If only I had a dollar for each time someone said to me, “Just move on with your life!” Often times it was said in a demeaning way – like somehow we should not grieve something like divorce. Honestly, I think some people just did not want to see any pain or grief, so they say those things to shut hurting people up. So that we hide our feelings because those feelings bothered them, and their fake idea that everyone has a perfect, emotionless life.
A few times it was said to me when I had anxiety about something or someone. Anxiety, that had stemmed from my past. Those people did not realize that brushing anxiety under the rug, like it does not exist, does not make it go away. It is still there, it just is never getting dealt with. Not in a healthy way. We must always deal with feelings from our past, otherwise, we just see them pop up in different situations.
Also, moving on has NOTHING to do with having another relationship. Actually, most times if someone does move on right away after a divorce, they are highly likely to get into an abusive or another destructive relationship. Same person, just a different body. And then they don’t realize it until they are already committed.
This type of “moving on” is to avoid doing what one really should have done in the first place.
In the last several years, I have realized that I have done a pretty good job in moving on with my life. Healing has been at the top of my list of things to do, on a daily basis. To work on putting my past behind me. To learn to be an emotionally healthy person, for a better future for myself and for my children. I knew me dating too quickly would not only hurt me but would also greatly hurt my son as well. His feelings and healing are just as important, if not more, than mine. How selfish would I be for just moving on quickly to another relationship without regard for how that would affect anyone else?
What moving on really looks like.
This list should help you decide if you’re moving on, to a healthier place, or if you are stuck and need to seek help in getting to where you need to be going.
1.) We no longer cry every time we share our story. Nor do we hide it from anyone. Shame covers. God calls us all to bring everything into The Light.
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! – Ephesians 5:8 NLT
For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. – Mark 4:22
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. – Luke 8:17
2.) We can look back on your life and see where everything has happened for a reason – or part of a plan for better things. Which also goes back to #1, that we do not need to hide it. Your past has made you the person you are today. No shame in that.
I can also look back in my journal of years past and see how far I’ve come. See the struggles that I had faced and smile knowing I have made it through the hardest times of my life. Back then there were times that I thought I would die. But look at me, all surviving and thriving and stuff… 😉 …and using my story to save many lives (Genesis 50:20).
3.) We use our past experiences to help others. Someone needs to show others how to make it through. Those who have been through it themselves are the best guide for others. We know exactly what it feels like and where to turn. God is working it all out for His glory.
4.) We are not waiting for anyone from our past to come apologize. I know that will never happen, so why expect it? That only hurts us when waiting around in expectation for something that has never nor possibly will ever happen. Be okay with the apology that you will never get.
Personally, I keep my boundaries high to protect myself from those in my past that have only proven that their goal is to hurt me. I do not believe in or practice “…keep your enemies closer” – because that is just dysfunctional behavior and manipulation. I do not want any part of that. Moving on means I leave “past” relationships (and their spouses, ex-spouses, ex-friends, and ex-whatever) in the past. I keep them blocked on social media so that there is never any temptation to stalk them. I do not need their friendship to prove anything. I’m no longer a people-pleaser. I can make it on my own. 🙂
5.) We are not waiting for a man to come and rescue us from our singleness. Jesus has already “rescued” all of God’s children on the cross. Nor are we waiting for anyone to come clean up the devastation in our life caused by someone else. We do not need anyone to “complete” us because we’re already a complete person… in Christ. (Two half people do not make a whole, they make 2 half people both drowning the other.) We have higher standards than that.
6.) Getting “complete” means learning to love ourselves, accepting that this is exactly how God created us (His beloved daughter), and be joy-filled as a single mother. This does not mean we are happy every minute of every day. Doing life alone (even with close, loving friends) is still hard. But in trusting God we can understand that this season of singleness is for our own growth, and nothing less. So, we keep working on bettering ourselves and getting emotionally and physically healthy. Taking care of ourselves is important… for ourselves but also so we can take better care of our children, too.
7.) We are working through the act of forgiveness. Even if we have not yet arrived.
In my growing and learning, I’ve learned two important things about forgiveness. One is that it does not happen in a very short amount of time. It is a lengthy process, especially if there is a long history of abuse, infidelity, or other similar issues. Sometimes when I think I have forgiven everything, then a memory is brought to my attention, or I learn of new offenses that were never confessed, and I realize I have yet to forgive that offense. Some issues continue to happen so I have to keep working through forgiving that too. Then there are the consequences of past offenses that I have to deal with, and then I have to remind myself to keep working through it all. I do not pretend to have arrived. But when I make it to Heaven, I know God has seen it all and His promises are true.
The second thing that I learned about forgiveness is, that there is no such thing as “forgive and forget!” We are human beings, incapable of forgetting… nor should we! When we do actually forget things from our past, we are bound to repeat them, while we are paying no attention to how we should have learned from our past mistakes. Each experience is a learning lesson. Forget the lesson, you might just repeat it.
That wouldn’t be good, would it?
How are you doing with “moving on” after divorce?
Many days growing and learning in Him,