This post is for that woman who has found herself in a relationship she (or her bff for that matter) would define as a hot mess and for that woman who’s thinking about sending that text or making that call to reconnect with somebody they know they need to leave right where they are. I have been there ladies! I listened to a youtube video recently entitled “Break Free from Dead End Relationships” by Dr. Sarita Lyons (check it out!). Dr. Lyons was speaking about her frustration with the situation many of us ladies find ourselves in when we allow others to treat us less than we deserve. She was speaking specifically about romantic relationships in which women were being disrespected in various ways. The sad part is that many women don’t see being strung along in dead end relationships as disrespect. Side Note: this message is not in reference to giving up on marital relationships at all. However, she does talk about married women needing to address issues in their marriage. I won’t give away the whole video but she also has something in there for the side chicks who are deceiving themselves when they don’t realize that they too are being devalued. You may not realize this yet if it’s not you or anyone in your circle, but this video was addressed to women in the church, not outside the church. And this is nothing new. Those of us who are in healthy bible teaching churches often act as if we are afar off from the scandalous issues of sexual immorality we hear about at “other” churches. Oh no, we’d never have a 1 Corinthians 5 relationship at our church. Let me just cut to the chase, this discussion needs to be had among women at all churches. You may not have a Titus 2 type relationship with enough women at your church if you don’t realize that there are women, young and old, educated and uneducated, new in the faith and not so new in the faith, who struggle with getting out of and staying out of immoral or unhealthy romantic relationships. This topic resonates with me so much because not only do I pray for and counsel women who are struggling, I myself have been a few variations of that very woman. I was that friend with benefits who hoped and prayed that God would open his eyes so he could see that I was the one. Unfortunately, in that situationship (as my nephew would call it), I stayed around far too long. I mean years out of my early twenties playing the fool. Not that I did much better when I tried dating again in my early thirties. I’ll save those stories for another time. I can’t say what’s at the root of each woman’s situation, but there’s always a root. When we stay in dead end or unhealthy relationships, there’s a reason. It could be that you struggle with low self esteem, past traumas, lack of healthy relationships modeled for you as child, abandonment or a strained relationship with your father or maybe just plain desperation. Any one of these things can lead us to act beneath the worth and the value God has put on us. We learn in the bible that in the beginning, God made us in His image. There could be a period right there when you think about your value. But we all have reasons for why we allow unacceptable treatment from people in our lives, especially in romantic relationships. I’ll take it a step further since I am speaking to the woman who like me loves the Lord but has found herself in a relationship where there was compromise of all kinds. There’s something we do not believe about who God is when we do this to ourselves. I’m pretty sure that was a revelation from my pastor, Michael Crawford. At the root of loneliness, even though loneliness is real, what keeps us in that place of loneliness is often not believing that God is near to the brokenhearted and makes a home for the lonely. At the root of our fear of having that difficult conversation and taking those first steps to do things differently is not believing that the Holy Spirit is your helper, that God has not given you a spirit of fear and that God will be with you even if nobody else is.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
If this is you, and you find yourself stuck or wanting to go back to a situation that you know is not God’s will for you,
- Find someone to help you identify the root of what’s keeping you in this. If you can’t think of anyone in your current circle, start by looking at the video linked to Dr. Lyon’s video.
- But even before that, pray for God’s help and guidance.
- If you are not already in one, get yourself in a bible believing, bible teaching church and connect with some seasoned women; women who are older and/or wiser than you. Join a small group or start attending women’s ministry activities. Being in a supportive community of believers is so important.
- There are also numerous print and online resources as well. I found the book, “Lady in Waiting” by Jackie Kendall, to be vital in my time of singleness. I also became an avid reader of all things Kim Cash Tate, after a particularly difficult break up. Kim ministers to women’s issues through Christian fiction in a way I have never experienced. Now she has ventured into bible studies, which I also highly recommend.
- Get busy. Do whatever get busy means to you. Take some fitness classes, find a conference to attend, join a ministry at church, offer to babysit for friends, schedule an outing with friends regularly. I recently attended a meal prep class, scheduled coffee with a woman at my church, and attended a Christmas concert with a friend. Now this is for fun but also can be a very help distraction and an opportunity for growth and meeting new people. In the past, I joined several and even started my own meetup group just as a way to expand my social circle at a time in my life when I was new to Baltimore and wanted to connect with others who had shared interests. Meetup actually played a major role in how I met my husband!
- Do it now! Whatever it is. Ending a relationship, blocking a number, moving out of his place, having that boundaries conversation. Don’t hesitate in the face of fear. Be courageous in spite of fear.
To stay true to sharing my journey, in my current season of life, I’m not in a dead end relationship, but I certainly have some things I need to be reminded to believe about God. I too need to utilize all of the steps listed above. In 2018, I will utilize this platform to emphasize the truth that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness as I continue to navigate life in view of my shortcomings in so many areas. I will choose to believe daily that God is faithful, that God is loving and that God is near. What do you need to believe about God this year?