Question: “How do you hold your head up when what is presented is different than the reality and people believe the lies?”
In a divorce, there are two sides to every story. And most of the people surrounding the couple who are going through it are only hearing one of the sides. And what I’m learning is that there is little that can be done to make sure both sides are being equally told and understood to everyone involved.
Lies and misperceptions are told. People are going to believe what they are going to believe.
All I can do is learn from it; remember this when I hear someone else’s one-sided story. Pray for discernment to know the full truth as best as I can, and to not judge the other person being discussed because I can’t right then and there ask for his side of things.
Someone recently accused me of something absolutely ridiculous and it occurred to me that she perhaps did this because of how I am being portrayed to her. It maybe lined up with who she now thinks I am. I reminded her that I’m not the kind of person to do what she just accused me of and I moved on.
But I don’t always move on. It’s harder to move on if the person who is thinking not great things about you is someone close to you.
So, as I continue to move through this life now as a divorced Christian woman – with all the stigma that is attached to that (including being told I was no longer a Christian now that I’m divorced and being asked why I hate men, among other lovely sentiments) – I look at other people’s opinions of me through a filter.
If it is a blog commenter or reader or someone I have never met, I let it fall right off of me. I’m rubber, they’re glue, kind of thing. What do they know of my heart? If they’ve never looked me in the eye, they get zero of my attention and mind space. This happened to me recently…I received an email from someone who heard me on the radio and he said he hadn’t realized how unhealed I still was. After reading that second line of the email, I literally covered it with one hand while I forwarded to a friend to read for me. She emailed back, “Delete it! He doesn’t know you at all.” So I did. Talk about freedom.
If it is someone I know but who isn’t in my inner circle, and I hear they are talking about me or they outright say cruel things to me, yes, it’s going to sting. But again, I’ve noticed that judgment comes from far away, if you think about it. Not one of the people in my inner circle who really knows my heart and loves me has spoken cruelly to me.
Let me add to this: yes, there have been a few people who I thought were in my inner circle and had my back who were utterly mean to me over the past couple years. And you know what? They’re not in my inner circle anymore. I have enough pain to deal with; I don’t need to be wearing armor around my friends. So if you have hurt me, you are out. You’ll get my respect, but you will no longer get my heart.
And I bet I don’t even have to go on to the next level of people – your inner circle – because I bet they are not the judgy ones. It’s everybody else. However, if someone you love who does know your heart comes to you with concerns, listen. It will be difficult, but do it anyway. Because they are concerned for you. Because they love you. Because they want what’s best for you.
But everyone else, you absolutely have to just surrender their words to Jesus and do whatever it takes to keep moving along. Ask God to rebuild your reputation. And ask him to surround you with people who will love you and support you. He will.