March 16 2009, I posted an entry called Grit Ball and the Frying Pan: How Should Women Fight Back? As I reread the post today as I have several times since writing it, is the date on the post that sticks out at me. It was written five days after I had to come up with my own version of grit ball to get away from my ex husband who had once again decided he needed to use violence to get me to do what he wanted.
I wrote that post from the safety of a domestic violence shelter, probably still on shaky legs and relieved that I didn’t have to worry about him bothering me and my four children.
The blog entry reads like a confusing discussion of why violence is not the answer and I was purporting a spiritual response to a very physical issue. While I don’t think my article was wrong, it was naive. The truth is until I learned to fight back spiritually, mentally and physically, I was never free.
It didn’t matter that I lived under the covering of my father, or had a divorce decree and custody of the children. When life brought me face to face with him again, the first time I ran for my life leaving my children behind and the second time I had to fight and not on my knees but with my brains, my mouth and with my hands.
Yes, I knew my chances of winning a physical battle against him were slim but I knew I couldn’t take it anymore without standing up for myself. It was a replay of the previous year and many other encounters when I used to run or give in but this time I had to stand and fight. I knew that was why life had created this new opportunity…I was only going to be able to move beyond this violence in my life if I stood up for myself.
Now all these years later, I look back at the many opportunities that come my way to stand up for myself. I can see that when I don’t, history repeats itself. Its why we love to say…I bend over backwards for others but then I always end up hurt or unappreciated. In business, we think we are doing a good thing when we give away our services but then the light bill comes and they are looking for real cash. With our family, we stay silent rather than speak up about the issues that are hurting us and we play nice but end up alone and taken advantage of. We enjoy the victim role and revel in being able to say he or she did this to me. But that song can only be sung for so long before others and you recognize it for the lie it is.
There are many ways in which your version of grit ball is the only way you will be able to live free and get the success you are after. First you have to make up your mind that you and your dreams are worth fighting for and dying for. You may not be comfortable with thinking of dying to live but you must. You have to be willing to put up both a physical and mental attack that ensures you come out the winner. You have to accept that others hurting you doesn’t have to be the norm and you can have a new normal; one that you can live on your terms.
Its very easy to point a finger at an abused woman or man and suggest what they should do to get out. But most of us don’t notice when we are the ones being abused. A spouse may not be hitting us but we accept verbal abuse from a boss, emotional abuse from a parent or we abuse ourselves by making dangerous choices and not standing up for ourselves. When you are comfortable with pain, abuse, lack you often forget that it doesn’t have to be the norm.
The bible encourages us to renew our minds which will in turn transform our lives (Romans 12:2). If we don’t have a new perception of what life can be. If we don’t make that glimmer of hope in our hearts shine brighter then we are prone to stay the same and always the victim.
I am glad today that I learned to stand up for myself. However, its not a one-time lesson as I find other areas of my life where I would prefer to curl up and let someone else deal with it. But just as with domestic violence, it continues until you wake up and face it.
I trust you will have the courage to put on your pot of grits, get that skillet ready, or make a plan about how you are going to turn your situation around. God has given us an amazing gift called life and there is much for you to enjoy and do if you would only fight for the life you want.
Here’s the scene from Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion where she teaches her nieces how to play grit ball – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N_6–RgdAQ