How Do You Know When It’s Time to Leave a Toxic Environment?
How do you know when it’s time to leave a toxic place or situation? How will God let me know when it’s enough and it’s the right time to leave? When you feel maxed out it is sometimes confusing to know what the right move is.
This week’s question is one I’m sure many have also had. We live in a fallen world and experience a whole gamut of behaviors that aren’t what we would consider Christlike. Knowing this, the Bible says as much as it’s up to you live at peace with all men. Romans 12:18 (NKJV), “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” It isn’t always up to us, though. Sometimes others refuse to be peaceful, but most of the time I’ve found that an attitude adjustment on our end can have quite an impact in changing a situation. We first must ask ourselves have we been doing our part to create peace. If we’ve been acting snarky, cold, silent or angry, we may need to meditate on the great love scriptures (1 Cor. 13:4-8) because walking in love IS walking in peace. Love is patient, love is not provoked, and love thinks no evil.
If you have done all you know how to do and the environment has not changed, you may have to seek the Lord for a change in your situation, whether in your employment or a relationship or something else that may have become toxic. “Lord, what is my next step?” This is a time to ask the Lord what His will and plan for your life is. I am reminded of Jesus in the garden, Lord not my will but Yours (Luke 22:42). Jesus wasn’t excited about the situation at hand, knowing He was to be crucified, but if it was God’s plan, He was willing and obedient.
I’m also reminded of what Rev. Christopher Alam shared with us recently, that sometimes we are the ones that are going to reach our enemies for the Lord. Maybe that is why we are there in the first place. If not us, who else? With all of this however, the Lord would never keep us in an abusive situation. If the situation has become physically, emotionally, or verbally abusive it’s pretty clear it’s no longer safe.
When you feel maxed out, it’s time to practice rest. I love Jesus’s example as He slept in the boat during the storm of hurricane proportions. He didn’t fret, He didn’t try to tread water, He just knew He was going to the other side, that no matter what, God was going to take care of them and they were going to have victory. By faith and patience we obtain the promises.
God is a God of peace and He always leads by peace. If there is no peace in making a move in a situation, God‘s not calling you to make any rash decisions. Time is always on our side. The Lord is not the author of confusion, and you will know it’s time to move when there is peace in your heart to move. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” When we are confused, it’s time to rest and renew our mind by the Word of God.