LaToya’s father was abusive towards her mother, and she stayed with him for many years for the sake of their children. LaToya’s mother received the kind of advice that many women during her generation received, and some in our generation are still doling it out. Our mothers and grandmothers were often told by those who offered advice that any man is better than no man. This kind of thinking is spun from a mindset of fear, and is often used to keep women isolated. It causes them to feel afraid and insecure about their own ability to get away and care for their children and themselves.
The residuals of this kind of advice and thinking are apparent in LaToya’s life. She’s 52 years-old, but still hasn’t healed from those childhood wounds of seeing her mother beaten and treated so badly by her father. She feels inferior and for eighteen years now, she’s been in a relationship with a man that refuses to marry her. She said to me over dinner, “I’m tired of feeling like I don’t deserve any better than what I have right now. I don’t want to settle anymore.” This was a crack in the four walls of pain that have kept her boxed in for many years. The question is, how do you go from making a declaration of freedom to enforcing one?
When I listened to my friend LaToya, I could identify with her pain in so many ways. I have had feelings of inadequacy, and I so did not want to feel that way. It’s isolating and sad, and you don’t want anyone to know how afraid you are of letting yourself down and letting everyone else down as well. You can become so tightly wound that you’ll go along with things that you know are not God’s best. You do it because you’re trying to prevent any more eggs from falling out of the basket.
God commands us in Ephesians 4:23 to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Even if we will not admit it to ourselves, if a Sister in Christ believes that God would want her to remain in an abusive relationship or that He would want His daughters to be in relationships with men that will not commit to marriage, her thought life has an element of fear. Renewing her mind is the only solution.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6(The Message) tells us, “The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”
The culture was at one time, and to some degree still is, entrenched in the immature thinking that certain humans should be valued higher than others. God has given us the tools through His Word to smash this kind of warped philosophy. We can and should tear down barriers of pain and afflictions that breed fear. They go against the liberty in Christ we’ve been granted. Loose thoughts and emotions that are not grounded in love cannot mold a life into the structure of Christ. That is why we can’t allow our minds to stay trapped in flawed thinking.
We can and must cast down strongholds like this, and many women begin relationships without having done so. This is one of the reasons why God wants us to use our time in singledom to prepare by renewing our minds to His Word. We teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. If we will stand for certain negativities in our lives, then people will value us at the level of treatment we are willing to accept.
Let’s face it Sisters, some of us have become so blinded to the truth that we no longer respect what God has to say. We neglect His teachings—His ways and His love for us, and we become consumed with what we will or will not receive from a man. Then, if the man disappoints us and something goes wrong, our hearts become so broken we can hardly see straight. This is so far away from the path of love, wisdom, and power that God has predestined for us.
We must confront those old, broken down human nature patterns and thinking, like the ones that have gripped LaToya’s life. They can be very damaging to our souls. We cannot make a man or any other person our everything. God is our everything. Only He deserves such a place in our lives. Let’s renew our minds and get back to the ways of Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6: Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Let’s remember that we are empowered by God to stand boldly in the high value that He has placed on our lives. Instead of having fear about living without someone who doesn’t value us, we should seek to grow in faith that God will always and forever supply our every need. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Feeling Like You Don’t Deserve Better” written for FACM ©2016. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! SMS is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging Christian Women through the Word of God.