Transition from Beside the Point to Becoming the Point of Your Own Life
Think Labrador Retriever. Wide-eyed, faithful, forgiving and loyal, until…
He insisted on my presence at every meeting with attorneys, each deposition and appearance in court. I believed he needed me, my steadfast love and support. My demeanor was calm and quiet.
When responding to a question posed in a deposition or giving testimony in court, he glanced at me for public affirmation, a nod accompanied by the hint of a smile hit the mark.
He commanded my attention, he needed me.
— The Loyal and Faithful Servant —
Within a two-year-period, four lawsuits were in motion that involved my husband, he was the defendant in three corporate suits and plaintiff in a civil suit. Life was all legal all the time in our home. When he left to play golf for the day, I was assigned administrative tasks to complete before his return.
“He needs the distraction of golf. Duplication of the four-inch stack of documents plus updating recent financial reports is unnecessary, but it will give him peace of mind.”
Internal justification of my servitude was routine, until a pivotal moment of public humiliation triggered the shattering of an illusion.
— Beside the Point —
We were outside the courtroom for a brief recess, seated on an upholstered bench built into a wood-paneled wall. A young woman with a vested interest in the outcome of the trial joined us, she attended each successive hearing and offered support by befriending my husband. I was seated between them on the bench, they postured themselves to look around me and discussed the proceedings. It was late in the afternoon; would the day never end? Lost in thought, I took a deep breath and leaned forward to stretch.
Instantly, an elbow to my chest thrust my upper body up and back against the wall. My husband lowered his arm and conversation with the woman continued, as if he’d merely swatted a fly. I was beside the point, in the way, an irritant.
The scene replayed in my mind as I sat still as stone. With clarity I noted the disregard for my personhood, his disdain for me and dismissal of my presence. It wasn’t the first time he’d shoved me aside, nor the last. But, incredibly, it was the first time I saw his behavior for what it was – and the final time I remained passive.
Why did it take the umpteenth act of public humiliation to wake me up? Not to mention the years of degrading treatment meted out in private that I’d absorbed in silence.
Becoming the Point of Your Own Life
Rather than discussing the reasons for my tolerance of abusive treatment, I’ll share with you what I mean by the phrase ‘becoming the point of your own life’.
On the surface, it may sound self-serving and egotistical, or in the extreme, “I’ll be the god of my own life from now on, thank you.”
But that’s not it. Not at all.
Following my epiphany in the courthouse that day, it became impossible to pretend to myself that our marriage reflected mutual love. I finally saw the truth and realized that it wasn’t within my power to change the behavior of my husband or to make him love me.
What is within my power, and yours, is to change our own behaviors based on what is true. Focus on truth transitions us into a life that is centered on who we are created to be as individuals.
We are not created by God to become the extension of another person, even in marriage we are individuals. The biblical definition of submission in marriage does not include servitude or acceptance of emotional and physical abuse.
A step-by-step process of truth-discovery led me to a place of becoming the very point of my own life.
- Submission to ones’ husband (or pastor or employer or any person in a position of power in our life) should never come ahead of our personal relationship with God. Of course, I knew this, but over time God slipped into second place behind my husband.
- Uncovering the ‘why’ of what seemed normal to me – oppression and emotional abuse – was a necessary part of the process. The impact of generational strongholds in my life were exposed, and I learned how the truth of what God intended for me as a unique individual had been distorted.
- The discovery of my inauthentic or false self was a sobering experience. Playing to who we perceive others want us to be or what we imagine they expect from us is a dangerous role to assume. One I had lived for so long that I believed I was being real.
- Illusions were identified and abandoned. One illusion that posed as reality for me was the idea that I could come alongside a damaged human being and through the power of my love and self-sacrifice, witness his transformation (something only God can accomplish). My idealism had no basis in truth and led to needless suffering.
- Finally, I learned to reject the lies I not only heard but told myself: “You are so stupid!” “It’s your fault.” “You’ll never be good enough.” Lies were replaced by truths from God’s word and their application to my life over time, an ongoing process.
— God’s Plan is the Very Point of Your Life —
Paul addressed the Ephesians as beloved children of God. He implored them to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. He admonished them to be careful how they walk, to be wise and not foolish and to understand what the will of the Lord is. To give thanks to God for every good thing and to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This is a word for us as well, as beloved daughters of God and followers of Jesus. On the way to becoming the point of my own life, I learned to check myself with these questions:
- To be careful how we walk – who am I following?
- Do I understand what the will of the Lord is for me?
- Am I being real?
- Am I exercising wisdom and avoiding foolish behavior that puts me at risk?
- Am I telling myself the truth?
- Am I thankful for the way God made me?
(Full disclosure, it’s still necessary to check myself and review these questions…)
God’s plan for us is designed by Love. We are His workmanship; He has a plan for each of us – as individuals.
It is up to us to position ourselves to live out our calling, from the core of our being. It is the very point of each of our lives.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (ESV)
Please email me if you have questions or comments or topics you’d like to see addressed.