By Lindsey Cotton
Have you ever just looked back at a situation and thought, “Wow, I sat at the table for way too long?”
I don’t mean a literal table, figuratively speaking, I mean the table of life. The table of life can come in many forms — a relationship, or a dead-end job creating a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, or even a friendship that drains your energy.
I sat at the table of marriage for too long, 14 years and 6 months to be exact. It was far more important to save face and allow people to believe my life was something, it in fact was not. I needed people to believe I had the perfect family, doting on each other like the sun rose and set on our home before anyone else. I was hellbent on not proving the ones who said we should have never married in the first place, right. The unfortunate reality of the situation was a tangled web of uncertainty, lies, and hate.
The table stayed set with our facade we put on for the masses. Our home with the perfectly manicured yard and strategically placed flowers.The shiny new SUV I drove that we couldn't even afford. My former spouse and I — both irresistible from the outside, flawed and imperfect, fighting to maintain the image that we had it all together.
Fake friends waited like leeches for signs of discord to report to the streets. Our parents who tried to steer us into a marriage built on friendship, trust, and love yet just like anything else with a fragile foundation— the good times soon faded away.
As the dynamic of our life began to shift; sleeping apart in separate rooms was the first sign of trouble, then came text messages and discreet phone calls. New friends, all of a sudden knowing what was better for your family than you.
Our life took on a new look — new people, new emotions, and a life I no longer recognized. I sat at my table, trying to maintain a firm place trying to salvage what I needed to let go. I held on to a dream that had long left the building. I was afraid to leave and excuse myself from the table so that this chapter could close and a new one begin.
Fear, shame, and embarrassment can make you stay places you know are no good for you. They make you tolerate circumstances you have no business continuing to expose yourself to.
I sat too long at the table and by the time I realized it, I almost missed out on my new life. My new table had been set and laid out before me but I almost missed it trying to hold onto a seat that needed to be relinquished so that I could take my place at the head of my new table of life.
When alone at night, sit and ask yourself some key questions:
What am I really afraid of?
Why am I staying in this situation?
Am I setting a good example of what a strong woman is for my child?
Am I proud of the woman I am right now?
Self-analysis is needed on a regular basis in all aspects of your life. It may be difficult, but you have to ask questions, possibly difficult ones, about every part of your life and see what changes need to be made in your life.
Don’t allow yourself to overstay your welcome at any table of life. God always makes a new place setting and sometimes even a new table but it takes you to first realize that change and take your leave before you have sat too long.
Life will always be a scary undertaking but what’s even scarier is never taking that first step and staying anywhere that is no longer serving you.
BE TRUE TO YOU.