Why is God Keeping Me in a Toxic Relationship?

Should I stay or should I go? That’s the question we often asked God when we find ourselves in less than healthy relationships, everything in us could be screaming get me out of here, but for some reason, God seems to be keeping you there with no way of escape. And perhaps you’re stuck, taking care of a toxic mother, who belittled you her whole life, or perhaps you are tied by covenant, with a narcissistic husband, or maybe you’ve got no other job options right now, besides that obnoxious boss, that takes advantage of you.

Being in a toxic relationship with no visibility of relief can make you feel trapped and hopeless. I know I’ve been there, years ago I found myself in a relationship with a man that I thought was a Christian, but it turns out he was a total narcissist. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now, how do I follow Biblical advice? I would have held off on marrying this man and perhaps seen the issues ahead of time, but instead, in my ignorance and arrogance, which by the way, is a really dangerous combination, I bound myself to this man in marriage and it didn’t take long before I realize that it was the biggest mistake of my life.

It was horrible, everything from the gaslighting to the constant blame-shifting. This man was married in title only. He never cared about me or my daughter and everything was all about him. I held no value other than to serve his twisted purpose. I cried out to God in utter desperation. I wanted out, but I did not want to step outside of God’s will and timing. So I stayed 9 long years. I stayed in that loveless marriage. Then one day God revealed to me what this man was really doing with his time and money and it was released. What a sad but glorious day that was. We often look forward to the glorious release, but today I want to talk to you about the gap.

The time between when you realize what you’re dealing with and the time that God actually delivers you. It is often a torturous and depressing time, but I want to bring hope to you right now and let you know that God sees you. He has not forgotten you and he will not leave you without support but much. Like the Israelites’ Journey, there is often a reason that God will leave it in a less than desirable situate situation longer than we’d like to.

Today. I want to talk to you about four reasons why God may be keeping you in that toxic relationship.

Number one is to grow and strengthen you. If I’m truly being honest, I’ve grown more in my challenges than in my blessings. I’m guessing you can say the same and it’s not that God is sadistic in growing us, but he will often use difficult situations and people to mold and shape us into the people. He created us to be Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering, produces endurance and endurance, produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

When I was stuck in that toxic marriage, I made a commitment to God, that I would allow him to change, whatever he needed to change in me to make me the woman that he purposed me to be. Look. It’s very tempting to go, “God punish this person. God, get me away from this person. God change this person.” 

But at the end of the day, sometimes it’s more about us. It’s not an easy journey, but it is well worth the pain and effort to hope that you find that encouraging.

Number two is to teach you. Let’s be honest. If God rescued you from this one, you’d likely jump right into another one just like it. I remember years ago, a friend of mine said to me and I go why doesn’t God just change all this? Why doesn’t God just change my circumstances? And I have to be honest I had to say because truthfully if you don’t change you’re going to wind up right back, in that same situation again, and that’s the truth because the lessons would not have been learned deliverance. Without discipline its a disaster. When I was in the gap, I realized that there was a lot that I had to learn. I had old toxic thinking, that wasn’t serving me. I had destroyed values that conflicted with God’s. I had desires that weren’t in line with His perfect will and I had to learn what a truly meant to speak the truth in love.

Proverbs 3:5-6 was a verse that I clung to for dear life. It says this. “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

So what is God trying to teach you? Is it to trust in him? Is he trying to teach a discipline? Is he trying to teach you a more Godly way of thinking, whatever? It is, my friend. Will you lean on Him and not your own understanding?

Number three is to be a Godly example. I confess I felt justified in being angry about the fraud that this man perpetrated against me. He flat-out lied. And I felt justified in my disgust for the lies in the deception, that he brought to this marriage. But unfortunately, that only brought shame to the name of the Lord God and justification for him to continue to see me as the problem 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” 

Despite the fact that none of my conduct made a difference for him, at least, I don’t think it did, the outcome was not my responsibility. My responsibility was obedience. God instructs us to conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the call of Christ. And that means we are not justified for equally toxic behavior. That means we are not excused for out-of-control reactions and ungodly behavior. We are responsible to be an example of his great love regardless of how it’s rejected. Jesus did it for us. So, can we now do it for others?

Number four is he’s not.  It’s actually you.  You actually see more people trapped in toxic relationships by their own doing than by God. Meaning that God has released them and they keep giving a reason to stay in it. God’s given them a way out, but they’re not taking it. They will justify it by saying things, like, oh, I think God wants me to stay here. But if they’re really, really being honest, it’s more likely, another reason.

In a counseling practice, I have found that people who struggle with codependency have trouble, letting go of toxic relationships and many have an unhealthy attachment to this person or they believe on some level that they can be the narcissist Savior. And if that’s you, I want you to check out this video on overcoming codependency biblically. God is more concerned with shaping your character and not your comfort. He is a good Father and will do anything and everything to help you live His perfect will. The question is, will you trust him? If you want to learn how to handle all types of toxic people, then grab my free Toxic People Survival Guide. And if you want the tools needed to deal with toxic people, I want to invite you to check out my online course on How to Deal with Toxic People for information on both of those resources. 

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