Have you ever felt completely and utterly debilitated? All I could do was lay down in the dirty pile of clothes on my apartment floor. I would’ve laid on the bed, but it was fully occupied with junk –fast food trash, more neglected laundry, and college homework I had no intention of completing. My hygiene and my apartment broke every rule in my own book, but I couldn’t find the strength or motivation to do anything about it.
How could I describe my mental state after breaking up with my Ex? “Pathetic” doesn’t fully capture my experience. “Depressed” works, but it falls flat. It doesn’t hint at my desperation to put an end to the misery that consumed me.
Then –out of nowhere– my heart received an unexpected visitor at its door. Armed with the biggest box of chocolate hearts and a flower bouquet, God surprised me with His love.
In the weeks that followed, healing and new strength begin to arise from unexpected places. I can’t say that I was fully over the relationship that I had devoted the past 3 years and my virginity to, but I can say that I was loved and that with time I would experience love on new terms– not debilitating ones.
Guess what! That was years ago, and the Nia I am today can confidently declare that God can take heartbreak, bitterness, and loneliness and exchange them for wholeness, joy, and sweet fellowship.
Breakups suck, but they don’t have to bring out the worst in you. Over the next 2 weeks, I want to share exactly how God helped me survive my breakup, as well as some practical breakup do’s and don’ts based on my first-hand experience.
The Better Breakup Series will help you:
- Establish a healing and transforming relationship with God.
- See your split as a vehicle for lasting, positive change in your life.
- Work through your heartache in a way that builds up your character instead of compromises your integrity.
- Learn to position yourself to be found by your future spouse.
3 Basics of Breakup Survival
Alright, It’s Over. Now What? Before we dive into the goal-setting, action-packed practical aspect of breakup survival we’ve got to cover the basics. Here are three things that’ll set you up for a better breakup.
#1 Cry About It
Listen we’ve gotta be realistic here. You’re hurting. Let me side with your mama when I say, “It’s okay to cry.” In fact those days closer to ground zero, you’re going to be hurting. A part of processing and dealing with the pain is first acknowledging that it’s there.
In the over-the-counter-medicine kind of world we live in, when we feel pain we want to find fast relief. But a broken heart takes time to mend. Allowing yourself to feel the pain is a part of the healing process. On the worst days, your emotions will tempt you to feel like everything good in the world has died. That’s why I want you to write down why this breakup is a positive change for your relationship with God and for yourself. Leave that reminder in plain sight.
Remember. There’s a time for everything –“a time to cry and a time to laugh (Ecc 3:4a, NLT)”– and when your heart is broken…I’d say that’s a pretty good time to cry. But keep in mind, you don’t get to cry about it forever, okay? ?
#2 Tell God About It
Not only do you need to cry about, you also need to talk about it. Talking about your pain helps you process your feelings, so they don’t get bottled up inside. Unchecked pain will fester into bitterness, anger, and fear that will continue to resurface as time goes on. I’ve found that trying to verbalize my thoughts and feelings helps me see understand more about why I’m hurting. After all, it’s impossible to tackle the feelings you refuse to face head on.
Jesus was a man of sorrows, a man well acquainted with pain. If you’ve made some compromises in your past relationship you may be tempted to feel like He doesn’t care about your heartbreak. That’s not true.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed (Psalm 34:18, NLT).” If breaking up with the person you love doesn’t crush your spirit, I don’t know what will. So tell God about it in prayer; He is ready and willing to listen.
If there was some sexual sin involved, start by acknowledging the elephant in the room. “The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, NLT).” Humble yourself by asking God to forgive any hard-headedness on your own behalf upfront. Coming to God and acting like you did nothing wrong when you both know you did won’t get you anywhere. If this whole “relationship with God” thing sounds new to you, read about it here.
#3 Connect with Mature Christians and Friends for Support
Without community the weeks ahead are going to be hell. Seriously. If you want to find wholeness in Christ from here on out, you’re going to be doing things differently. So you must find some mature believers and friends to link up with.
Trust me, I’ve tried to do the whole breakup survival thing on my own. I’ve followed the ridiculous advice found in Cosmo Magazine relationship columns and heeded the suggestions of well-meaning, but completely clueless friends. You know what I’m talking about, right? Suggestions like: “Sleep with another guy and you’ll feel better”; or “Go out drinking with your friends.” Listen, Sister, that baloney doesn’t work.
I’m specifically telling you to find Christian accountability and support because –though other friends may care for you– they’re not going to tell you what you need to hear: God’s word. And that’s really problematic because the world has a self-destructive way of handing heartbreak.
It’s best that you look for support from someone of the same sex. You don’t want to seek counsel from a dude and end up developing feelings for him. That would defeat the purpose. ?
You don’t have to let everybody and their mama know your problems. Try to find one to two reliable accountability partners. These need to be virtuous women that you see trying to live for God consistently. Look for trustworthy women that can be trusted with your private talks and that would actively help you when you’re struggling. Be prepared to hear the truth from your support versus exactly what you want to hear.
If you don’t have anyone that could help you out, I suggest you seek someone at your local church (or ministry on school campus if applicable). Don’t have a church? Click here to find some recommended churches near you. If you’re kind of uneasy about church or not entirely convinced you need it check out this article right here.
A Better Breakup
Hey, girl. Can I be honest with you? The quickest way to drop your breakup survival rate and turn into one of those rebound dating, crazy psycho-girlfriends is to read this and decide this isn’t for you. Yeah…it’s possible to completely ignore every letter I’ve typed out here and eventually become functionally over a past relationship. But why waste your heartbreak?
Partner with God. He will help you use this breakup as the catalyst for some powerful change in your life. But it won’t happen if you tuck your tail and run from the hard things. Are you ready for a better breakup? (Nod your head. ?) Cool! Start implementing the basics and I’ll see you on the blog next week for part 2 in our series.