Everyone is born with a purpose and calling unique to them. (Psalm 139:13-14, Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 19:21, Ephesians 2:10) Not everyone realizes what it is and pursues it, but we all have something buried deep within us that actually shapes and forms the core of who we are whether we realize it or not. Some choose to abandon this deeply rooted passion and pursue other things like a career that’s not inline with it. Others go way off course and pursue materialism, drugs, power and control, etc. Yet, regardless of why people don’t find their true purpose, it’s there.

One of the outcomes of emotional abuse is complete loss of self. An emotional abuser doesn’t want their victim to have any strength that may challenge their own – they feel threatened when their partner owns an identity separate from theirs. It’s one of the primary tactics and purposes for emotional abuse – to take away their victim’s individuality and purpose apart from their own personal gain.

i.e. : “Your purpose as my wife is to come alongside me and be my helpmate in whatever I’m called to do. To build me up and support me and help me in my purpose. You’re married now – this is your calling now. Eve was made from Adam FOR Adam. She toiled with him and helped him in what God had for him.”

Wait…. what?!

If this sounds like anything you’ve ever heard before, you’ve experience spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse. This is NOT what God created women for. Helpmate? Yes. Every engine has multiple parts. A machine is a collection of working parts that make a task easier. Yet this viewpoint from the abuser makes *THEM* the machine and you a part of it. They are gravely mistaken on the true purpose of a partnership and life together. Other crazy statements a victim may hear are things like “Your job is to stay home and keep the house clean, keep the kids, and feed us.” “You don’t need a job, I make plenty of money so you can stay home and keep the house.” “I need a secretary, you come do it so I don’t have to pay anybody.” “You don’t want another girl at the office with me – alone all day – tempting me – do you?” “I don’t want you working at some office with some other dude looking at you all day – I’d rather you stay home so I don’t have to worry about that. I’ll make the money.”

Does any of this sound familiar? Got any other statements that your abuser used? (Leave them in the comments)

So you can clearly see the tearing down of the victim in different ways. Her identity as an individual with a purpose of her own has been stripped. Not only that but she’s been forced to be dependent on her abuser for income. She has no rights to her own life “because she’s married now.” She completely gave her life away. I was actually told by our associate pastor’s wife that when a woman gets married she gives up her life. (?!?!)

No ma’am. God called YOU. You are specifically created for YOUR own purpose and calling that He gave you. No one else’s. Getting married does not change your purpose. It should enhance, grow, and support the purpose. Not strip you of everything that makes you you.

So.. Now that you’re out – what now? You are no longer a victim – you are a survivor! Up until now, you’ve been deprived of occupational experience. You’ve been robbed of the freedom to own your passions, love your life, accept and appreciate yourself, enjoy every breath, and love what you do. It’s time to start laying those stepping stones and figure out where your life is supposed to go. It may take you years to finally get there – but that’s not the point. Recovery from abuse means finding yourself and starting your journey. That’s what life is. It’s an amazing, fun, exciting, curious, mysterious journey. Having a direction keeps you moving forward instead of circling around back to your abuser or living in the past.

There are ways to build experience and gain traction – and if you’re pursuing your true calling, every little bit counts. Looking back will not take you forward. Are you familiar with the story of Lot and his wife? (Genesis 19:26) God commanded them to keep moving – DO NOT LOOK BACK or you’ll turn to a pillar of salt. What did the woman do? She looked back. She didn’t listen and she paid the price. Looking back, or sulking and wallowing in pity and fear will keep you where you were. During my early counsel of getting out I was told something I will never forget. “God gives you a fire in your belly to do what you have to do.” Find that fire, find that gut-strength to press forward and keep moving in the direction toward’s God’s calling for you.

The freedom there is like none you’ve ever experienced. The crazy joy of seeing your life turn into something you never thought was possible is mind-blowing. Take your life back – God gave it to you and it’s special.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

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