by Kim Johnson
Moving on after a divorce can be difficult at best. Life as you knew it when you were married is now going to be very different. You had some security, you had a routine, and there was a normalcy that was comfortable. Now you are experiencing a “new normal.” Learning to deal with this won’t be easy, but it is totally doable. It all depends upon how you accept this change in your life.
Acceptance is defined as:
“The act of accepting or receiving what is offered, with approbation, satisfaction, or acquiescence; esp., favorable reception; approval; as, the acceptance of a gift, office, doctrine, etc.”
This sounds very formal and doesn’t mean giving up or giving in. Rather, it means that you recognize the reality of a situation and you consent to it. For instance, when you don’t accept something you reject it and say “I don’t want that,” or “I don’t like it.” That is a very normal reaction and we have the right to say or do that. However, in the situation of a divorce, no matter how much you might dislike and not want it, there is not much control over it happening. Your spouse can decide they want the divorce and you cannot control their decision.
Struggling with and refusing to accept your new life can be exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to remain angry and frustrated, and it keeps you focused on something you cannot change. Even though you have no power over your spouse’s choices, you do have power over yourself. Instead of saying, “I can’t take this,” try saying, “What can I do to make this better?” It is all in how you look at it. Attitude makes a huge difference in how you will heal from your divorce. Once you make a change in your reaction to this situation, you can change how it is affecting you.
Romans 8:28 can be a good Scripture reference in learning to accept your new normal. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Take a moment to think how you can apply this to your new normal. Even though divorce was most likely something you didn’t plan for your life, God will work it out for your good in the end. This means that if we let go of what may never be, we can be open to His will, allowing Him to shape things in a new way.
It is important to note here that acceptance does not mean tolerating something that is wrong or even doing nothing. It does mean taking responsibility for the things you can change and then making those changes. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggled intensely with relinquishing His will to the Father, knowing that His crucifixion wasn’t going to be easy (Matthew 26:36-42). He was honest with God about His inner conflict, as we too should be.
The Apostle Paul also had to learn to be content. (Philippians 4:11-13) “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Learning to be content is a process and seeking God’s strength to face this new season of your life is something that will help you cope. Acceptance will move you from the grief, anger or frustration to seeing this new normal with a fresh perspective. It can make a huge difference as you heal and move on.
“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation.
Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.”
Kathleen Casey Theisen