The unknown road that we travel down after divorce can be long and treacherous. Every little bump and twist stings to our very core. Worries we never knew existed can seem to overtake us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
We don’t have to allow our divorce to determine what our trip down Unknown Avenue looks like. Through God’s word, we can pick ourselves back up and put the pieces back together. We can navigate this road gracefully by letting God breakdown the “landmarks” that surround us. By landmarks I mean strongholds.
WE CAN HAVE GRACE UNDER FIRE!
In my previous blog, I mentioned several strongholds that I faced after my divorce. In that post we broke-down Anxiety. Today’s post will be focused on the crazy need for approval that sneaks-in in the midst of turmoil.
Addiction to Approval
Yes – I called it an addiction. And that’s exactly what it is… we get snared into its’ trap so easily. Everything we once found our sense of belonging in – our roles in our marriage and in our home – has crumbled. We need emotional/mental support from those around us and so desperately want to know that we are doing a good job managing our trip down this Unknown Avenue.
I recall, immediately after my divorce, an overwhelming amount of my self-value came directly from the approval of others. I had completely lost my footing – every disapproval or disagreement (especially from my ex) felt like rejection and a stark reminder that I was not enough. As much as I didn’t want to serve the needs of my ex – I would cave and seek his approval. I became an all-around “people pleaser”. I wanted to be “ENOUGH” by myself and I searched for that validation in the approval of those around me.
So lets unpack that mess written above…
1- Finding our self value in the approval of others.
This looks like it’s pretty black and white. Like, we are all adults here and we all know this. Yes, we do! But do we live it? Most of us don’t… not in our post – divorce state, anyway. We are searching to cling to any little thing that can help us feel whole, even if it’s only momentarily. We are broken and often emotionally exhausted. It feels so good to have a little pick-up or pat on the back. Unfortunately, that approval we receive provides that little glimpse of happy that makes us feel whole for just a little bit. BUT BEWARE! The idea of needing approval is a lie. The enemy deceives us into believing that we need that approval in order to be whole. That’s untrue and far, far from what God has for us. That approval only offers a temporary “feel good”. Shift your focus to the word of God – it provides long-lasting wisdom and comfort. God’s word provides a lifetime of wholeness and completeness in us that cannot be provided by any human.
John 4:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a]The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
2- Every disapproval or disagreement feels like rejection (especially from our ex)
I think the title is self-explanatory… Oh the sting of our ex not liking something else that we’ve done. I allowed this to manifest as ” I don’t really care what he thinks” or “I’m not married to him anymore so it doesn’t matter what he thinks”. BUT – those were lies. Those were the things I spoke allowed because it cut me like a knife every time. Initially, after my divorce – no one could make me question myself like my ex-husband. Every time he didn’t approve, I would find myself obsessing over ways to make him admit that I AM A GOOD MOTHER! Guess what? That’s a goose chase… How crazy was I? Trying to get the person that hated me the most to give me my self-worth!?!? But I didn’t stop with my ex – I got to the point where I literally shut out people who didn’t offer their approval of my actions or decisions. I couldn’t take it – every disapproval brought back the wrenching feeling of rejection. I let friends go and turned away family that wouldn’t feed my need for approval. I lost me – my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and my ability to make decisions on my own. I questioned my own judgement. But I sought healing in the people around me – so when I got some approval it temporarily put a band aid over my hurts. Do you see how this could become an addiction??? You know where I found real healing for those rejections and that dis-approval?
THAT’S RIGHT… OUR LORD AND SAVIOR CAME TO MY RESCUE – EVEN WHEN I WASN’T BEING LOVABLE.. HE HEALED MY NEED FOR APPROVAL, AND HE WILL HEAL YOURS IF YOU WILL GIVE IT TO HIM!
Psalm 147:3 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
3- People Pleasing
To an extent – we all aim to please people. It’s not in our fleshly nature to intentionally disappoint those around us. But it’s also not our purpose to please people. Our purpose is to serve our God and His purpose for our life. People pleasing can actually become sin. It’s a sin I’m guilty of myself. When we people please, we are serving people and not serving God. When we desire to please those around us more than we desire to please God we can actually make our trip down Unknown Avenue more difficult. Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and forgiveness. He pours out His grace on us, we should pour out that same grace to those around us. Ask God to help you keep your focus on pleasing Him. Ask Him what pleases Him if you are unsure. Ask for forgiveness for serving those around you instead of serving Him – and live out the blessings He has planned for your trip down Unknown Avenue!
Psalm 103:12 Living Bible (TLB)
12 He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.
4- Am I Enough, by myself?
NOPE! You are not enough by yourself. But WITH GOD, you are more than enough! Today, I can feel those words as I type them. Twelve years ago – I would’ve rolled my eyes and said “yeah, right”… I didn’t feel strong enough, pretty enough, worthy enough, smart enough, cool enough, religious enough, and I certainly didn’t have enough money! So reading those words wouldn’t have said the same thing to me then, as they do now… But for you, I want you to see and feel what those words mean NOW. YOU ARE ENOUGH. I know because God created you perfectly according to His plan. We don’t “earn” our grace or salvation. God gives it to us for free! NO ONE’s disapproval can change the plan God has for you. NO ONE’s opinion can take away God’s blessings for your life. NO ONE’s opinion should cause you to lose hope for your future. With God, you are enough.