I just got home a little bit ago. I went to work shortly after the sun came up this morning, ran all over the place helping people have communion, and then led bible study this evening until just before 9 o’clock.
I forced myself to come home because I wanted to keep working, but realized that I have limits. I was told, often without needing to be told outright, that nothing I did would ever be enough. I have been going for days, working long hours, and not taking a break. When I came home it was after realizing that if I didn’t take a break I probably would be working in my office until around 11 o’clock tonight.
There is so much in my life that doesn’t look like the result of domestic violence, but if I stop working I hear that voice speaking in my ears. I don’t make overtime. I get nothing out of working myself into an early grave. In truth, working too hard will probably lead to me having less of what I want, which is more time with my kids. No matter how hard I work, I will never win the approval of that voice that tore me down for years.
For me, an ongoing part of my recovery from domestic violence is to learn to trust my own best judgment when I realize that I cannot do everything alone, cannot keep going constantly without a break, and cannot earn back the affection of someone who did not care for my well-being, especially if I try to earn that approval by burning whatever well-being is left into ashes.
Friends, if you have experienced domestic violence, I invite you to have some grace with yourself. Give yourself moments of kindness, moments of love, and places where you feel okay taking care of yourself. It is okay to admit that you have needs and it is okay to take care of them.
October has been Domestic Violence Awareness month since it was first introduced by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981. Regardless of the month, domestic violence is never okay, no matter the circumstances. If you or someone you know is in desperate need of help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.