is important to you. Ask the Spirit of God to show you what you cannot see on your own. He is so faithful. I believe that to have healthy relationships, we need to be healthy ourselves. To grow to be healthy we need to do our own inner work.
True healing begins with a cry out to the Lord. Psalm 34:17-19. It cannot be rushed. You can be tempted to quit the journey into healthy land when you feel tired, lonely, overwhelmed and all you want is for any gorgeous man to charm you, bring you flowers and take you to dinner. Remember- Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman (or man) who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31. Do not mistake charm for character. You can learn to prayerfully pick on purpose, it will take commitment and time. You are worthy.
As you step into these honest conversations, with yourself, safe others and God, clarity will overshadow your confusion. Healthy humans are able to see people more clearly. It’s not that you judge them as unworthy, but you do see them as unhealthy. You can learn to love and respect others without losing the best of who you are.
God calls you and I to live bravely and with strength and dignity. He says in His holy scriptures 365 times, Be not afraid. It’s time to find your brave. Bravery friend, is a virtue and not a feeling.
Here is your help and your hope gift – from my heart to yours:
You are much more than what has happened to you. You are more than your thoughts or your feelings. You do have agency to collaborate with God to become all He created you to be. The gift of the whole, healed picker is ready for you to claim. Let’s Go!
If you would like support in your healing journey, I encourage you to join us in 2023. You are not alone. Our six-month group coaching program called Empowered to Change begins in January, Please click here for more information. There are a few spots available.
Friend, What gift has God uniquely chosen and placed under the tree for you this year? His picker is perfect! He loves you and so do I!
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