TLDR: Quitting = Setting boundaries and a lot of times culture and Christianity tell us that we should value the thoughts and interpretations of the collective over our own thoughts and feelings. While this can sometimes be true, it often is not and we should interpret these things for ourselves before blindly following others. It can lead to us silencing our God-given discernment because we see others as being more spiritual than we are and feel that surely if it works for them, it should work for us when that simply is not true.
Were you ever told that you needed to follow through with your committment?
Those of us who were raised by Gen X or Baby Boomer parents likely at some point were told, “It’s fine that you don’t like it, but you’re not going to quit.” Or maybe something more like, “You’ve made a commitment and now you need to see it through to the end.” While I understand the general sentiment behind this is to follow through and make good on your word, there are times when we need to tell ourselves it’s okay to quit something and not have it be attached to the idea of us failing or breaking a promise.
I appreciate the way I was raised, but in adulthood, especially during the time of my husband and I trying to conceive, I have found that we really need to focus on finding the things we want to implement with raising our children and what we would like to change. It never occurred to me that being made to follow through with things that I didn’t like might be instilling in my psyche patterns that would affect me negatively later on in life.
For instance, in my dating life prior to finding my hubby, I was a serial monogamist. I only had three boyfriends before Phoenix, two of which were 3-month relationships that felt like fast-lane courtships because of the uber-conservative and deeply religious guys I was dating. My long-term boyfriend and ex-fiance was a 4.5-year relationship. All three of the guys I dated before my husband were abusive towards me in one way or another. I always felt like since I had made a commitment to them that I owed it to them to stick around and see it through until some type of big event happened in the relationship that caused me to wake up and realize that the abuse was just unbearable for any longer. Each time I had to totally lose myself and become so unhappy and physically unhealthy before I finally said enough is enough.
Let this serve as a PSA
DO NOT wait until you are sexually assaulted to leave.
DO NOT wait until you are being hit physically every day during intimacy to leave.
DO NOT wait until he is tracking your every move and requiring hourly check-ins to leave.
THESE ARE SITUATIONS THAT MAKE IT OK TO QUIT.
Breaking Up With The Way Things Ought To Be
Being raised as a Christian, I was taught that my virginity was going to be the most desirable thing that I had to protect. I was taught that you saved that for marriage. But because sex was taboo in the Christian church, I was taught little to nothing else about how to value myself other than how to adapt to performative Christianity. If you were really hearing from the spirit, you would be led to give a prophetic word during worship, you’d consider everything you put on your body before leaving the house and try to think about any possible way a boy could be caused to stumble from your outfit. You would not date around, lest you be considered fast or easy. You never go on a date unless it’s a group thing.
All of these things, I totally understand now, but I don’t agree with them all. After years of healing myself and digging into my own relationship with God, inner-city missions work, and discovering what it means to know and be loved by the Lord on my own, I finally have a rear-view mirror perspective on my adolescence.
Regardless, I am so grateful for my journey, but I want to let other women know that it is absolutely OKAY to challenge something that doesn’t feel right to you. Not everything has to feel good; there are some things that we DO have to follow through with, but I am challenging you to reconsider what those boundaries look like for you. Especially if you were raised as a Christian, those boundaries might have been set for you, not by your choice.
It’s a different thing when you choose to set boundaries for things on your own because you believe in them for yourself. It’s more meaningful to set boundaries because you believe in the reasons for them and you have chosen to protect yourself and your spirit in those ways rather than going along with it because that’s what you were taught to do. When I talk to friends from my childhood, they all make comments about how different I am now. How free I seem to feel but how I still am so DEEPLY rooted in the Lord. It has literally taken me 12 years after leaving the church that I grew up in to finally talk about it all together like this, but it finally all makes sense to me.
Let this post bring new meaning to the phrase, “You do you.”