To the girl with a broken heart
Oh, sweet friend, I see you as tear-filled mascara rolls down your cheeks. You pictured your forever with him and he just told you he’s not going to be there. You feel like you have been punched in the gut, actually, a beating would feel better than the utter shattering of your heart right now.
You pretend to be strong. You tell yourself you will be fine, but you didn’t see this coming, not this time, not with this guy. It feels like a tornado is circling around your head and you’re powerless to run for cover.
I’ve had my fair share of painful breakups, and I’ve also sipped lots of coffee (and possibly some wine) with some dear friends as we hashed out every detail of their breakups. I’ve served for 15 years in college ministry so, I have lived it, and I’ve counseled at least 100 girls through it. I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve noticed breakups all have a similar pattern and best practices for wading through the painful swamp of heartbreak. Here’s my take:
A break up is a death. It’s a death of a relationship, a friendship, and a future together that will no longer be. Why do we have a memorial, burial, and a grieving process when we lose a loved one to death, yet pretend we don’t need to grieve when we lose a loved one because of a break-up? We loved them, now they are gone. We have to take time, albeit not forever, but a short season of feeling the pain of the break-up.
Some ideas on how to grieve:
- Write a letter to him on all the things you want to say, then burn it
- Punch a pillow
- Get away, somewhere, anywhere, Even if it’s just 30 min down the road. Get out of your routine and have a long talk with God.
- Ask a sweet friend to listen to you talk it out. Dump all your thoughts, feelings and pain and let her listen. Friends are amazing and the best at helping us wade through this difficult process.
“One of the best parts of being human is other humans. It’s true, because life is hard; but people get to show up for one another, as God told us to, and we remember we are loved and seen and God is here and we are not alone. We can’t deliver folks from their pits, but we can sure get in there with them until God does.” -Jen Hatmaker
I have no magic timeline for how long this process should last but If you are still grieving in 6 months, we have a problem. Give yourself permission to feel…but then it’s time to move to the next step.
Become the best version of yourself
This is the key piece of advice I wish someone would have given me after a break-up. So many people skip this step and just jump into another relationship. You have been running a race, you fell down and something is broken. Getting back up and running on the broken leg doesn’t heal it, it just injures yourself more. You need to get out of the race for a min, take a breather, and get healed.
Single time is the best time to work on you. Here are some suggestions:
- Work on getting out of debt: I highly recommend 7 baby steps to getting out of debt. You may think you will worry about that when you get married but I can promise you bringing less debt into a relationship avoids a mountain of arguments and stress.
- Talk to a counselor: Speaking of bringing less debt into a relationship, we all have baggage. Some carry more than others, but your single time is the best time to talk with someone about childhood issues, past hurts, anxiety issues, or anything you need to sort through. I’m convinced we all need a little time on a counselor’s couch, and your single time is the BEST time to do it.
- Go to the gym: You may discover a new healthy hobby, if nothing else, there are cute guys there (but don’t look…yet).
- Chase your dreams: Remember that, “I’d like to do that someday” dream? Well, today is the day girlfriend! Take that trip, sign up for those lessons, go on that hike, start that business, or simply read that book. Your time is all yours. ENJOY IT!
I know culture tells us diving back into a relationship will heal your heart but broken things don’t fix themselves. Doesn’t it make more sense to look in the mirror and take a few steps to become the best version of yourself first? Here is the kicker, wouldn’t you want your next boyfriend to do the same?
Diving into the dating pool again:
An architect draws a blueprint before he builds a structure. A business owner makes a budget for the fiscal year. Yet you dive into what could be one of the most important decisions of your life with no plan. How does this make sense? I suggest you make a plan.
- Define what’s important: What are some non-negotiable characteristics in your next beau. Does he show up for his classes? Does he have a job? Is he ambitious? Is he respectful? Does he go to church? How does he treat the women in his life?
I don’t know anyone who seeks to date a porn-addicted, disrespectful college drop out. Unfortunately, there are all too many amazing girls dating these guys.
MAKE A PLAN
- Where do you draw the line physically?: I wrote a whole post on how far is too far but for starters, establish a guardrail. If you don’t want to fall off a cliff you don’t’ dangle your toes off the edge and see how far you can lean. If sex is the line you don’t want to cross, I don’t suggest a make-out session, with missing clothing, in the dark, when he has on your favorite cologne. If you play with fire you get burned. Make some guardrails.
Protect your heart
There is emotional, spiritual, and, of course, physical intimacy. Each layer of intimacy pulls more and more on our heart. It is impossible to get to know someone without sharing intimacy in some way, Yet sexual intimacy, in particular, binds us like none other. The binding of sexual intimacy is a beautiful thing in marriage but can leave a disaster anywhere else.
When a sexual relationship is broken it is as if two bricks that are concreted together are forced to separate. It is painful, it leaves scars, and there is a mess left behind, sounds a lot like a break up am I right?
The pain from a break up is real. It is agonizing, it is a death, and it is more painful than anyone lets on. But there is a better way to date.
Your good father’s wish for you:
I remember thinking following Jesus seems like a good idea, when I’m a grandma, but for the love of being popular, I don’t want Jesus to steal any of my fun.
This is where Jesus found me and maybe you too. Doing the walk of shame in that boys T shirt. Your hair smells like beer, his t-shirt smells like old frat house furniture and you head is banging louder than last nights band party. The guy that promised forever had already made it clear he never wants to see you, or his T-shirt again. I have been there.
I imagine Jesus stops you in your tracks, hold’s you into his chest, strokes your hair and whispers, “I never wanted you to hurt like this, I want something so much better for you.”You pull away, “No, I’m having fun…this is fun…really it is!” (cue the barfing into the woods from the hangover).
Nowhere in God’s word does it say Jesus came to steal our fun and make us boring church people. NOT AT ALL. Jesus came to, BRING US LIFE TO THE FULLEST. (John 10:10) My motto is to have fun always if not always, but let’s be real, hangovers are not fun, waking up beside someone you hardly know is definitely not fun.
But living for something bigger than yourself, wild and free, seeing God change lives one miracle at a time…now that sounds fun!
With love and encouragement