Beyond the Break-Up
Talking with Eve about this post, we felt strongly that break-ups had the potential to be seen as so much more than something simply to 'survive'. Eve is writing for us today about how to approach these times with the intention of drawing closer to Jesus, learning and growing in the process. We're praying that this post would remind you that God uses even the most broken situations for His good. Even when it's tricky to see: His timing is always perfect. L x
Boy breaks up with girl, girl cries but still looks beautiful, group of stunning friends gather round, revenge is sought on evil ex-boyfriend, and Mr. Right waltzes onto the scene just before the happily ever after. That’s how the movies tell us break-ups work, right?
But in real life, they don’t quite look like that, do they?
Break-ups suck. They can often be unexpected or messy, and leave us feeling shocked, hurt, angry and upset. They’re horrible, painful and awkward and no one really has a clue how to survive them.
That said, I firmly believe they can also be tremendous times of growth. God uses our brokenness and pain for His glory, and can use these times to really draw us closer to Him. As such, I’d like to share a few thoughts and tips on how to work through a break-up situation, so that you become built up and more intimate with Christ.
1. God is in control.
‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ (Job 1:21)
We are promised by Scripture that God is in complete control, even if it doesn’t really feel like that right now. His plan includes what is happening now, but it also goes far beyond the present. His timing is perfect, and He will use this experience as something powerful that glorifies Him. He has you exactly where He knows you need to be, He is working for your good, and He is far bigger than whatever you are facing.
2. It's ok to be upset.
'Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.’ (Psalm 107:6)
This WILL hurt. Quite a lot more than failing your driving theory test, an awful lot more than finally throwing out your favourite pair of shoes that no longer have soles, and sometimes even more than losing a grandparent, if I'm brutally honest. And that’s OK. Spend quality time with God: He is big enough to help carry our burdens, and yet He is intimate enough with us that He understands our hurt and shares in our pain.
3. Try not to overthink.
'We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.' (2 Corinthians 10:5)
There's no point spending hours considering whether it was your seriously over-competitive attitude in Articulate that pushed him away, or whether if you'd looked or dressed differently he might have stayed. Sometimes you just might not get the answers or reasons you want, and you have to learn to trust that God knows all of these reasons - and it is His opinion of you and His plan for you that matters.
Focus your thoughts on who Christ is, how much you are loved by God and how incredible it is that you have a future to look forward to with Him.
4. Learn how to be dependent on God.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Don't drag the whole experience out. Aim for a clean break, and try to insist on limited or no contact for at least a couple of weeks. You need to learn to no longer be dependent on that person or seek their approval and advice, instead seeking contentment in Christ alone, and depending on Him. I'm aware that this is far easier said than done, but if you feel you really have something to say to them, talk to God about it, write it down, and see if it still needs saying in a couple of weeks.
Ask God to bring you peace and strength in resisting the temptation to continue texting and messaging unnecessarily, and perhaps get friends to hold you accountable on this.
5. Be alert.
'Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.’ (Colossians 4:2)
I think it should go without saying that God’s best for you is not to immediately rebound into the arms of another guy, but it is also important to be wary of falling into bad habits just because they make you feel a little better in the short term. Yes, ice cream is an absolute necessity right now, but be watchful that you're not developing more long-term habits of over-eating or under-eating. Break-ups can actually be a great opportunity to try and start making some healthy new habits.
Put your newly freed-up time into investing in friendships, committing to learning a new skill or joining a new club, and ask God to help you grow in a new spiritual discipline by spending more intentional time in His presence.
6. Stay sensitive, open, mouldable, hopeful and loving.
‘And I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.’ (Ezekiel 11:19)
Break-ups are, believe it or not, a tremendous way to grow and flourish. God is able to do far more than just let you 'survive' a break-up. He wants to help you thrive as a result of it, and one of the really important ways we can help Him do this is by not throwing our defenses up and becoming hard and bitter.
Try not to start believing that you are unlovable, worthless, ugly, or destined to be lonely for the rest of your life. These are lies from Satan, and go against everything God says about us in scripture. Although you have been hurt, there is still hope in the truth and the freedom of the gospel.
This season of hurt and pain will pass, by God's grace, and we need to emerge from it even more sensitive to the needs of those around us, and able to serve and love them as God intends us to.
‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.’ (1 John 4:7)
Though you will be feeling hurt, alone and confused – speaking badly and acting in spite is not the path of love that Christ demonstrates to us. Whatever may have happened, we are still commanded to love, to respect and to honour one another.
This doesn't just mean not hacking their Facebook accounts, egging their house or killing their family rabbit. It means being careful in how we talk about them with others, still being polite and respectful in any interactions we have with them, and even not tainting our happier memories of them with thoughts of 'They were lying the whole time' or 'How could they say that and not mean it?'
I’m so sorry if this is happening to you, because I know just how much you probably don’t even want to go outside right now, just in case you bump into him, or someone asks the dreaded ‘How’s *insert boy’s name*?’ But I promise that this will pass. God has brought you this far, and He has no intention of leaving you here. Ultimately, break-ups, however painful, are just another experience that God uses for you to realize his grace, goodness and glory. Fix your eyes on Him.
‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.’ (Psalm 34:18)
Hi, I'm Eve, a Durham Theology student in her second year, who dreams of travelling, making the perfect quilt, having a family, and starring on The Great British Bake-Off. More importantly though, I'm passionate about loving God above all else, getting excited to see His Kingdom come, and encouraging other girls to pursue their beautiful God-given identity in Christ.