There are a few things that I avoid, or have avoided in the past, since becoming a single mom. One of those is weddings…I just have a hard time going to weddings. I think originally it was because being newly divorced, I couldn’t sit through a wedding without negative, even cynical, thoughts playing in my head. I would sit there and watch the ceremony, wondering how long that marriage would last. Or I would watch the happy couple and get caught up in sadness or grief over my own lost marriage. On top of those thoughts, the sheer fact that I had to attend the wedding by myself among the seemingly endless supply of couples was just too much. So, years ago I made it a point to stop going to weddings. (I guess I’ll have to make an exception when my kids end up getting married! Ha ha!). Fortunately the wedding season for most of my friends has long since past, so it’s not as much of an issue today as it was years ago.
I think it’s healthy for us to realize our weaknesses and limitations, and do what we can to keep ourselves out of those situations until we are better equipped to handle them. For instance, a recovering alcoholic, I would think, would tend to stay away from bars due to the constant pull of wanting to have a drink. For me, I knew that attending weddings took me to a dark and unhealthy mindset, so to protect myself from that, I needed to avoid that situation, at least until I was in a healthier place emotionally.
Another thing I tended to avoid was old high school and college friends, anyone who really knew me before my divorce. Not because of anything they had done or said, but more because of how I felt being around them, reminders of how my life hadn’t turned out like I had planned. I think more than anything, even after all these years, it’s shame that keeps me from contacting them, from reaching out. Most of the time, they “seem” to have it all together….they’ve married, had kids, fulfilled most of the dreams they had back when I knew them. Then here I am, a failed marriage, working full-time, raising kids on my own….definitely not the white picket fence dreams I used to have. I tell people who I often feel “less than” when it comes to those old friends, and I struggle with comparing my life to theirs, so I tend to avoid situations like that.
This weekend I was invited to an impromptu reunion of sorts with some old high school friends coming up in a few weeks. I’m really struggling with whether to go or not. When I do some soul-searching, I know it’s really pride and shame keeping me from wanting to go. Knowing this, I feel like I “should” go, but I’m still fighting myself. I don’t like putting myself in positions where I feel uncomfortable anymore, and this would definitely be out of my comfort zone. It would be so good to see them, but so hard at the same time.
Do you ever struggle with things like this? How do you handle it? Any advice you can give me?
Whatever you may be struggling with, know that I’m praying for you, and I’m giving myself the same advice I offer here…. God doesn’t see us the way we see ourselves. He loves us, and sees us as perfect treasures. We can overcome the shame that we feel, because through Christ, we are overcomers.
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”Romans 8:37