Lately I’ve seen a lot of hurt and anguish brought about by bad relationships. This has made me stop and ask myself: Why do we allow ourselves to be mistreated? Why do we participate in a hook-up culture? Why have we forgotten who God says we are?
I have a friend I’ll call Jill. Jill is beautiful, smart, funny, and witty. She has a fulfilling career, beautiful children, a loving and supportive family, and faith in the living Jesus. Jill has allowed a man to cheat on her, verbally abuse her, physically abuse her, lie to her, manipulate her, and has convinced her that if she was thinner and prettier he would act differently. Jill privately believes this. You wouldn’t guess this if you knew her on Facebook or if you were a colleague. You would never guess that she cries herself to sleep most nights.
I have another friend I’ll call Samantha. Samantha is a single mom. She tried her best to save her marriage, but drugs, alcohol, and affairs were her husband’s priorities. She is in a weak spot and is trying to move on. Then in the midst of healing and pain she caught the attention of a man that, by the world’s standards, has it all. He’s handsome, has money, and a rock solid place in society. However, he rarely keeps promises he makes and often criticizes Samantha. He uses fancy words to manipulate Samantha into believing he cares for her, but quickly discounts those words with his behavior. This confusion and rejection is very painful for Samantha. She spends most of her time in an up and down cycle that always leaves her upset.
I have another friend I’ll call Tamara. Tamara is a sweet single lady that has never married or had children. She has a male “friend” that keeps her around just enough to fulfill his needs but is absent or unwilling to help accommodate her needs. He doesn’t want a commitment but expects her to be available on demand.
This infuriates me! Jill, Samantha, and Tamara are fantastic people. Everyone around them knows this. Those men that abuse and hurt them know this. But Jill, Samantha, and Tamara don’t know this about themselves. They’re so scared of being alone, that they tolerate behaviors that they would never approve of for their friends and family. For them the fear of being alone is scarier than the men that abuse them.
This is the thing about mistreatment and rejection. There is no way to untie a personal attachment to these things. There is no way to not take it personally. It hurts. Badly. But this is the thing I’ve discovered about this: many women have a tendency to tie mistreatment and rejection to their self-worth. It’s not because they aren’t good enough. It’s not because they aren’t worth being loved and cherished, but a woman’s heart is a funny thing. We tend to measure our worth based on our relationships, so when we are rejected or mistreated we internalize it as a determining factor of our worth.
It seems everywhere I look I see people that are accepting intolerable treatment. We are so desperate for attention and love that we throw our standards out the window. We are so pressed to find comfort in the short run that we aren’t waiting to see what God has planned for us.
We are God’s daughters. He expects us to hold up His standards and He expects us to wisely invest the love He pours into us.
Next time you start questioning your worth: just stop. Look to Jesus, the man that died an agonizing death as an investment for your eternity. He loves you that much and He isn’t okay with you selling yourself short. So stop doing it.
Editor’s note: If you are currently in an abusive relationship, please take steps to remove yourself. Talk to a friend, seek help from family, and please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. God does indeed love you and you are worth all his love!